Fair-weather find for descendant

Cindy Lightburn with the barometer.
Cindy Lightburn with the barometer.

A North East writer has stumbled upon a precious relic that was created by her north Northumbrian ancestors.

The Maule family were clockmakers on Wooler’s High Street for well over 100 years.

In 1855 they moved the business to Blackett Street in Newcastle where they continued to run their clockmakers and jewellers shop.

The item, a banjo-shaped barometer, was happened upon in an antique shop in the village run by Hamish Dunn.

Cindy Lightburn, who lives in Newcastle, said: “I am absolutely delighted to be the new owner of a barometer from Wooler.

“It is clearly authentic as it bears the family’s mark at the bottom of the instrument.

“I Maule was my great-great grandfather John and the I was regularly used in place of the J back in the day.

“The barometer has four compartments – the top of the instrument is the housing for the hygrometer and underneath that is the mahogany-cased thermometer.

“Beneath is a more unusual feature – the clock – which requires a considerable amount of work.

“However, the barometer is intact and will possibly need only to be re-silvered.

“Situated below the barometer is the setting knob made of bone.

“Last, but by no means least, is the interesting bit which houses my family’s name along with the mercury.

“As you might imagine, much restoration is needed but it will be a very handsome piece when finished and polished.”

Local clock and barometer enthusiast Peter Fenwick, of Morpeth, is helping to restore the instrument and has already dissected it.

While Peter is working on the technical parts, Cindy is attempting to clean the severely-blackened brass rims.

Cindy has several of the family’s clocks, made in both Wooler and Newcastle, but this is the first barometer she has owned and the first by Maule she’d ever seen.

“Strangely, the only section which doesn’t need attention is the housing for the level and engraved plate – I. Maule, Wooler – which has remained well protected under convex glass for what could be nearing 200 years,” she added.