2021 October Meeting

7th October 2021

The Loseby Family of Clockmakers and their Turret Clocks”.

Andy Burdon

Following on from the lecture given to us in February 2019, Andy has been researching one of his favourite makers and their family.

Loseby is a name normally associated with compensated balances on marine chronometers, but both the father and three brothers were also involved with the manufacture of high-quality turret clocks. His talk will concentrate on the remaining existent clocks by the family and some background to their work. 

Biographical information from Peter Stewards introduction 2019:

Andy Burdon worked for thirty 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.

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.

The meeting was held at The White Hart Barn in Godstone and made accessible via Zoom to those unable to attend.

2021 September Meeting

2nd September 2021

The Beresford Hutchinson Memorial Lecture

Memories of Clerkenwell

Ron Rose at the opening of the Branch workshop told us of how at 15 his careers officer gave him a choice of left hand or right hand, in one was a career servicing typewriter’s, in the other an apprenticeship clock repairing. He and later his brother Alan were apprenticed to Thwaites and Reed, in the 1960s. Then relocating to Eastbourne. Ron had fully established himself and his business at Strike One Islington by the time I first met him, the year of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee 1977. I made a point of putting his book, English dial clocks, firmly on my Christmas list the following year.

Two intrepid horological maestros from the South London branch, Mr Ron Rose, and Mr Robert Wren, have been exploring their personal and horological memories of Clerkenwell, the centre of our trade, the interesting buildings, and characters therein.

Robert Wren, a reprobate extra from the film Quadrophenia, commenced his apprenticeship at his uncles Lawrence and Colins shop in Hastings. He remembers venturing into the Wells with his late father. As a younger man, Robert accompanied him on his rounds as a salesman within the trade. Robert has put together numerous photographs of Clerkenwell and the surrounding workshops taking us on a pictorial journey starting from St John’s Street we are taken on a journey around suppliers and trade shops with memories of the characters within, journeying around St John’s Smith Square to the Wells and then ending up in Bowling Green Lane, former home of Thwaites and Reed.

Many things have changed in this historic centre of clock and watch making in London.

Google now states “popular with creative firms and dotted with smart apartment blocks in converted warehouses Clerkenwell is home to cutting-edge restaurants and cosy gastropubs”.

This was not always the way it was, indeed nor is it the way that I remember Clerkenwell, when I first ventured on the bus from Hackney Technical College, along Old Street on my first tool buying adventure to Clerkenwell. These two gentlemen have a depth of knowledge and memories that need to be recorded and added to for future generations.

I sincerely hope that we will be able to have a walking tour of the area in the coming weeks.

Duncan Greig

The meeting was held at The White Hart Barn in Godstone and made accessible via Zoom to those unable to attend.

2021 August Meeting

5th August 2021

Peter Gosnell

Joseph Ives and his Lever Spring Clocks

Peter Gosnell, who along with his and Beresford’s research into the British United Clock Co., has contributed talks to us in the past notably in June 2018, “Industrial Clock Manufacture in Birmingham Before 1885” and April 2019, “The Untold Story of British Jerome”.

Peter will be talking about Joseph Ives, the Connecticut clock manufacturer and his Lever Spring (sometimes called “Wagon Spring” ) clocks.

Circa 2000 Peter became a volunteer member of staff under Jonathan Betts at what was then called The Old Observatory, Greenwich. By association, this gave him access to some examples of Lever Spring clocks in both public and private collections in the UK. Between the years 2001 – 2008 further research on Lever Spring clocks was undertaken during Peter’s yearly visits to America when once again access to rarer clock examples was forthcoming.

In 1847 Silas B. Terry, the youngest clock making son of Eli Terry, invented a process for hardening and tempering high carbon steel to make coil springs suitable for driving clock movements. Before this in England and Europe, the process had been a closely guarded secret giving them monopoly of supply to American clock makers. Prior to 1847 there had been two alternatives devised in Bristol, Connecticut to the use of these expensive imported steel coil springs.

One developed by Joseph Ives’s nephew, Joseph Shaylor Ives in 1836, used brass instead of steel to make the coil springs. The other solution developed by Joseph Ives himself from 1817 until 1859 made use of the leaf spring in conjunction with an equalising device. This development of the lever spring by Joseph Ives will be the major focus of tonight’s talk.

The meeting was held at The White Hart Barn in Godstone and made accessible via Zoom to those unable to attend.

2021 July Meeting

1st July 2021

Keith Scobie-Youngs FBHI ACR

The Remarkable City Career of Aynsworth Thwaites

Due to the government’s plan to remove all legal limits on meetings and social gatherings being changed from the 21st of June to the 19th of July, Peter Gosnell’s talk which was scheduled for this meeting has been temporarily postponed. We are incredibly grateful to Keith Scobie-Youngs, director of the Cumbia Clock Company, who has agreed at the last minute to stand in on the Zoom platform for what we sincerely hope will be our last talk in Lockdown.

Many of you will remember Keith’s talk, at the Beresford Hutchinson Lecture 2019, on the Tower clocks of Hampton Court. Who can forget that double remontoire Gillet and Bland movement?

