Wishing Fish Clock Back in Action at Regent Arcade
After months of painstaking restoration, the iconic Wishing Fish Clock in Cheltenham’s Regent Arcade shopping centre was re-started at noon on Friday 12 May by its artist, Kit Williams. Assisted by his six-year old granddaughter Dunisha, Kit cut a ribbon to mark the completion of the £50,000 project which has restored the clock’s egg laying illusion and re-instated many of Kit’s original features which were cost engineered out when the clock was first installed in 1986.
Dunisha’s classmates from St Dominic’s Primary School in Woodchester were there to watch the proceedings and be the first to chase the bubbles as the clock once again played its famous melody ‘I’m forever blowing bubbles’ and the fish blew its magic bubbles.
Kit designed the entire concept for the Wishing Fish Clock and was commissioned by the Regent Arcade architects to paint the clock face and make the fish himself. The clock and its housing was constructed by Cheltenham clockmakers Sinclair Harding, but as the budget ran out, cost cutting measures were taken including making the original snake out of a pair of old rugby socks!
The most obvious new feature is the goose. In addition, restorers London firm Studio Makecreate have made a new articulated snake, mice and golden sun for the hour hand. All of these followed the original drawings Kit prepared for the clock over three decades ago.
Said Scott Lahive, centre manager of the Regent Arcade: “We have been planning to restore the clock for quite some time but were waiting until all of the mall refurbishment works had been completed.
“We are very grateful to Kit for so generously sharing his original plans with us so that we could bring the clock back to even better than its former glory. We’re all delighted with the new features and can’t wait to see the illusion working once again.
“There’s a whole generation of children out there who have never seen Geraldine* laying her golden eggs which will make our clock even more of an attraction for shoppers and visitors to Cheltenham alike.
“I know the iconic tune and bubbles have been sorely missed but when people see how wonderful the clock looks now I am sure everyone will agree it has been well worth the wait for their return.”
Commented Kit Williams: “I have found it very touching in the last few years that young mums have come up to me and said that they were taken to see the clock when they were children and now they bring their children to see it, to catch a bubble and make a wish. For this reason, I chose to switch on the clock with my six-year-old granddaughter in the hope that one day she will be able to bring her children to share in the magic!”
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