October meeting we are delighted to welcome back Bill Wolmuth who will show
that not all black marble clocks are created equal.
Within the horological world there is a common misconception that
the movements to black marble clocks are all very similar and machine
made. However, as with any type of
clock, there are examples of considerable interest for the horologist who is
prepared to look and there is no doubt that many of the movements, particularly
early or rare ones, included a high degree of manual work to a very high
Bill Wolmuth is a consulting engineer and an amateur horologist
who has been interested in black marble clocks for more than 30 years. He is
based in London and is Secretary to St Albans Clock Club. In collaboration with
John Glanville, he co-authored the book ‘Clockmaking in England and Wales in
the Twentieth Century’ on which he gave us a talk in August 2017.
In this talk, Bill will discuss unusual black marble clock
movements made between the late 1840s and 1880s, illustrated with photographs,
and explain how to narrow down the date of manufacture of most of such
movements. The movements include ones that are quarter striking (with a
countwheel or rack strike); have centre or subsidiary seconds hands; have twin
wheel escapements (and are countwheel or rack strike); are year going; have
calendar work (simple or perpetual); and movements with keyless winding (there
are a few types). The talk will conclude
with a brief explanation of Bill’s methods for restoring black marble clock
cases which have case parts missing or damaged.
members are welcome to bring any black marble clocks they consider will be of
interest to the audience or on which they would like some advice.
For this year’s Beresford Hutchinson Lecture, we are delighted to welcome Keith Scobie-Youngs joint founder of the Cumbria Clock Company.
The Cumbria Clock Company Ltd.
Was established in 1990 and is situated in the small village, of Dacre in the
Lake District National Park not far from the picturesque Lake Ullswater. From
this base, and using engineer’s living in England, the whole country is
covered. They are responsible for the annual maintenance of hundreds of clocks
all over the UK. From the smallest church or village clock to the magnificent
clocks at Salisbury cathedral, Hampton Court Palace, more recently the Royal
Liver Building dials and waiting train movements, Liverpool.
Keith will be giving us an insight into the extensive conservation work carried out to the Hampton Court Palace clock, its history, the astronomical dial and how it ended up being driven by a Gillet and Bland double three legged remontoire movement. His knowledge and expertise on the countries tower clocks are second to none, an evening not to be missed.
For our August
lecture we look forward to welcoming Tabea Rude.
Tabea trained at West Dean College gaining a Master’s degree
in Horology. Before moving to Vienna Tabea spent eighteen months working at The
City clock collection is part of the Vienna City museum group, which comprises
of 22 museums and historic houses, as well as the city archaeology department.
Although the collection is only a very small part of the entire museum group,
with over 5000 objects it is the largest horological collection in Austria. The
700 key pieces of this collection are housed in a historic building in central
Vienna, which has functioned as a publicly accessible clock museum since 1921.
appointed as the horological conservator for the entire horological collection
in 2017. This involves documenting and organising the reserve collection in a
new purpose-built art storage building, as well as getting to know Viennese
horology and the key objects in the collection.
Tabea will talk about the early beginnings of the museum and
its key collections acquired in the 1910-20s. Through the following “tour on
slides”, everyone is invited to get to know the key objects’ histories as well
as the quirky and -at least locally- famous personalities associated with
them. From Austro-Hungarian monarchs, poets and monks to bankrupt actresses and
failed inventors- the collection contains many interesting stories, clocks,
watches and automata.
For our July
lecture we look forward to welcoming James Harris, currently Conservator in
residence at the Clockworks. James also runs his own clock and watch repair business.
After graduating with a First Class degree from the then-new
BA (hons) Horology course at Birmingham School of Jewellery, James has spent
time working for brands such as Tag Heuer, Omega, and Christopher Ward. He has
also returned to Birmingham as a lecturer.
James chose to launch Harris Horology in order to work with
his main horological interest, vintage and antique watches and pocket watches.
For his talk to us James will be describing what it’s
like to train to become a horologist in the 21st century, studying horology as
a degree. He will also be discussing what lead to becoming an independent
watchmaker under Harris Horology and the various avenues that keep him busy
away from the bench.
For our June
lecture we look forward to welcoming Francoise Collanges.
Brussels but also working in the UK and in France, Françoise is a trained horologist, specialising in the conservation and
care of historical objects.
In the last few
years, Francoise has collected as much information and pictures that she could
on Robert-Houdin’s mystery clocks. Her lecture will give some historical
backgrounds to Robert-Houdin’s clocks and examine what are their distinctive
features, and the issues she has met with them. Her aim is to better understand
how they were made, by whom, and how well they are meant to perform. Francoise
looks forward to discussing with our members the experiences they have had with
some of the best schools in conservation in Europe (Paris-Sorbonne in France,
West Dean College in the UK), she embraces the ethics defined by the leading
national and international institutions in the field of conservation (see ECCO guidelines) and provides the highest standards of work. She is
a member of the Institute of Conservator-restorers in Ireland (ICRI) and of Icon (UK).
A member of
the AHS council Françoise trained for two years at West Dean College (UK) in the conservation of clocks and obtained
a MA in Conservation Studies, before settling as a free-lance conservator.
For our May meeting
we welcome Malcolm Archer and his students from West Dean College. The speakers will be
a number of his Conservation of Clocks students.
event gives the students a chance to try their hand at public speaking and us
the opportunity to hear what is going on in horological education. Students
will present on a project that makes up a major part of their coursework for
qualification in restoration and conservation of antique clocks. The evening
promises good variety and an opportunity for lively discussion.
is always interesting to hear about the projects that the students have been
working on and we will have a variety of topics presented. It is also a
good opportunity to hear first-hand about what the tutors and students are
doing and show our support
note the meeting is not at our normal venue but at
Soper Hall –Harestone Valley Road, Caterham, CR3 6HY
For our April lecture we are pleased to welcome branch member Peter Gosnell to give his talk on “The Untold Story of British Jerome.”
