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The clock, completed in 1787, was offered for sale by public raffle, with 150 tickets sold at one guinea each. This was a well-known 18th-century promotional sales technique for exceptional pieces.

Remarkably, an original manuscript to advertise the raffle survives with the clock, although there is no evidence, to date, as to who won it. The total cost of the acquisition was £250,000, with further funding towards the acquisition provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The clock is housed in a four-sided mahogany case, made by the cabinet-maker James Moorcroft of Ormskirk (1759-1816), with three fluted Doric columns at each corner supporting a pagoda-style top, surmounted by a mahogany pineapple finial. It has three engraved faces displaying different aspects of time, while the fourth side has a glazed hinged door to reveal the clock movement.

The arches above each dial show the movement of the sun and moon, planets and stars. The main dial at the front is inscribed around the aperture Thomas Barry Ormskirk. It has an eight-day spring driven movement. The clock strikes on the hour and plays a choice of three tunes on eight bells in succession, two for three days twice and one for one day (Sunday). It changes the tune automatically as there is no manual select function. The melodies have not been named and so far have not been identified.

Thomas Barry of Ormskirk is recorded as a clockmaker in Bailey’s Directory of 1787. His is one of the most technically ambitious clocks known to have been made in the area when Liverpool’s reputation was at its height as a centre of horological expertise.