THIS OBJECT IS PART OF THE PROJECT 'A HISTORY OF CORNWALL IN 100 OBJECTS'.
BODMIN MUSEUM. From clocks to Baby Belling cookers, the name Belling is now an international one. This fine brass lantern clock was made by the first John Belling at Bodmin in 1753. He often used Cornish tin to decorate his clocks.
Cornish clocks were at first made by smiths, locksmiths and even millers. An early Bodmin clockmaker called old Veale appears in Carew's Survey of 1602 (see Antony). In the early 18th century, John Belling sold his clocks throughout Cornwall from St Just-in-Penwith to Tintagel. He bought clock hands from Bristol, French brandy from smugglers and was typical of Cornwall's many skilled entrepreneurs. By 1800 most Cornish clocks and watches were factory-made rather than being home-made.
Five generations of Bellings lived and worked in Bodmin, the first being the maker of this clock and the last, Elizabeth Belling, a spinster watch and clockmaker in Fore Street. After leaving Bodmin for Middlesex, the family diversified into kitchen stoves.
Photo: Bernie Pettersen