When Chauncey Jerome and his company ‘The Jerome Manufacturing Company’ of New Haven, Connecticut, filed for bankruptcy in 1856, the New Haven Clock Company (NHCC from now on) purchased their assets.
As soon as the NHCC started producing from the old Jerome Manufacturing Co. plant, research suggests they either obtained, took, or assumed the right to use the name of ‘Jerome & Co.’. The name of ‘Jerome’ sold clocks both in England and the USA, being regarded by the public as a trusted brand.
Initially John Calvin Plimpton (an American by birth) and his company became sub-occupiers of The Jerome Buildings in Liverpool, England from 1891-1905. Then from 1908-1912 they were listed in local Directories as the sole agents of the NHCC in Great Britain.
Further research suggested that Plimpton & Co. soon started assembling NHCC movements at their premises in Liverpool from a mixture of imported NHCC parts as well as their own manufactured parts in order to try to Anglicise these movements to make them more appealing to English tastes.
Tonight’s talk will look at these movements, known by their labels as ‘British Jerome Movements’ in some depth, with all known movement models being presented during the talk.
With the assistance of two of our own branch members, Mick Welch and Gary Preston, probably the largest collection to date of these British Jerome Movements will also be on show to be inspected by the audience after the talk.
Peter lives in Greenwich and is now a pro-active grandparent with his wife Dinah. During his working life, Peter was employed by the University of the Arts London where he eventually taught practical courses in historical photographic processes. Before that he ran his own restoration joinery and furniture making business. For the future Peter intends to carry on his own Fine Art Photography practice, write horological articles and give horological talks on subject areas he has studied.
As usual this meeting will be a two-stage event. Firstly, there will be the AGM where you have the opportunity to find out the current state of branch affairs. There will be reports from the Chairman and Treasurer followed by any questions, and the election of the committee for the coming year.
Please remember to vote at the AGM you must be a member of both our Branch and the BHI at Upton Hall.
Now for the main event!!
Stephen’s talk promises to be a jaunt through his horological encounters with particular reference to some interesting makers, their hallmarks of quality and struggles to survive.
Having had a technical education and always intending to be an engineer, after his A levels Stephen joined a large multinational electronics research company. Early on, realising it was not for him, he returned to college to study mathematics and a career in Secondary Education followed. His 20 years as Head of Mathematics were punctuated by various secondments to government agencies where he developed an interest in Project Management. Currently this includes Summer Schools in London for American post graduates research and chairmanship of a medical charity developing Primary Health care in The Gambia.
And clocks? – about 30 years ago his engineering interests were rekindled with the purchase of a birdcage longcase clock movement and he was hooked! The last 20 years he has focused on researching 18th century provincial longcase clocks and their makers. ‘I am pleasantly surprised by the number of unrecorded makers and examples of unusual features that still surface’. There is always a bit of ‘creep’ and in recent years he has strayed into early painted dial features; is currently renovating an 1868 two train turret clock – and to his wife’s consternation the construction of an appropriate turret!
Stephen is an active member of various horological groups and has just been appointed external examiner for Birmingham University BA Hons Horology programme.
Andy’s talk “Tales from the Clock Tower” will be about clocks he has seen or worked on together with some interesting history on Turret Clock characters.
Andy Burdon worked for 30 years in corporate IT in London for a multi-national Engineering Group and subsequently went on to help set up a new company in the IT hardware disposal business concentrating on government approved data erasure. This business went from a startup to be audited as the best in the industry in 18 months.
Andy has had a lifelong enthusiasm for turret clocks and curates his own turret clock collection and workshop.
Andy is a Council Member of the Clocks Conservation Committee at the Church Buildings Council and the Chief Executive Officer of his own technology company having held a number of previous CIO board positions in the technology and communications industry.
He is also the database manager for the AHS turret clock group recording every turret clock made in the UK.Since taking over the database in 2016 he has worked to turn it into an internet based database and take it from 650 records to just over 4500. He has worked with the Church of England to link the turret clock database with the Church Heritage Record database which contains the information about all 17,600 Church of England churches in the UK.
In November 2018 Andy joined the Smith of Derby board as a Non-Executive Director and has been working with Smith of Derby Limited for many months, helping the company improve performance in the traditional turret clock marketplace and working with the engineers in the field to improve the work they perform.
For the first lecture of 2019 we are delighted to welcome Anna Rolls, Curator of the Clockmakers’ Museum.
The Clockmakers Museum moved to its new home at the Science Museum in 2015, having previously resided at the Guildhall for the past 142 years. The collection belongs to the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers, one of the 110 London Livery Companies, and is the oldest of its kind in the world, consisting of over 1500 items of horological ephemera. The collection spans the history of over 400 years of clock-making in Great Britain and beyond, and the gallery tells its story paying particular attention to the clockmakers of London and the beginnings of the Clockmakers Company.
Anna started as the Museum’s Curator in September 2018, and has been busy familiarising herself with the Museum and Company’s history and customs, thanks to the various accounts written on the subject including those by Samuel Elliott Atkins, Clerk to the Company in the nineteenth century, and Sir George White, Keeper Emeritus of the Museum.
Anna will give a presentation about the museum and its contents, looking at its history and the development of the archive and collection in the nineteenth century, the history of the Company and the key clockmakers associated with it, and the collection itself, and how it tells the story of London clockmakers, through the ‘golden age’ of horology, through to the present day.