Tuesday 15 February 2022

The Repair Shop....

is a very popular British television programme. Is it viewed overseas? In the programme members of the public are invited to bring a greatly loved but damaged treasure to the Repair Shop. Usually the item has been handed down through the family or holds special memories of a loved relative or friend. Many of the items look as if they are beyond repair, and impossible to restore to anything resembling their former glory. However, the various talented craftspeople, by using their special skills, work magic on them. The object usually ends up looking far better than their owners or the viewers could ever imagine, and if broken, they are returned back into working order.            

I have a much loved clock which has no special history or background. I purchased it from a local potter because we needed a clock to sit on our mantlepiece and I liked it. The clock has been ticking away happily for over 20 years but suddenly stopped working when I replaced a battery. I fiddled with it, but had no idea what was wrong. However, the battery unit appeared to be loose and I wondered whether it had become detached from the hands. Watching The Repair Shop programme I thought that I needed something similar, but where to go? All of the jewellery/clock shops visited referred me to a clock maker, but a contemporary battery operated clock does not require the skills of a trained horologist. It has been sitting waiting for some attention for several weeks as I was unsure how to proceed. Did it need a new battery unit? If so where would I get the correct one and how would I fit it?

I made a few enquiries on a local Facebook website and several people came to my aid by mentioning that we have a great Repair Shop locally. I have subsquently discovered that there are two others in this area, and furthermore they can also now be found in other parts of the country. I don't know if they are as a result of the programme but the people who work in them give their time and skills freely. They are often retired people who either enjoy repairing broken objects or continue to enjoy using skills connected to their previous employment - they repair domestic items, damaged garments, leatherwork, broken china, paintings, anything is considered.

The Repair Shop that I visited happened to have a retired clockmaker/repairer working with them - how lucky was I? The shop I visited charge a very modest amount of money per hour just enough to cover their costs, plus the price of any items that may be needed to complete the repair. I left the clock with them, and a telephone call a couple of days later informed me that it was ready to be collected.

I am extremely grateful to have my clock back, working perfectly, and happily ticking away again.

Hopefully this information may be useful to others - as you too may have a similar Repair Shop on your doorstep.

43 comments:

  1. I have seen the programme here in Melbourne, and was very impressed with the finished products.

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    1. That is interesting to know Hels, apparently it is shown in New Zealand too.

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  2. What a lovely ceramic clock! I love the dogwoods - but I don't know about having no numbers...I often get confused even when clocks have them, thus digital saves me!

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    1. Dear Barbara - it does look a bit like a dogwood blossom. However I have always thought that it represented the wild pale pink roses that grow along our hedgerows.

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  3. Dear Rosemary, I am so glad that you went to so much trouble to get your clock fixed. Because it is battery operated it will last for many more years. It is a very charming design.

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    1. Dear Gina - I was so pleased to get it fixed, I really missed having it sitting on our mantlepiece.

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  4. I have heard before of the British program "The Repair Shop" but have never seen it. Hopefully PBS may start showing it some time? It sounds terrific! And how wonderful that communities now have their own not-for-profit "repair shops" to help people with their treasured possessions. Very cool -- glad you were able to get your clock fixed!

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    1. It is surprisingly entertaining and often quite moving too.

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  5. That seems to be the modern equivalent of the village where I grew up. There were experts on just about everything to be found among the menfolk - one had a chimney sweep's brush, another possessed a set of drain rods, yet another mended bicycles. We also had, believe it or not, a man who was an expert on removing bee or wasp nests. My own father could be relied on to fix watches and clocks, despite having the huge hands of a man who had worked on the land throughout his life.

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    1. Maybe these Repair Shops are acknowledging our need to be more sustainable instead of being such a throw away society.

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  6. I have not seen the program here in Canada, but it sounds very interesting. I'm glad you were able to get your clock fixed so reasonably. It's a unique piece with those pretty dogwoods.

