Silence in Bronte village and health as safety rules prevent clock being wound up


Silence in Bronte village and health and safety rules prevent clock being wound up

The iconic Victorian clock at St Michael and All Angels Church in the Bronte village of Haworth, West Yorkshire has stopped ticking for the first time since 1871 due to a new health and safety ban.

The Daily Mail reports that a recent insurance inspection ruled that it's no longer safe for volunteers, including retired policeman, Jens Hislop, to climb the stepladder to the winding platform - as he has done several times a week for the last 23 years.

He is not allowed to wind the clock until £1,000 of safety work has been completed, so the clock has been stuck at 5:20 since February.

The Bradford Telegraph and Argus reports that the Haworth vicar, the Reverend Peter Mayo-Smith, explained that volunteer clock winders had to climb a step ladder to reach a narrow landing to wind the clock.

John Huxley, of the parochial church council, said that the church was considering installing an automatic system, but this could cost £6,000.

Mr Hislop told the Daily Mail: "I have been looking after the clock for 23 years and it has gone like clockwork. Then we had an insurance assessment and now health and safety has kicked in.

"They say the platform, which has been there for decades, and the ladder, which was there when I started 23 years ago and was there before, are unsafe."

He added: "I personally don't think it's unsafe... The platform is only 10ft off the floor."

Following the insurance assessment, the ladder needs to be replaced, bannisters need to be replaced and built up to the right height and a new rail needs to be installed.

The Reverent Peter Mayo-Smith says: "The quicker we can get it running, the happier I will be. It has just taken a lot longer than we thought."

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