For the 1st July Zoom lecture he has agreed to enlighten us on The Remarkable City Career of Aynsworth Thwaites. Using the archive of the Clockmakers Library and personal experience working with turret clocks from the 1980s, Keith has pieced together the history of Aynsworth (1719 – 1794) father of John Thwaites who partnered with Jeremiah Reed to become Thwaites and Reed one of the most prolific makers of domestic and tower clocks in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Meeting held on line via Zoom.

2021 June Meeting

3rd June 2021

Seth Kennedy

Antiquarian Horologist

The South London Branch is delighted to welcome Seth Kennedy. Seth is an antiquarian horologist who specialises in working on antique pocket watches. He works on movements from the 17th to 20th century, restoring the movements of these vintage masterpieces and even restoring their cases. He often must make bespoke parts even complete cases.

He is an accredited member of the BHI who came to horology after redundancy in the mechanical engineering field. Mentored by Ray Bell, he cherishes a signed copy of The Watchmaker by George Daniels, former president of the South London branch. Seth has excelled in learning our craft even studying and learning the art of engine turning.

Meeting held on line via Zoom.

2021 May Meeting

6th May 2021

West Dean Students

Annual Presentations from four students.

The South London Branch is delighted to welcome back Malcolm Archer, Tutor, from West Dean.

He will give us a short introduction on how he has been coping with teaching horology to the students over the last year and then individually introduce four student presentations.

Titles of the presentations areas follows:

La Joueuse de Tympanon

By Emmanuelle Sibley

Professional development diploma

By Michael Martin

My first year at West Dean

By Sam Moss

An Early Digital clock ?

By Rebecca Hawkridge

Meeting held on line via Zoom.

2021 April Meeting

1st April 2021

A talk by Duncan Greig

“A trip across the pond”

Duncan Greig recounts a trip to America to set up Mr Coldwell’s masterpiece at the residence of   Mr Donald Saff, Maryland, in 1996.

“During lockdown tidying things up as we all have been doing, ! came across an old photograph album. This reminded me of how good Horology has been, not only meeting likeminded and interesting people but taking me to America on more than one occasion. I have contacted Donald Saff, current owner of Clock B, asking for permission to share with you photographs of the trip made to install Mr Caldwell’s Masterpiece.

This enormous clock I first came across reading Royer Collard’s book on Skeleton Clocks. The clock being built 1926 was the work of Mr George Caldwell of Holmfirth. My host was extremely kind, and we visited the home and workshops of Durward Center, Baltimore, where my horological appetite was fed some more. I hope to show you some unusual pieces of horology that many of us in the UK have not experienced.”

Meeting held on line via Zoom.

2021 February Meeting

4th February 2021

A talk by Alan White

The Trials and Tribulations of constructing a one wheeled clock

For our February zoom meeting The South London Branch welcomes our own Alan White.

Alan will be talking about the construction of his one-wheel clock, based upon a clock by Pierre Le Roy.

July 2013, we had a meeting entitled Clockmaking in Soho, Birmingham, given by David Hornsey. We learned of a one wheeled clock, patented by Dr William Small in 1773 which appealed to Alan’s love of the unusual. On a subsequent visit to the British Museum students’ room, in September 2013 curator Oliver Cooke, showed him the Leroy one wheel clock which became the inspiration for the clock he made and will talk of tonight. The journey was not without its trials and tribulations, which I hope he will share with us.

Alan has been a branch member for many years and has served on the committee for ten years. His main interest is the construction of new clocks, he is a retired Structural and Civil Engineer. His interest in Horology began back in 1973, newly qualified he decided to take the BHI evening course in Horology at Hackney Technical College, Mare Street. This facility sadly closed in the 1990’s, But this was where Alan studied a theoretical and practical three-year course consisting of three nights a week, inspiring his love of Horology.

Meeting held on line via Zoom.

2021 January Meeting

7th January 2021

A talk by Graham Morse

The restoration of three watches by ‘Messrs: Leroux, Roskell, Mudge & Dutton’.

The South London Branch is delighted to welcome back Graham Morse, from the Wessex branch who many of you will remember gave us a fantastic talk in February 2020. For those of you who have not attended the speaker’s previous talk hear is a brief resume of his involvement in horology in his own words.

“Before retiring from Xerox in 2013, I had been fascinated by horology since I bought, on a whim at a local auction some 30 years before, a French black marble mantel clock. After repairing it, and in the process being persuaded by a local clockmaker to join the BHI Wessex Branch, I progressed from these clocks, via a brief foray into wristwatches, to the world of English watches from the 18th and early 19th centuries. I think much of the attraction of this field for me lies in the largely handmade nature of these pieces and the complexity of the trade, comprising such a multiplicity of crafts, which produced them. The nature of their manufacture frequently gives rise to the necessity to make replacement parts from the raw materials, something I sometimes find challenging but always most rewarding.

My involvement with the Wessex Branch has deepened, from initially taking over the maintenance and running of our auction database software and its general administration, to now having been Chairman since Andrew James stood down in 2017, I’m also a member of the Antiquarian Horological Society, the Dorset Clocks Society and the NAWCC.

The Zoom presentation deals in some detail with the repair and restoration of three pocket watches.

1   A Quarter Repeater signed for John Leroux,

2   A Rack Lever signed for Robert Roskell,

3   A Cylinder signed for Thomas Mudge & William Dutton

Meeting held on line via Zoom.