2015 January meeting



Our own Duncan Greig will be taking us on a virtual tour of the clocks of Lyme Park where he acts as a Horological Conservator to the National Trust.

Nestling on the edge of the Peak District, Lyme Park was once home to the Legh family and, in its heyday a great sporting estate. It is now owned by the National Trust.

Boasting 46 clocks including 7 Tompion’s 2 Knibb’s and a Long Case by George Graham this promises to be a very entertaining and interesting evening.

For those who like to do their homework full details can be found by following the National Trust link on our website – www.nationaltrustcollections.org.uk. Get your questionsready!!


2014 December meeting

Swarf on my mouse mat – John Downie

An intriguing title for what promises to be a talk to remember.

John is a retired university lecturer and a member of the Sussex Branch of the BHI with a keen interest in the practical use of computers in clockmaking.

John will be describing the research and computer modelling he did in order to help a friend build a functioning model of the famous 14th Century Salisbury Cathedral Clock.

With a desire to be able to manufacture complex items in his workshop John has built his own CNC machine using a scrapped computer controlled PCB drilling machine together with home brewed electronics and software.

Subsequently he has gone on to develop computer models of mechanical regulator clock escapements and using programs such as Algodoo and Rhino 3D and a home brewed mill has gone on to put some of them into practice.

John is not entirely computer based and enjoys working alongside other Sussex based horologists fine tuning his hand skills.

Anyone who was on the visit to the Frodshams workshop will remember how impressive the computer aided design facilities were.

Maybe John will inspire us to see how the computer can be put to good use in our own more humble workshops!!


2014 November meeting

AGM followed by talk by Ron Rose

With 52 years in the trade, Ron will talk about What a Clock Repairer Collects!


When asked about this he gave the following reply:-

‘It was often implied that I must have a marvellous collection at home. Well No, actually, as every time I brought home a clock and loved it, someone would bring in a better one for repair shortly after, and shatter the appeal of my own! So I do collect but not conventionally. My collection is “all sorts”, ingenuity, things which tell a story, one offs or things where I have yet to come across another. No Tompions, Quares or Breguets as they are much too common (what other reason could there be?).

Open any horological book and lots of these appear. My collection of bits would take a lot more searching, but they have a value —– “priceless”. I guarantee there will be something that every single person in the room, not only has never seen before, but will never see again in their lifetime! Or I’ll give you your money back!!’

2014 September meeting

This year’s Beresford Hutchinson memorial lecture will be delivered by English watchmaker, Roger Smith.

“Against all Odds”


Not three years have passed since the death of Dr. George Daniels CBE, DSc, FBHI, FSA, a man who devoted his working life to the development of the modern mechanical English Watch. Mr Daniels recognised the need for a watch that could compete with a changing market giving high standards of timekeeping and longevity of service.

The Co-Axial Escapement was his invention, not only did its making require the greatest of skill, but it was an analysis of hundreds of years of horology’s greatest escapements. The task of getting the Swiss watch industry to mass produce his prototype “against all odds” would have made many crumble.

So what of the future? With George’s bequest of his entire workshop contents, Roger Smith continues to hand make watches on the Isle of Man, making improvements and continuing the high standard his master instilled. Many of the South London Branch fondly remembers a visit to the Daniels Riversdale studio.


It was George’s wish that an Educational Trust be set up from his estate and by actively supporting those wishing to make a career from horology in the UK, whether employed or self-employed, that the trust fund will ensure that future generations are given the opportunity to develop their horological skills.



2014 June meeting

Due to an unfortunate cancellation, this month’s talk will be a change from the printed schedule. Rory McEvoy will stand in to present an unusual horological study of two Titanic relics from the National Maritime Museum collections. The talk will look at the history behind a mechanical musical toy pig and a gold pocket watch and how these objects can tell us more about the night of the disaster and its wider effect on the business of keeping time at sea.


