Newly restored clock chimes in at Dun

Sign of the times: John McKenna, House of Dun property manager, with the estate's recently restored clock.'Staff photograph

Sign of the times: John McKenna, House of Dun property manager, with the estate's recently restored clock.'Staff photograph

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CHIMES are ringing out over the gardens of the House of Dun for the first time in around a century after a recent £5,000 restoration project.

The house’s clock, above the entrance to the courtyard, is running again after decades of silence due to a worn mechanism. Although the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) attempted to keep it ticking over with an electric system, it stubbornly defied all efforts to encourage it to work.

Two years ago the NTS received a donation that enabled the Victorian mechanism’s replacement and finally fulfilled a personal ambition of property manager John McKenna. The clock, which is an original feature of the Georgian house, at one time regulated the running of the entire estate and, given its importance to the property’s story, John was determined to see it restored to full working order.

He said: “When the house was built in 1730, and later, virtually no-one had their own timepieces and the whole estate ran, slept and breathed by that one timepiece. In years gone by it would have summoned the servants to work and set the stage for events throughout the day. “

While the internal workings have been replaced, as they had been already in the 19th century, the original clockface, hands and chimes have remained untouched and despite the modern addition, the clock looks and sounds exactly as it did when it first sounded the hours in the 1700s. The removed mechanism has been cleaned up and will be put on display inside the house.