2018 December meeting

6th December 2018

The Struthers First In House Movement

Dr Rebecca Struthers FBHI

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.



2018 November meeting

November 1, 2018

Branch Auction

The branch auction is one of the highlights of the calendar for many of our members. It is a chance to grab a bargain or make a bit of extra cash by selling those unwanted horological items.

This year we will be auctioning a member’s complete workshop along with items brought in by members. So why not dig out those horological treasures that have been lurking under the bench or in the back of the cupboard, you may be pleasantly surprised at how much they realise.

We can only cope with a maximum of 150 lots on the evening so entry must be based on a first come first served basis.

This is a private auction and is therefore only open to members of the BHI, Branch members and horology students from West Dean College. Please bring proof of membership to enable us to issue a bidding number.
Booking in will commence at 18:30 in the Lindley Room.

Viewing will commence in the main hall at 19:00. NO LOTS WILL BE TAKEN IN AFTER 19:45 to allow time for administration and for a prompt start at 20:15.

Payments up to £100 are required to be made in cash. By prior arrangement and agreement with the Treasurer we will accept cheques for total payments over £100.

No commission is charged to buyers. Sellers only pay £1.50 per lot entered. If you wish to set a reserve you must bid up to that price and collect your lot at the end of the evening if not sold.

We reserve the right to refuse any lots containing fluids / powders and the like that are not in secure & sealed containers.

Electrical / electronic items are sold with no guarantee as to their condition or safety. All such equipment should be checked by a suitably qualified electrician.

Full auction rules will be clearly displayed

2018 October meeting

4th October 2018

From the South London Branch Workshop

James Marten

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.

2018 September meeting

September 6, 2018

The Beresford Hutchinson Memorial Lecture

300 Years Ago. The Arrival of John Harrison’s Family in Barrow-upon- Humber

Andrew King

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.


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.

2018 August meeting

August 2, 2018

Learning from the Artefact

Jonathan Betts FBHI

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.”

2018 July meeting

July 5, 2018

Screw Threads

Sid Lines MBHI

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!!

2018 June meeting

June 7, 2018

Industrial Clock Manufacture in Birmingham Before 1885

Peter Gosnell

Our speaker, Peter Gosnell, is member of the AHS, The South London Branch of the BHI and the NAWCC. Peter’s specialist area of study is early industrialised clockmaking in England and America and he gave the first Beresford Hutchinson Commemorative Lecture to the South London Branch in 2007 on the British United Clock Company (BUCC hereafter). At just about the same time as this lecture Peter stumbled across an article, dated 1875, that described clock manufacture at Charles & Henry Cartwright’s Atlantic Clock Works in Birmingham. In tonight’s talk Peter will present his findings on the activities of C & H Cartwright, show their range of clocks and movements and will challenge the commonly held opinion that the BUCC were the first company to manufacture cheap factory-made clocks in this country. Peter will also offer an explanation as to why this important part of our horological heritage has remained hidden for so long.

Peter bought his first verge watch aged 17 years having been introduced to things horological by his father who had a good collection of the better sort of English clocks. Peter has attended practical clock and watch repair classes at Hackney College as well as with the late Beresford Hutchinson and Francis Brodie. Peter was a volunteer member of staff at the Old Royal Observatory Greenwich, under Jonathan Betts and was one of the team that wound John Harrison’s H1, H2 and H3. Peter has also been a member of the Research Committee of the NAWCC under the Chairmanship of Snowden Taylor. Just recently Peter has donated his representative collection of BUCC products as well as relevant research papers to the British Museum for future researchers, with this collection now being known as the ‘Peter Gosnell Collection’.

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.



2018 May meeting

May 3, 2018


Malcolm Archer FBHI

For our May meeting we welcome Malcolm Archer and his students from West Dean College. This annual 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.

The titles of the 4 talks are as follows:

1) Producing pinions to an historic profile
2) A replication of a marine chronometer helical balance spring
3) The development of the English brass industry (1568 – 1800)
4) Maintaining power and all that !

Please note the meeting is not at our normal venue but at:

The Endeavour Scouting Hall across the road

2018 April meeting

April 5, 2018

The Harrison Regulator

Ray Darnell

For our April lecture we are pleased to welcome Raymond Darnell MBHI to give a talk on the making of a Harrison clock. In his own words:

“I originally trained as an instrument artificer, but later as a computer engineer, working for ICI until 2000 when I was made redundant. Previously I had been repairing clocks as a hobby since about 1978 so decided to take the plunge and set up my own business repairing clocks for the trade. During my clock period, I started to take an interest in making clocks myself from scratch. Because of my background in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and computer engineering it seemed the natural progression to take an interest in CNC and in 2004 I made my first CNC machine and since then have made 4 others all with different abilities. These are all designed specifically for clock making. The reasons for me deciding to make the Harrison Clock will become clear during my talk.”

We are delighted to advise that Ray will be bringing the clock with him to illustrate his talk.

For those who like to do some “homework” before the meeting take a look at the website shown below.

Model Engineering Website



2018 April Open Day

British Horological Institute – South London Branch
Open Day – Saturday 14th April 2018
The South London Branch of the British Horological Institute held an open day on Saturday 14th April 2018. We welcomed over 300 visitors.
Branch Vice President Ron Rose said “the purpose of the day was to promote awareness of horology and the activities of the British Horological Institute in today’s world and show that there are still opportunities to develop a rewarding career in horology.”
The previous Open Day was held in 2016 and was also attended by several hundred members of the public with many spending several hours at the show participating in the activities. This years show was expanded to include three halls and includes representatives from organisations offering training and careers in horology.
The day will showcased:
Clocks and models built by BHI members.
Clock Case woodworking.
Interactive demonstrations with something to take away -cleaning, polishing, silvering, drilling, reaming
Working on the watchmakers lathe – balance staff turning.
Engine Turning.
Clockwork wheel cutting.
Association of Musical Box Collectors.
Turret Clocks – Cumbria Clock Co
Antiquarian Horological Society
Local Evening Classes
BHI short courses.
Epping Forest Horology Centre
West Dean College – conservation of clocks.
British School of Watchmaking.
Birmingham City University – Horology BA (Hons).
The Worshipful Company of Clockmakers.
Charles Frodsham and Co Ltd.
Selection of coffee table books for sale.
H S Walsh horology supplies – tools and clock parts.
Patric Capon and Paul Archard sales and repairs
Below are some images from our 2016 Open Day. 2018 Images to follow!

13 item(s)

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