2014 May meeting

The May meeting was a break from the norm, with five short presentations courtesy of the staff and students from the horology course at West Dean College. The presentations went down really well and were followed by a lively discussion about the clocks and mechanisms.

Event’s announcement copied below:

Pyke pedestal organ clockImage1

The George Pyke clock and West Dean College

Course tutor, Matthew Read:

Matthew will be give an overview of the current thinking and direction of the course in antique clock restoration and conservation as well as introduce his students and intern:

Jonathan, BCU graduate and West Dean intern:

Jonathan will talk about his current work on the extraordinary musical automaton clock by George Pyke. The clock, which is normally displayed at Temple Newsham House in Leeds, is currently spread out over several benches at the college. Jonathan will discuss work on: the case, automated parts, re-furbishing the bellows, analysis and restoration of the pin barrels and researching the music.

John, 1st year student:

As a first-year student John is developing his bench craft by making a weight-driven hoop and spike timepiece from scratch. The clock is being made in the style of an 18th century example and he is, where possible, using traditional methods to create the clock.

Tabea, final-year graduate student:

Tabea will talk about the restoration of a Charles Frodsham ship’s bell clock and discuss her interest in the subject, which she hopes to take further with an internship at the National Maritime Museum later this year.

Ashley, final-year graduate student:

Ashley will talk about his work restoring a perpetual calendar mechanism and other French clockwork as well as introduce his thoughts about his next big project, the conservation/restoration of a turret clock by Nicholas Paris of Warwick.


2014 April meeting

Of Clockwork and Shadows 

by Andrew James

The Equation of Time, the difference between “clock time” or mean time and “sundial time”, may nowadays seem of little relevance, but it was formerly of great significance.

What is it? Why does it exist? How does it change over time? Who measured it? How have clock and watchmakers reconciled the two time systems?

These are a few of the topics Andrew James will discuss. Many ingenious mechanisms have been devised to show the Equation of Time on a clock, or to show solar time, and Andrew will explain a number of these and demonstrate some with computer animations.

2014 March meeting

Polishing metals a talk by Mr Adrian Garner


Adrian is the Chairman of the Society of Model and Experimental Engineers, SMEE for short.  Like many youngsters, he played with model railways but he became more interested in the mechanisms and the gear wheels which led to his long time interest in clock making.

He was awarded the Claude B. Reeve Trophy for a beautifully executed Congreve rolling ball clock at the Model Engineer Exhibition, Sandown Park 2010 and has had articles published in both the Horological Journal and the Model Engineer magazine.

Whilst we all recognize a polished surface, Adrian discussed the problems in defining the characteristics of a polished surface both from a theoretical and practical point of view.  He then described and illustrated the methods he uses, including some less conventional approaches, to obtaining polished surfaces on brass and steel components whilst retaining their shape and avoiding rounded edges, dimples and other blemishes.

2014 February meeting

Early Flintlocks and their Manufacture by


After a long career in the insurance industry including co-founder of Towergate Partnership; Paul now lectures on Risk Management and Climate Change for businesses across the UK. He has a strong interest in the Military and sponsors the development of the RMA Sandhurst archive, which he has supported from its inception. He has also written for the RMA Sandhurst Journal “Wish Stream” and has written regularly for the Insurance Trade Press.

Now having a little more free time Paul has been able to indulge and learn more of his passion for clocks and watches. He has enjoyed being welcomed by the members of the South London Branch and wishes to reciprocate with sharing his knowledge of one his other passions for military history and the manufacture of Flintlocks. His lecture this evening promises to be a unique chance to experience how early military hardware was put together and how expensive these were in relation to the production of clocks.

2014 January meeting

January 9, 2014

Admiral Lord Nelson and the domestic clock – Rory McEvoy

This talk looked mainly at clocks and watches produced in the 1800 to 1825 period, which is often referred to as the ‘golden age of the painted dial’, and highlighted a few select examples that celebrate the successes of the British Navy from the National Maritime Museum’s collection.


Image © NMM