22 January 2019
Update 27 November: We are closed from 27 November to 02 December inclusive. The gardens will now reopen on Thursday 03 December in line with updated guidance from the Northern Ireland Executive.
The sound of celebration can be heard far and wide as the clock tower in the Courthouse turret at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens rings for the first time in over 30 years.
The conservation of the Courthouse clock is the latest development as part of the major project by independent charity Historic Royal Palaces to transform the estate into a major visitor destination.
With Hillsborough Castle and Gardens officially opening its doors in April 2019, the clock chimes signify the countdown to a new momentous chapter in this elegant Georgian house’s history. Along with the re-presentation of the Castle’s exquisite State Rooms, set within 100 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds, Historic Royal Palaces’ Conservation and Collections Care team have spent months restoring this cherished timepiece.
The clock is a renowned landmark in the Hillsborough skyline and forms part of the Courthouse, a Georgian building built in the late 1700s, which sits in harmony with Hillsborough Castle’s prominent façade.
The clock and bell were made in 1810 by John Moxon and is now deemed an extremely rare and important example of turret clock horology. With many parts of the original mechanism being replaced and improved over time, the bell is now the earliest surviving piece.
David Orr, Conservator at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, said: “The Courthouse clock is intrinsically linked to the history of Hillsborough Castle and Gardens. We have worked with a dedicated team of experts across Northern Ireland and England for the last four months to restore this beautiful and rare timepiece; from clock conservationists, to gilding experts who added the delicate touches to the clock face.
“It is fantastic to hear the clock chiming across Hillsborough after so many years. This marks the dawn of a new chapter, as Hillsborough Castle prepares to welcome the public through its doors in April.”
Historic Royal Palaces took over the management of Hillsborough Courthouse, from the NIEA, along with the Fort, in the summer of 2018.
Hillsborough Castle is opening daily to the public for the first time in April 2019. After five years, and a £20 million investment, Historic Royal Palaces has transformed this elegant Georgian house, for all to explore and enjoy.
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Historic Royal Palaces is the independent charity that looks after the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, the Banqueting House, Kensington Palace, Kew Palace and Hillsborough Castle. We help everyone explore the story of how monarchs and people have shaped society, in some of the greatest palaces ever built. We raise all our own funds and depend on the support of our visitors, members, donors, sponsors and volunteers. With the exception of Hillsborough Castle, these palaces are owned by The Queen on behalf of the nation, and we manage them for the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Historic Royal Palaces cares for Hillsborough Castle under a separate contract with the Northern Ireland Office. Registered charity number 1068852. For more information visit www.hrp.org.uk