A new appeal has been launched to find an original booking office clock stolen from the railway museum in the 1990’s.
When reported to the police there were no photographs of it to circulate before, however, old camcorder footage found at the end of a tape has now emerged of the clock and a new appeal has been launched.
Downpatrick and County Down Railway vice chairman Robert Gardiner said: “This booking office clock was from the original company that operated the railway before it closed in 1950 – the Belfast & County Down Railway – and it would have originally hung in one of the stations on the old network between Newcastle and Belfast.
“It was spotted in an antique shop and bought by a number of volunteers who chipped in together to buy it for the museum in 1990 for public display. The railway was only a couple of years old and it was one of our earliest artefacts and it’s purchase was proudly proclaimed in the Society’s newsletter of the day.
“But only a few years later burglars stole it from the station. Since then our security has been significantly improved throughout the site and museum, with the railway recently being awarded over £3,000 in grant aid from the Northern Ireland Museums Council for further improvements.
“As you can imagine this theft was a terrible blow to the volunteers who’d chipped in to save it for the museum.
“It’s not a particularly rare type of clock, it’s a fairly common design from the makers Ansonia. It has an octagon shaped face, and a pointed case, but what makes it special is that it had the initials ‘BCDR’ handwritten on the dial, presumably done by one of the old BCDR staff members, as shown in the closeup in the video – it’s that provenance that was important to us.
“In the 20 years that have passed it’s never been recovered, either privately or by the police. And until this footage recently turned up no one had a photo of it.
“Given its provenance there’s a very high chance it’s still out there, maybe with a collector who innocently purchased it not knowing it was stolen, possibly locally, possibly outside Northern Ireland.”
The group urged anyone with information to get in touch in the hope it could be put back on public display in the museum.
Anyone with information is asked to contact PSNI Downpatrick on the non-emergency number 101.