New home for Barnoldswick's Bancroft Mill Engine Museum Pickles Clock
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The Pickles Clock, dating back 90 years, was a bespoke creation of engine millwright Johnny Pickles. It spent many years in the familiar clock tower at the Gissing and Lonsdale factory in the town’s Wellhouse Road until the company was sold recently and a new home had to be found.
Its owners, Terry Gissing and sister Jean, now Haythornthwaite, generously donated the clock, and Barnoldswick Town Council gave a grant to enable it to be dismantled, moved and rehoused at the museum.
Terry, Jean, her daughter Sylvia Wilkinson and Terry’s daughter Jacqueline Collins joined descendants of Johnny Pickles to officially unveil the clock in its new home.
Jean said after the unveiling: “The first thing the family agreed when we left the building was that the clock was not going to be put up for sale. It had been a landmark in the town for so long and we wanted it to stay here where it belongs.
“Bancroft Mill was the first place we thought of and now it’s here for future generations to enjoy.”
The clock now sits among the museum’s other examples of the town’s industrial history, including the steam engine that once powered over 1,000 looms at the mill.
Johnny Pickles and business partner Henry Brown had worked with most of Pendle’s many cotton mills as a millwright, and had significant connections with Ouzledale Foundry in the town. In his spare time, he built many fine precision pieces including the clock that now bears his name.
It was originally placed in Riley Street Methodist Chapel in Earby but later moved to the tower at Gissing and Lonsdale where it was a familiar sight above the Wellhouse Road factory. It remained there until recently when G&L became part of Harrison’s of Clitheroe.
Bancroft Mill Engine Museum is now maintained entirely by volunteers. Apart from some grant aid from various bodies, it is largely funded by public Steaming Days when visitors can see the enormous engine working under full power along with many other working exhibits.