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.
For this years “George Daniels Lecture” we are delighted to welcome Rebecca Struthers FBHI.
Rebecca is half of the husband-and-wife team behind the multi-award-winning Struthers Watchmakers’ workshops and studio. Both practitioners who started their training in vintage and antique watch restoration; Craig and Rebecca Struthers founded their first workshop in 2012. Inspired by the number of watches being destroyed by their local bullion industry in the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham, the Struthers started collecting the discarded movements and rebuilding them as new watches. Using hand tools and machinery made between the 1870s and 1950s, their recommissioning process involved stripping vintage and antique movements back to their component parts before reconstructing them with improvements to durability, timekeeping and regulation. They then create precious metal case for the watch using traditional casemaking techniques. During this process, the Struthers found realised they were capable making virtually every component for someone else’s watch, and so, decided it was time to create these components for their own watch.
In this talk, Rebecca will share some of their recent projects, and, the first half of their journey towards the creation of their first in-house movement which is due for completion in early 2020.
This month’s meeting allows us to go back stage on the activities of our branch workshop.
The workshop, initially the inspiration of our Vice President Ron Rose is now managed by James Marten supported by John Faulkes, Mick Welch and Alan Westgate.
Currently there are evening Clock Repairing classes running three nights a week and a Clock Making Project one weekend a month. In addition, other ad-hoc activities are run during the year. Full details are published in the newsletter.
As I am writing this work is underway to expand the size of the workshop by taking over an adjacent room. With walls about a foot and a half thick of Victorian concrete this is no small task!
The workshop also houses our library of over 300 horological books. Our librarian Gary Thwaites will be on hand to tell you more.
See examples of work undertaken, and some presentations maybe, by members on the Clock Making Project and the Students if they are willing to undergo this grilling, and those attending the other courses.
You are promised a very practically oriented evening.
300 Years Ago. The Arrival of John Harrison’s Family in Barrow-upon- Humber
Writing this in 30 Degrees of heat it is difficult to remember that we had to cancel our March lecture due to the snow! Following the unavoidable cancellation by our planned speaker we are delighted to advise that Andrew has stepped in to give us the missing March talk.
THIS EVENING ANDREW KING RETURNS TO TALK ABOUT A TIME OF JOHN HARRRISON’S LIFE THAT HAS NEVER BEEN CONSIDERED BEFORE….
Much of the life of John Harrison has been written and spoken about as well as broadcast in full feature film and documentaries. However, all this has centred around Harrison’s quest to contribute to the “Discovery of Longitude at Sea” with the story heavily accented on Harrison’s life after he finally left Barrow-upon-Humber around 1737. But by 1737 Harrison would have been 44 years old, a little over half way through his life. Many in the 18th century never even reached such an age.
No one has asked some very simple questions. How was John Harrison involved in clock making in Barrow and, as he was most certainly not a full time clockmaker at this time, how else was he occupied with earning a living? This leads to the further question as to what sort of community was there in Barrow and the surrounding area early in the 18th century?
To answer these questions Andrew has been trawling through Probate Inventories, Church Warden Accounts and, where possible, various estate papers. A picture is now gradually emerging to reveal a mixed community with an insight into the people and their lives.
As will be explained, this is very much a ‘work in progress’. There is a lot more to be discovered by delving in the archives but already there is a considerable amount of information to add to John Harrison’s long life.
For our August lecture we are delighted to welcome our president Jonathan Betts FBHI.
“A Pretty Employment for Ingenious Men” (John Harrison 1775) The story of the marine chronometer and the National Maritime Museum’s collection
The marine chronometers at the Royal Observatory form one of the flagship collections in the National Maritime Museum, and a full catalogue of these special timekeepers has now been completed by Jonathan Betts, Senior Curator of Horology at the museum until his retirement in 2015. “The Marine Chronometers at Greenwich” forms the fifth in the Oxford University Press series covering the museum’s instruments, and Jonathan will be describing the intricate process of the cataloguing and will cover some of the discoveries made and how they change and enlighten our view of this important 18thand 19th century technological industry.
Reviewing Jonathan’s book Anthony Randall writes “This is a truly monumental work and will be indispensable for anyone with a serious interest in marine chronometers.”
Our speaker, Sid Lines, is well known to the South London Branch having given many talks to us over the years and also for running a most informative Tool Sharpening course in our workshop.
Sid, a retired mechanical engineer with an interest in clocks that started 40 plus years ago was made up to a MBHI about 11 years ago.
This talk originated from the restoration of an 1840 / 1850 bracket clock which needed special sized screws and taps to be made, this was basis of the talk, but it was expanded into the full talk which he thought would be good and interesting for all the BHI groups.
It contains some contentious points (depending on your point of view) on conservation.
The talk covers four areas:
(1) A little history (in a nut shell)
(2) The Identification of modern threads and their making
(3) Older threads and conservation
(4) Repairing methods and making old style screws.
It’s a fully practical talk.
There will be a few surprises! Sid will be bringing along a display of some odd / old thread making tools. There is something for everyone from those that are just beginning to fully experienced repairers and restorers. The talk will improve our understanding of threads etc. and hopefully provoke a little lively debate. Not to be missed!!