On the 30th of October, every clock in the United Kingdom will be celebrating a centennial milestone. In the midst of the First World War, Parliament passed the Summertime Act of 1916, creating what’s come to be known as British Summer Time. So when the timepieces of the nation “fall back” one hour, Roman and Maz Piekarski will be very busy brothers.
The Piekarskis are the owners, proprietors, and restorers-in-residence of Cuckooland, home to a collection of over 700 cuckoo clocks. This year, on the one hundredth anniversary of British Summer Time coming to a close, the two horologists (a fancy name for clock masters) will once again be resetting the time on all the working clocks in their vast collection.
The brothers have been studying clocks and watches since they were teenagers. They soon began collecting these fanciful and elaborate clocks, honing an expertise in their history and mechanics. Since 1970, their collection has grown to nearly 700 examples of some of the finest and rarest ever made, all from the one true home of the cuckoo clock – the Black Forest region of central Europe.
It took about 20 years of clock-chasing, but eventually the breadth and depth of the Piekarski’s collection left them no choice but to spread the gospel of the cuckoo to the public, opening their doors in 1990.
Cuckooland is not just clocks, and one piece in particular might even drown out the cacophony of several hundred chiming at once: a German keyless concert organ. Also known as a fair organ, it’s what you’d hear accompanying carrousels and fair rides, made specifically loud enough to hear over the crowds.
Cuckooland doesn’t keep regular hours, but call or email to set up a visit or a tour. They’ll be happy to hear from you (if they can hear you over the cuckoos and the organ).
Know Before You Go
Tabley is about 15 miles southwest of Manchester. Cuckooland is on Chester Road (the A556), which runs right through the village. The museum is housed in the old Tabley Schoolhouse, and it's close to Knutsford Services on the M6 (but much more fun). In addition to the clocks and organ, they also have a small collection of vintage motorcycles. To visit and take a tour of it all, you need to phone in Advance: 01565 633039. The website is presently under construction (13/09/17)