Friday, 16 April 2021

Dalesfolk: Graham Chamberlain, Keeper of the Kettlewell Clock

 "A desire to live, work and raise a family in the country led us in 1970 to arrive in Kettlewell with a baby under one arm, and a cat in tow.

We came to run the sixty bed Youth Hostel, and the early years were hectic and fun in equal proportions. Providing breakfast, dinner and packed lunches for large numbers with an aged Aga cooker was always a challenge. The hostel went from strength to strength. School parties and outdoor activities such as pony trekking meant a constant stream of visitors. With a local activity provider we ran caving, climbing and gorge scrambling courses from the hostel.

Living in the village and being part of that community was everything we had hoped it would be, with endless opportunities to build friendships. We had another child, and they benefitted from attending the local primary school. I started a Cub pack and my wife helped a friend with Brownies.

My wife became a District Nurse. This gave her nearly thirty wonderful years of “cradle to grave” care, working a vast rural patch. Our kitchen often saw the local walking wounded in attendance. I was also part of the local fell rescue team. I was proud to be awarded the Queen’s Jubilee Medal for long service and I will always treasure this.

Following retirement from the Youth Hostel I spent the next ten years at the Yorkshire Dales National Parks tourist office using my knowledge of the area to help visitors.

I also took on the responsibility of winding the village church clock and its timekeeping. I’ve been doing this for about ten years now, and am amazed how many people seem to rely on it! I am fascinated by its intricate workings and history. I am always learning, but I enjoy my job as Kettlewell Tower Master!"


Graham Chamberlain is Keeper of the Kettlewell Clock.

This is an interview from my 2019 “Dalesfolk” book. For more information, go here: