The Repair Shop’s Steve Fletcher blown away by 5,000 matchstick model restoration



The Repair Shop saw host Jay Blades carry the huge structure into the workshop and Steve exclaimed: “That’s incredible” as he marvelled over the piece. Charlotte, from Bedfordshire had brought the Big Ben matchstick model in. She explained: “The matchsticks are built around wood and then carved into shape.

“It’s 5,520 matchsticks, it does say on the back so it’s easy to remember.”

The model was created by her great-grandfather, Edwin Alders, and to begin with, it was just a hobby.

She went on to explain: “This one was for the Queen’s Coronation,” as she handed over the broken clock.

She handed over the clock, plus parts which had fallen off over time.

The structure was featured as part of an exhibition in London, with Edwin also working as a well-known painter.

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Once out of the exhibition, the Big Ben model lived at Charlotte’s nan’s house.

Charlotte explained: “She wasn’t necessarily a sentimental kind of woman, but this was the thing she kept.

“She loved it so much, she was most proud of her dad in that sense.”

Steve asked: “You grew up with this clock so as a little toddler this must have seemed like a big clock.”

Charlotte admitted she remembered it being “ginormous” but she could no longer remember the iconic chime.

Steve said: “To look after a clock like this, it needs a lot of work” as he continued to admire what was in front of him.

He asked: “What would it mean to you if I could get it ticking again?”

To which Charlotte said: “It would be amazing, I think it would bring back nice memories.

“Especially as my nan’s passed and this is the biggest thing I have of hers.”

Will Kirk was tasked with fixing the structure and he said he used between 400 and 500 matches.

Meanwhile, Steve said he needed to give the clock a “complete overhaul” as it was “quite worn in places”.

As he placed the clock into the structure, he could hear the unmistakeable Big Ben chime.

It took over a year to complete the model and Charlotte was eager to see her great-grandfather’s work.

She said: “I’m very looking forward to hearing the sound of the actual clock.”

Charlotte was left in awe after the big reveal, gasping: “Wow, oh my gosh”.

When she finally heard the chime, her eyes began to fill with tears as she reminisced over old times.

Thanking the two experts, she commented: “It’s beautiful, it’s kind of like a flashback to my nan’s flat in

Dunstable where I would be sitting there with my little bowl of custard and bananas.”

She said her nan would “probably want to give you guys big hugs, she would be so grateful”.

The Repair Shop airs on Wednesdays on BBC One at 8pm – ChatGPT autoblogging and content curation plugin for WordPress