In our latest “People of Parham” feature we speak to Parham’s wonderful Warden and Keeper of Clocks, Valerie Myers. Valerie has a particularly special relationship with Parham, having been born and raised here on the Estate. She plays an important part in preserving its spirit; there is little Valerie doesn’t know about Parham!
“Having studied horticulture at Brinsbury, I’m a Gardener by profession so this is a large part of my role, but I also care for a number of other areas around Parham. From repairing curtain cords to changing light bulbs, I undertake a lot of the minor maintenance work around the House as well as the security, which I started in 2000.
This is also when I started winding Parham’s collection of clocks. Parham has two clocks that need to be wound every day, while the rest are wound once a week, apart from the turret clock in the courtyard which is wound twice a week.
Clocks like care and attention, and they have to be in the right position. If they are out of balance, then they won’t work. Clocks are also sensitive to temperature – particularly the cold – so it’s important to keep their conditions just right to keep them ticking along.
“Daylight Savings” is a tricky business when caring for precious timepieces. While Spring is fairly straightforward, as you can just advance them an hour, in the Autumn I stop some and leave them for an hour, then restart them at the right time. On others I have to wind the hands all the way round, letting each chime ring out before stopping at the right place.
I have been at Parham since I was born and know nothing else. It’s home and I take great pride in caring for it. I love the clocks; they all have their own character and foibles.”
Valerie appreciates all the clocks in her care, but her favourite timepiece at Parham is the remarkable longcase clock signed “Esaye Fleureau London” on the first floor landing. Decorated with delicate English seaweed marquetry, Valerie loves the sense of character evoked from each and every chime.
Find out more about the Collection here.