Framlingham: Appeal to help restore historic clock donated by Sir Henry Thompson

AN appeal has been launched to help raise money for the restoration of a historic timepiece.

The clock on the tower of St Michael’s Church in Framlingham was presented to the town in 1872 by Sir Henry Thompson - a former surgeon to Queen Victoria and Napoleon III.

In the past it has been in the care of the district council but is now the responsibility of the town council.

Although its workings have been maintained civic bosses feel it needs a complete overhaul to bring it back to its former glory. Once this has been done a maintenance plan will be put in place to ensure it is kept in good condition in the future.

The town council, which has set some money aside in its 2012/13 budget for the project, has received an estimate of �2,876 to repair the clock. Despite generous donations - including �500 from The Mills Charity, �250 from The Framlingham History and Preservation Society and �250 from a private donor - there is still a shortfall of �1,500.

Elieen Coe, clerk to the town council, said: “Although the clock is on the church tower it has never in any sense been a ‘church clock’ - it was given to the town and is our responsibility.

“It’s an important part of Framlingham’s history and we’ve been trying hard to secure grants from other sources, but haven’t had much success.

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“There is still a significant shortfall so if there are any private donors or companies that would like to contribute towards this important project, the town council would be very pleased to hear from them.”

Sir Henry - one of Framlingham’s most famous sons - presented the clock to the town in memory of his father.

After medical training he set up a practice in Wimpole Street and enjoyed a meteoric rise as a surgeon.

He operated successfully on King Leopold of Belgium and was knighted for this by Queen Victoria and appointed surgeon to The Queen. He also operated on Emperor Napoleon III.

He commissioned the town clock from Benson’s, one of the leading English turret clock makers of the 19th Century.

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