Time’s up for Wisbech’s historic clock as it vanishes from wall

AN HISTORIC clock at the centre of Wisbech for 150 years has disappeared, believed to be on its way to auction.

The clock on the front of 11 Bridge Street was made by Fenland watchmaker James Dann and has been on the wall since 1864.

But last week the timepiece - known as the illuminated clock, Dann’s Clock or the Town Clock - was taken down as the building was sold to estate agency William H Brown.

The previous owner of the building, Diana Beck, of London, is understood to be selling the clock at auction.

However, David Staveley, branch partner at the estate agents, said the company is considering a way to replace it.

“I was hoping we might be able to purchase the clock as well but the owner was adamant she wanted to keep it,” he said.

“I am from Wisbech and that clock’s been there for years. It’s certainly disappointing for the town the clock’s gone.”

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Erbie Murat, the town clerk at Wisbech Town Council, said the watchmaker James Dann had received a salary from the council at one point and suggested the clock could belong to the town.

He also said the removal of such an historic clock ought to require planning permission as it is in a conservation area.

“Fenland District Council, we believe, should have the power to put it back,” he said.

But a spokesman for Fenland District Council said it is not a listed building so has no legal protection.

“The clock is obviously a very attractive feature that we’d like to see maintained,” the spokesman said.

“However, it belongs to the owner and we have no powers to intervene.”

Assistant curator of Wisbech and Fenland Museum Robert Bell said it would be a shame if the clock were lost to the town.

“It’s disappointing it’s been removed. We have a painting done by Guy Pearson from the 1900s in the museum which shows the clock and it’s certainly something the older people of the town will miss,” he added.

Wisbech resident Tom Read said: “I am horrified that the clock has disappeared. If this is progress then think our town is losing its character.

“If anything can be done to bring that clock back then we should encourage that with all our might.”

Ms Beck could not be contacted for comment.

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