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    1. It is a lovely programme especially watching the skills of those doing the restoration and then the reactions of the owners. As I mentioned to Barbara I have always thought that the pink flowers were our wild pink roses growing in the hedgerows.

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  7. We watch the programme regularly. Sometimes we wonder when people say how special a piece is to them when it has been "stored" in the garage for the past 20 or 30 years. Apparently it is a New Zealand lady, Carla-Maria Lawson behind the programme. Great that you now have Repair Shops around the country.

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    1. It was a relevation to me to discover that we do have these great repair shops up and down the country.

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  8. There are probably similar programs here.

    I have a small mantle clock that will now remain silent. A guy I took it to figured it would be a couple hundred to repair.

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    1. You need a Repair Shop like the one I visited. They charged me just £11.00 for the work and the new items used which included a new battery.

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  9. I've watched that programme a few times and been impressed by the before and after results. Great to still have places and people like that. Growing up my Dad had a cobbler's metal last and used to repair family members shoes/ resole them and my Mum had a knitting machine and Singer's sewing machine to do repairs- both common place household items back then. I suppose the price of goods has lowered since then making it easier to buy everyday new items. I remember buying a pair of brogue shoes in the 1970s for college that cost a fortune. Thinking back to what my weekly wage was as an apprentice I'm still stunned at the price today! No wonder they were kept and resoled several times.

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    1. My father too had a cobbler's metal last, but he never did anything too ambitious with it apart from sticking on those rubber soles that would make our leathersoled shoes last longer.

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  10. I have not seen the program in the US but will look for it. How nice you were able to have your clock repaired and for a modest fee.

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    1. I was so happy as I thought that it would never see it back on my mantlepiece again.

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  11. I do enjoy that programme. we have a 'family clock' which gets passed to the oldest woman in the family each time someone departs the planet, I am next to receive - my cousin has it serviced and repaired every year and as it's so very old this takes a long time and great expense but worth it for something so special.

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    1. Apparently the people invited to the show pay absolutely nothing for the restorations and repairs. The costs are covered by the BBC and they said that a donation can be given to charity if the owners wish.
      My DiL has a chiming grandfather clock left to her by her grandfather which has just stopped working. They have been told that it could cost them £2000 or more to get it working again.

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  12. I have never heard of the show, Rosemary, but I can see why it might be popular. I can't think of anything in our house badly in need of restoration, but in a few years it might be me!

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    1. I have nothing needing restoration work either David, but the odd repair job does crop up from time to time, so I am happy to know about the Repair Shop that I have just discovered.

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  13. Dearest Rosemary,
    That is a valuable British program, wish we had one like that here!
    You indeed were very lucky for having your clock repaired.
    Wish you'd shown a photo of it...πŸ˜‰
    Hugs,
    Mariette

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    1. Dear Mariette - we enjoy watching the programme, it is very popular here. I am really grateful that is now in full working order.
      I don't know why the photo of the clock is not showing on your blog.

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    2. Rosemary, because you only now added it...πŸ˜‰
      A lovely ceramic clock!

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    3. It was there all of the time Mariette. When you made your comment, I decided that I had better make it larger. If you look at earlier comments you will notice that some people have mentioned itπŸ’š

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  14. Oh, Rosemary, we love Repair Shop!!! I think we watched it on one of those streaming channels and have seen every episode. It's amazing the magic these craftspeople work on such varied problems. I wondered if the show might nudge young people to consider taking up a skill as a career after seeing how immensely satisfying it is to see a job completed and well. Out of curiosity, I looked to see if there were Repair Shops in Sydney and a couple have sprung up but not with the breadth of service. But it's a start!

    Your clock is beautiful and well done to get it going again. Hopefully it's modern movement will keep it going for many more years. I'm reading "Anna Karenina" at the moment and in Prince Oblonsky's household, every Friday a German master clockmaker comes to the house to wind and tend to their clocks :)

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    1. Hel's also mentioned that she too has seen The Repair Shop, but the programme doesn't appear to have reached The States.
      I missed our clock and am really happy to have it back in its rightful place once again.
      Your comment reminds me that Buckingham palace has lots of clocks. There are over 350 clocks of varying sizes and designs scattered throughout the palace. Most of the clocks are centuries old, and like Prince Oblonsky's household need to be wound up every week. The palace employs two horological conservators to wind all 350 of them up and keep them in good working order.

