IT is fair to say the building known to most as Tymperleys in Colchester has a rich and varied history.

Today it is a popular tea room and restaurant but for a generation of the town's population it was best known as a clock museum which opened 30 years ago this year.

This collection of photographs capture the building through the past 60 years and also images of the pieces which were displayed there.

The building itself, however, dates back to the 1490s and took its name from John Tymperley who served as a councillor and steward of the Duke of Norfolk’s holdings in Colchester and the surrounding area at that time.

It went on to be the family home of one of the town's most famous sons, William Gilberd.

Gilberd was physician to Elizabeth I and is remembered for being the scientist who coined the term 'electricity' as well as writing the De Magnete in 1600.

Just along the road in the Holy Trinity Church, which is no longer used as a church, there is an inscription in his memory.

In the days Gilberd lived at Tymperleys the buildings which are now the Art Cafe and along to where the Youth Enquiry Service is were all one building.

It remained a private residents for a number of years, changing as and when new owners moved in.

This included adding in an exterior staircase to the main house in the 1680s and then splitting it up into the many premises it now is.

The timber frame was plastered over and in the 18th Century the original mullion windows were replaced with Georgian sash windows.

In the 1950s, under Bernard Mason, the plaster front was removed and he oversaw a major renovation which began in 1956 and transformed the rundown building.  Bernard was a Colchester businessman and philanthropist who collected an amazing array of Colchester-made clocks and watches dating from 1640 onwards and it was these which formed the basis of the Tymperleys Museum when it was opened in 1987.

The collection, one of the largest in Britain including 216 clocks and 12 watches, was left to the people of Colchester following Bernard's death.

It showcased some of this astounding collection, including 216 clocks and 12 watches, and gave an insight into the specialist trade of clock making.  It closed its doors in October 2011 and in Mar 2014 it was re-opened as a restaurant but an important part of the collection of clocks can still be seen at the nearby Hollytrees Museum.