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Divine Intervention?

Updated: Mar 14, 2022

Miracle as broken Grimsby Minster clock starts ticking by itself again. Church leaders say 'we just cannot explain it' after town's famous timepiece suddenly begins working - but was it really God's work?

Internal cogs of a large clock

The clock on the Grimsby landmark, in north east England, had only been correct twice a day for the past few years, having become stuck at the time of 11.55. With the cost of fixing its broken mechanism estimated at £50,000 ($67,000), and with local councillors still trying to figure out how to pay for the repairs, last weekend the minster’s astonished church warden looked up to see the hands had moved for the first time in years.

Christopher Daniel had not been told of any repair work and put the occurrence down to a 'miracle'. “I do not know why or how the clock has started working again," he told Grimsby Live. "It is either divine intervention, or there is a much more mundane reason that none of us are aware of. We just cannot explain it. Not only is the mechanism working again, but the clock tells the correct time."

Little did Mr Daniel know that three days earlier, a pair of local bellringers had decided to have a go at fixing it themselves. Ricky Harwood, 47, a local cheesemaker, with the help of 15-year-old Jay Foley, clambered up into the tower to see if they could get the ancient timepiece functioning again.

When they peered inside the wooden boxes containing the components for the clock, they discovered three dead pigeons “wrapped up” in the cogs.

After removing the carcasses, the pair set about recalibrating the chimes and the hands. They then lubricated the mechanism that powers the clock, using a grease gun and a small can of WD-40 that Mr Harwood bought from the local shop.

While Mr Harwood undid the wingnuts, which releases the hands from the mechanism to allow them to be worked independently, Jay - who plans to study engineering - would run up and down the 100 steps of the church tower calling out over the phone the time shown outside on the clock's four faces.

After many hours of work, the pair then left the minster without telling a soul of their good deed.


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