IN response to recent Memories about locally-made clocks and watches, Carol Degnan has sent us a picture of a grandfather clock made in the middle of the 19th Century by Henry Webster, who paints on the dial that he is of “Bedale and Leyburn”.

The clock is in Bedale museum, and is one of four by Henry that is known to exist in the Bedale neighbourhood.

He was born in 1818 near Malton, in North Yorkshire, into a farming family, but by the time of the 1841 census, when he was 23, he had established himself in a yard in Bedale. In those days, most towns had their own resident horologist, and by 1846, Henry was probably Bedale’s top clockman as the churchwardens began paying him to maintain the St Gregory’s Church clock, the most important timepiece in the town.

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How much of the clock in the museum Henry made himself is debatable, as clockmakers probably bought in the mechanisms and cases from different suppliers and assembled them in their workshops.

Bedale museum is a curio-filled room in Bedale Hall, a 17th Century manor house which has a stunning 18th Century ballroom as its centrepiece. The ballroom ceiling is artfully covered in plasterwork, with cherubs tumbling dramatically from the eaves after their recent restoration. It is believed to be the work of Giuseppe Cortese – or Joseph, as he was known in Yorkshire, where he was based.

The Northern Echo:

WELL PLASTERED: Bedale Hall manager, Sally Williams, and Cortese's rococo stucco ceiling. Picture: Richard Doughty Photography

Just as only Italians could make ice creams properly, so only Italians could put up the extremely fashionable rococo stucco plaster of the early 18th Century. We met the boy Joseph in early 2015, because he had a 40-year career getting well plastered in our area. He did rooms at Hardwick Hall, near Sedgefield, plus Elemore Hall, Croxdale Hall, Aykley Heads House and Coxhoe Hall which are all around Durham City. He also did the King Charles Room in Auckland Castle, plus the amazing work we featured in Memories 214 at St Anne’s Court in Durham City.

The museum at Bedale Hall adjoins the ballroom. Admission is free, it is well worth a look in, and on September 30, from 10am to 1pm, there is a special coffee, cake and look behind the scenes at the museum in the hope of recruiting more volunteers to help run it.

If you have a local clock or watch, please let us know.