Edmund Howard (1710-98) A Quaker Clockmaker in Chelsea
Dr James Nye
By sheer chance, James was alerted in the summer of 2016 to the existence of a manuscript autobiography, compiled in 1785, which has been widely used by historians but apparently escaped notice by horologists. It was written in the 1780s by a struggling Chelsea clockmaker, Edmund Howard—a maker virtually unrecorded in the horological literature, who nevertheless left us a remarkably detailed and rich account of his life. A Quaker, yet with few good words for his fellow Friends, Howard lived a long and fascinating life through the bulk of the eighteenth century. James has researched further contextual detail of Howard’s life, and attempted to recover details of his known clocks. He will present the fruits of that research for the first time, in anticipation of publication in Antiquarian Horology in the coming months.
Dr James Nye is Chairman of the AHS, and the founding sponsor of The Clockworks museum in West Norwood. He has had a lifelong interest in electrical horology, and has been Secretary of the AHS Electrical Horology Group for twenty years. He is a member of the Court of the Clockmakers’ Company, and is chairman of its Collections Committee. His book, A Long Time in Making (OUP: 2014) charts the history of Smiths Group.