Tick tock, the Clock House

Have you noticed the clock on the house by the entrance of Trinity Close? If you’ve wondered why it’s there, then wonder no more! Jan Ellam explains more about this fascinating house.

“The Kelly’s Directory dated 1879 – 1922 lists the occupant as Henry Medcalf, Watch Mender and Furniture dealer. He made the Balsham Clock on the side of the house, and there is one other remaining which is in a museum in Litcham, Norfolk . Some old workings of an eight day clock can be seen embedded in the apex of the stable block at Dotterel Farm.

Next it became a drapers shop as referred to in Elsie Plumb’s poem called ’ Balsham 1931’. It’s an account of what she can see as she walks about the village.

Then is Mrs Evan’s shop
She herself does dress-making
And inside you’ll buy some stockings
After a peep in the window taking.
— Elsie Plumb
Mr and Mrs Chaplin

Mr and Mrs Chaplin

The 1939 War Census records it as a Grocer’s Shop, occupied by Mr and Mrs Chaplin and their son Kenneth.

Hubert Wilsher and his wife Kathleen lived in the house after the Chaplins. They were recorded in the Civilian Residence Register of 1947 as living at the Clock House and later moved to Coldham House in the High Street. They ran a very successful shop and delivery service with Grocers Assistant Cyril Smith cycling throughout the village on his trade bike.

Mr and Mrs Marks and their two sons Anthony and Jeffrey were trading from the Clock Shop during the 1960’s followed by Mr and Mrs A Forster-Cooper in the 1970’s, although by now deliveries were being made by car. Their advertising motto was ‘if we can find it, we’ve got it’ which was generally true.

The shop finally ceased to trade in the late 1970’s and has now been converted to a fine home.

The Clock Shop is the last in the row of the house on this photo (see arrow). This photo was taken in 1931.

The Clock Shop is the last in the row of the house on this photo (see arrow). This photo was taken in 1931.

Do you have any stories about the history of Balsham? We’d love to hear from you and we’re delighted to publish them on this site to keep a record of the village for all to read. Click here to get in touch with us.