Below is the story of a certain clock finding its way back to 78 Derngate, its original home. The clock was of German manufacture (Lorenz Furtwangler & Sohne) from the early 20th century and was bought by the Bassett-Lowkes, it is thought, during the early years of their marriage during their travels on the continent.
A few thoughts on how I obtained the brass faced clock by Susan Kluger, great niece of Florence Jane Bassett-Lowke.
When I was a child I stayed with my mother at New Ways a number of times while my sister Jane stayed at her sister Dorothy Allinson’s house. As I was the younger one and I needed more watching!!
Florence Jane Bassett-Lowke (Aunt Jane) became a special person in my life while growing up. I even have a couple of photos taken by Uncle Whynne (BL) to prove I was there! He would take me out into the garden so I could count his many gnomes scattered around the edge of the lawn amongst the flower beds. Made of pottery they were large and small, the painted ones had definitely seen better days but I just loved this game. I got to know the route so well but pretended to still have a hard time finding them just to play the game with him.
We got to know each other quite well over the years and I always loved visiting New Ways. Upon arrival I would press the tail of the tortoise on the hallway shelves and make a lot of noise to let them know I had arrived!
Besides our near daily trips into the town, we did puzzles together on dull days or made pictures out of Aunt Jane’s set of wooden tiles. Tea time was always a special time there to me. Afterwards she would often work on her Daily Telegraph crossword puzzle; she was a champion at them. Aunt Jane remained a special person in my life.
It was possibly 1964 as we (my husband Arthur and I) made a trip to England from our New York home and spent a day in Northampton visiting Aunt Jane. I know it was summer and a lovely day as we had our tea on the veranda overlooking that beautiful garden at New Ways.
She was getting ready to sell the house and asked us if I would like something to take back to the US. She suggested the clock which was sitting on the side board in the dining room. We had just started collecting clocks from the Connecticut area and were fascinated by other time pieces too. The brass faced clock certainly had an unusual look to it and it appealed right away. We just wrapped it well and took it as hand luggage on our journey home.
After all these years I finally felt that if Aunt Jane was alive now she would probably have wanted the clock to be part of the museum. Although it’s sad to part with it I felt it was right. As you know, it sat on the front room mantel at 78 Derngate; possibly when the room was redecorated with the grey walls and stencilling. (The photograph shows the hall-lounge before the art-deco stencil was in place and BL thought of moving).
We gave a lot of thought to the costly transportation of this clock but decided to risk it and travel back to the UK with “clock” nicely wrapped up in a bag and treated as hand luggage.
Someday I hope the clock will be looked at and parts tightened and mended so that it will work again. I’m pretty certain it is an 8 day clock.
First published in December 2011 In The Friends of 78 Derngate Newsletter Issue 71.
Author: Susan Kluger
Transcribed 2019: Barbara Floyer
Addendum [ 2019 ]
For the purposes of clarity readers may wish to be aware that the content author of this article is the sister of Jane Preston.