The Hylands stable block was built around 1825 while under the ownership of Pierre Labouchere (1814-1839) a Dutch born merchant banker.

The Turret Clock was made by the local clockmaker, John Richmond of Chelmsford as seen on the clock’s mechanism face dial. Richmond was recorded as working in
Springfield from 1800 to 1824. No other turret clocks signed by Richmond are known to exist however the turret clock at Ingatestone Hall is of a very similar construction and its highly probable that it was made by Richmond. 

During the 60s after Chelmsford Borough Council took possession of Hylands, the House remained empty for several years and suffered badly from vandalism and theft of many architectural items, even the House weathervane didn’t escape during its roof being stripped of valuable lead. Sadly, the same fate awaited the turret clocks weathervane. Thankfully the clocks mechanism was not vandalised and by some miracle the clocks large bronze bell escaped the thief’s attention possibly due to the restricted access into the bell tower. In the 70s with consent from the Council, the Chelmsford Engineering Society attempted to restore the workings of the historical clock but unfortunately, they were not very successful. Amusingly they produced a replacement weathervane made partly of a toilet copper ball float. 

In 2006 the Friends undertook their very first large projects outside of the House —the restoration of the stable’s Georgian turret clock. The Friends approached Chris Papworth MBHI of Kelvedon Clocks to carry out the restoration, this included installing automatic winding which dispensed with the chore of manual winding. The clocks mechanism set within a cast iron frame had to be dismantled bit by bit to be taken away to Kelvedon Clocks workshop. The full restoration of the turret clock was completed in March 2007 just in time for the Stables Grand Easter opening on the 8th of April which was a highly publicised event and included a host of free activities together with free transport from Chelmsford town centre. Two other items that required restoration were the clocks faces and hands, the other being the replacement of a poorly made weathervane.  Interestingly when the clock faces were removed, written in chalk on the reverse were the words “Mr Orams of Chelmsford”. Jeremiah Orams was a watchmaker trading at 60 High Street from 1878 to 1902 and it’s believed that he was responsible for repainting the clock faces in more fashionable modern colours of the time black and white. During restoration the original Georgian period colours were exposed, these original colours have now been recreated. A new replacement weathervane was made by specialist blacksmith Steve Miller of Hatfield Peverel who modelled it based on related local weathervanes of the Georgian era. While working in in the bell tower a second world war air-raid siren was discovered. It was tested and remains in working order, possibly it now being the only surviving siren in the Chelmsford area.

Friends of Hylands House is a registered Charity in England and Wales under number 1059969
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