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    2. All those horologists from times past who spent the umpteen years as apprentices first would never have imagined that the ubiquity of personal timekeepers would actually lead to their specialised jobs becoming near obsolete instead of essential to daily life! I expect the Buckingham Palace conservators have a succession plan in place for their roles but there can't be many experts left these days. However, it would be a lovely job :) Repair Shop's Steve has adorable little tools and can work magic on nearly anything!

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    3. How many people actually own or wear a craftsman made mechanical watch today? Many people simply use their mobile phones. I sometimes wonder whether young people can actually read a clock face!
      Steve is a really skilled craftsman - it is a joy to see him work. He has his own repair shop here in the Cotswolds along with his son, who is following in his father's footsteps.

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  15. Yes, we do sometimes see Repair Shop on Australian television. I will seek it out again. How wonderful you were able to have your clock repaired, and now I wonder if we have repair shops such as you describe. Like many people, we have a few items which we love, and no idea how to find a suitable repair person. Just reading the above comment, reminds me of one of our visits to London when we went to see Charles Dickens house. The large clock was about to have its weekly winding, and I was permitted to turn the key. Smiling broadly, and have the photograph to prove it.

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    1. I knew someone from overseas had mentioned seeing The Repair Shop Patricia, and I now think that it was maybe you. I think that you must realise how happy I am with the work that has been done on our clock as you too have things requiring special attention. Unbelievably it only cost £11 - what a bargain! None of that money goes to the person who does the work, it is simply to cover their overheads and any replacement parts. I left some extra money for the man who repaired it, so that he could buy himself something.

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  16. Yes we watch that program here often too. We can watch BBC here very well. The items that are repaired look wonderful, like new!

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  17. The Repair Shop is the kind of drama I’ll see intrigued but unfortunately I haven’t heard of it. Your ceramic clock is so lovely, Rosemary, and I’m glad you got the clock back perfectly repaired, which made your all the effort worthwhile. I like it when both broken objects and retired people with special skills have second life at the repair shop. Thanks for sharing the nice story.

    Yoko

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    1. I think that it is important that people who have special skills, which they continue to to to use, do have the opportunity to do so.
      I am delighted to have my clock back in its rightful place again ticking away merrily.

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  18. Dear Rosemary, it is so satisfying (and good for our surrounding nature) to get a broken thing repaired.
    I just mentioned the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi in a comment to Jackie - Home.
    We do not have a similar TV series to watch in Germany - though it might, as usually, follow other countries - there is, as far as I know, only a series that pimps up old houses. And others that help you selling antiques.
    But I noticed in Berlin a repair shop and thought: Such a great idea! Why do I have to buy a new clock when only a battery is not to be found (or fixed)? Why throw away a washing machine, a table - only when there is only tiny damage?
    I think it very healthy that people try to repair things.
    One start is that children (and grown-ups!) learn to fix a button on their coat - I had a conversation with a seamstress: There are a lot of people who cannot do that, they bring it to her and pay one Euro... Or those awful Primark clothes: thrown away when there is a stain on it - cheaper to buy a new t-shirt... Grrrr....

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    1. Dear Britta - a throw-away society has been created in recent years which now needs to learn how to mend it ways in more way than one. Everyone wants only things that are brand new in their houses, new cars, etc. Time is now ripe for change.

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  19. I also have an old watch that needs refurbishment. Now it's in the box waiting for me to take it for service. In Finland, we do not see this program.

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    1. I think perhaps many jobs needing attention may have been put on hold due to the Pandemic. However, I was really greatful to have my clock back again having been sucessfully repaired.

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