The mayor of Hastings has accepted an historic clock on behalf of the town from Fr John Eldridge, of St Barnabas’ church Hove.
Fr John explained: “ I’m from Hastings, and my grandmother was Alderman Went Tree’s maid. Ben Went Tree was mayor of Hastings 1891-1892, 1893-1894, and 1902-1904. He was a great benefactor to the town, and Hastings Museum benefited from the trust he set up. I was in fact responsible for administering the Went Tree Trust for about 14 years when I worked at a local solicitor’s.
“The clock is an amazing piece with such a quiet chime. It is solid black marble, Napoleon style and I understand sat on Alderman Went Tree’s mantelpiece in the study in his St Margaret’s Road home for many years.
“I promised the then Went Tree Trust trustees many years ago that I would make sure it stayed in Hastings after my family had no use for it; it passed to my grandmother and then my father, but he recently died too. So having it back in the mayor’s parlour in the same town hall that Alderman Went Tree was mayor over 120 years ago really does seem appropriate.
“I made contact with the mayor through Godfrey Daniel, another former mayor of Hastings, and I am grateful that through him this clock has ‘come home’.”
Councillor James Bacon, current mayor of Hastings said: “This is an extremely generous donation by Fr John, and I am very grateful to him for thinking of us. The clock now has pride of place on the mantlepiece in the mayor’s parlour here in the town hall.”