Crowds gathered in Weymouth to watch history being made as a historic clock cuckooed for the first time in more than thirty years.

A grand opening ceremony was held on Saturday, June 29 for the new clock house and refurbished cuckoo clockworks of the floral clock at Greenhill Gardens in Weymouth.

The ceremony welcomed a number of guests including Angus Campbell CVO- His Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Dorset, Mayor of Weymouth Cllr Jon Orrell, antiques expert Paul Atterbury, resident and benefactor Dereck Luckhurst, clock repairer Leon Harvey, pianist Tamara Konstantin, and trustees of the Friends of Greenhill Gardens (FOGG).

From left: Derek Luckhurst, Tamara Konstantin, Paul Atterbury, Angus Campbell CVO, Leon Harvey, with Tim Spooner at the backFrom left: Derek Luckhurst, Tamara Konstantin, Paul Atterbury, Angus Campbell CVO, Leon Harvey, with Tim Spooner at the back (Image: Alfie Lumb) In 2019, the Friends of Greenhill Gardens took on the project of designing a new clock house, after finding that the previous one built in the 1980s was rotting.

Instead of the previous design, the new hut allows the public to view the clock mechanism, as well as the unique cuckoo sound every 15 minutes. The new hut was built by JAIC of Portland.

The floral clock at Greenhill GardensThe floral clock at Greenhill Gardens (Image: Alfie Lumb) For more than 30 years, the cuckoo sound that was due to play on the hour and every quarter by organ pipes, had not sounded. The bellows and squashed pipes have been recovered and restored. It is believed to be the only floral clock in the country that plays a cuckoo sound.

Jane Chandler, chair of events at FOGG, said: “We’re here to open the wonderful clock house kindly donated by Mr Lockhurst. It’s a beautiful day and lots have turned out. A huge thanks to everyone that has been passionate about the project over the past few years.”

Speaking at the ceremony, Mr Campbell CVO, said: “It’s a great honour to be here- my grandparents retired to Weymouth in the 1950s and I have very happy memories of this area. It really is the best of British seeing it back in working order.”

Cllr Orrell, said: “I’m very pleased to see Weymouth at its best on such a sunny festive day with this clock restored to its glory thanks to the hardworking people that have made it happen.”

The FOGG say that only eight floral clocks of 38 in the country currently work, with Weymouth the only one that retains its original clockworks.

Chair of trustees, Tim Spooner, said: “We started the project a long time ago and thought- it’s a nice hut, why hide it.

“Our mission has been to resist the efforts for the council to sell the gardens, and for a long time we have been trying to raise the civic pride and public regard of the spot to make it safer, and we hope this project has helped raise the gardens profile.”

The floral clock was installed at Greenhill Gardens in 1936, and cost around £200 to make. To create the impression of the hands turning by themselves, the mechanism for the clock was located 20 feet away, linked by a road buried two-foot underground.

Inside the clock houseInside the clock house (Image: Alfie Lumb) A six feet deep pit was made under the hut to accommodate for a space long enough for the pendulum.

According to FOGG, the mechanisms in the clock had received an annual oiling, but an overhaul was never carried out, despite it ticking around half a million times since 1936.

Each part of the clockworks has been cleaned, repainted and polished before the opening.