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Floral clock’s history in the spotlight at exhibition

James Fairbairn Smith, left, and Alderman Bertram Jobson at the 1972 floral clock unveiling. Picture courtesy of Helen Tait.
James Fairbairn Smith, left, and Alderman Bertram Jobson at the 1972 floral clock unveiling. Picture courtesy of Helen Tait.

Town residents took the opportunity to find out more about the history of Morpeth’s floral clock and the campaign that resulted in its reinstatement.

And the committee was able to remind people that funds will still need to be raised each year for on-going maintenance.

The replanted floral clock today. Picture by Jane Coltman.

The replanted floral clock today. Picture by Jane Coltman.

A celebration event for invited guests took place in Morpeth Town Hall following the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the feature in Carlisle Park a week last Wednesday morning.

Later in the afternoon, there was a free public exhibition at the same venue.

The floral clock was presented to the Borough of Morpeth in 1972 by James Fairbairn Smith, then of Detroit, USA, to commemorate Alderman Bertram Jobson’s four years of office as Mayor of the borough.

Although it is one of only four such features remaining in England, it was under threat before it was repaired by Smith of Derby as its hands had not turned for eight years and the box hedge numerals had blight.

Mark Ramsay working on the clock.

Mark Ramsay working on the clock.

When Barbara Ross started the campaign to raise £10,000 to save it last September, it was quickly apparent that there was great public support and interest in the clock.

There were donations from hundreds of people and grants from the William Leech Foundation, previous Mayor of Morpeth Coun Nic Best and local county councillors, among others.

It was replanted by a Northumberland County Council team that included parks gardener Mark Ramsay.

The plants immediately surrounding the clock came to Morpeth from a specialist grower in Cornwall.

Barbara said: “The celebration event at Morpeth Town Hall gave many of the people and organisations who had supported the Friends of Morpeth’s Floral Clock to join together in reviewing the fantastic progress made since only January this year.

“The public event that occurred later was our opportunity to acknowledge the generosity of the people of Morpeth for their help in bringing about what really must be considered to be ‘The People’s Clock’ because of the wonderful donations we have received.

“We were delighted to welcome so many people who wanted to see the photographic exhibition about our journey. Many people also attended to view old and rare photographs of Morpeth from the Jobson family archives, recognising the civic work of Alderman Bertram Jobson.

“This dedicated Morpethian was four times Mayor of Morpeth and left a wonderful legacy, which is recognised by the floral clock.”

More than £500 was raised in the raffle, sale of mugs and donations at the floral clock event and exhibition.

People can still donate at TSB Bank in Newgate Street, by cheque payable to The Friends of Morpeth Floral Clock, send it to 13 Pottery Bank Court, Morpeth, NE61 1DS, or online at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/morpethfloralclock