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  • Day56

    Clapham’s National Clock Museum

    February 4, 2020 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    The clock museum in Whangarei is home to over 1800 clocks and timepieces, which makes it one of the largest collections of clocks in the Southern Hemisphere. It sounded interested so we paid a $7 entrance fee to visit this unique display.

    This unusual museum owes itself to a man from Yorkshire called Archie Clapham. He emigrated to Wellington, New Zealand in 1903. Trained as an engineer, he oversaw the power plant that kept the Wellington tram system going. But outside of work, he had another passion – clocks. He was an avid collector of timepieces of all shapes and sizes and by the time he left Wellington for Whangarei, he had amassed around four hundred of them.

    Archie had come into an inheritance, so he bought a farmhouse and some land and then spent his money and time indulging in his passion. He travelled the country to visit auction houses in search of new timepieces. Archie was a born entertainer and loved to have fun. Many of his favourite pieces reflected that sense of fun in their quirky appearance or by doing something unexpected. There were dancing dolls, barking dogs and Highlanders in kilts.

    Archie left the collection to the local council, selling it to them in 1961 for a small sum. As the years went on, people donated more clocks to the collection and a museum was built to house all of the pieces.

    When we walked in, we had a lot of fun looking at all of the displays which filled every inch of the walls and shelves. There are clocks and timepieces of every imaginable shape and size, and age. It made us remember the clocks that our families had when we were younger - pocket watches, a cat with moving eyes and tail, a grandfather clock, a mantle clock, Mickey Mouse watch and more.

    By the way, none of the clocks in the museum are set to the same time, so we heard chimes, music and bird calls throughout our whole visit.

    Boring this is not.
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