Long-lost historic clock returned to Bury St Edmunds museum

Joanna Rayner with the historic Drum Clock made in Prague in 1540 and stolen 55 years ago which has

Joanna Rayner with the historic Drum Clock made in Prague in 1540 and stolen 55 years ago which has now been recovered and is on display at Moyse's Hall Museum in Bury St Edmunds Picture: WEST SUFFOLK COUNCIL - Credit: WEST SUFFOLK COUNCIL

A historic time piece nearly 500 years old and stolen from a Suffolk museum more than half a century ago is back on display.

The Drum Clock, made in Prague in 1540 and which was part of the Gershom Parkington collection, was stolen during a break in at the former Clock Museum in Bury St Edmunds in 1964.

The time piece was thought lost forever - until earlier this year when a London auction house contacted West Suffolk Council to say they had been offered the clock to sell.

The council was able to claim it back after negotiating a settlement fee of £4,000 from the Gershom Parkington bequest with the current owner.

The authority is a trustee of the collection, valued in the millions, which was bequeathed to the borough by Frederick Gershom Parkington in 1953 in memory of his son John, who was killed in the desert campaigns of World War Two.

Now, the Drum Clock is back on display at Moyse's Hall Museum in Bury St Edmunds where all but two of the 162 Gershom Parkington collection of clocks can be seen alongside other local historical items.


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Joanna Rayner, cabinet member for leisure and culture at West Suffolk Council which owns and manages the museum, said: "At 479-years-old, this is the earliest clock in our collection.

"It has had a remarkable journey during its time and having been stolen 55-years-ago I think it's fair to say all hope was lost in ever getting it back.

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"We are extremely grateful to the auctioneers for spotting this as our stolen clock and contacting us so that we could arrange to get it back and put it back on display alongside other fascinating time pieces from the Gershom Parkington collection."

All but two of the collection are on display at the museum.

Of the remaining, one is the Long Case Clock which would require the Museum to reinforce its floors.

The other is a William Clement clock which does not work.

Both are available for loan and the council continues to look for ways to put them on public view.

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