2022 October Meeting

13th October 2022

MIKE BUNDOCK

JUBILEE CLOCK TOWERS

Duncan Grieg introduced us to Mike Bundock who gave us a talk on clock towers. Having spent thirty years researching and viewing many of the three hundred examples in Great Britain and the Isle of Man, he is the expert to give us a definition of his subject. A clock tower is free standing without any adjoining construction such as a bell tower.

In some cases, the Architectural and building costs were borne by dignitaries of the town or City, the largest contribution would be from the local MP and lesser amounts donated by the lower orders. There would be a public list of subscribers and the amount they contributed, such as in Weymouth. Many structures were financed by public donation, and where there was a financial shortfall, the Council would have to make good the deficit. The Council would often end up having to pay for the maintenance and the clock winder as there would be no method of automatic winding.

The conventional construction would be of brick with an outer skin of a local quality stone if there was a nearby quarry, or possibly a Scottish granite would have to be imported. Portland stone (as in Bexleyheath) was popular or even a quality brick might be acceptable. In Douglas, (Isle of Man) a clock tower was constructed of cast Iron which was delivered in sections and assembled on site. Much easier and less expensive than conventional methods.

There are examples of clock towers having to be moved in later years to give way to traffic demands as in Cricklewood, Cockermouth and Newbury. Clock towers were usually built to commemorate a major event such as the memorial to Prince Albert in Barnstable and Queen Victoria at Much Wenlock and Gravesend. There are war memorials to the dead as on the clock towers at Rainham, Studham and Nailsworth. Others celebrating the Royal weddings are located at Thirsk, Christchurch and Sittingbourne. There is a clock tower at Penrith financed by residents, recording the death of the son of Mr. Philip Musgrave the member of a private family.

Clock makers advertised their products and prices. Some of the names are familiar to us today, such as Gillett and Bland of Croydon and John Smith of Derby. These makers were particularly busy around the time of Queen Victoria’s Jubilee (5th February 1887).

The detail that Mike Bundock gave us of the many clock towers to which he referred was exceptional and the audience showed their appreciation with gusto as Duncan thanked Mike and presented him with …… guess what?

-Michael McDonnell.

2022 September Meeting

8th September 2022

BERESFORD HUTCHINSON LECTURE 2022 – “A TALE OF TWO WATCHES”.

VISCOUNT ALAN MIDLETON.

James Marten welcomed Viscount Midleton for the Beresford Hutchinson lecture of 2022. Alan kindly agreed to talk to us on two watches in his possession. With his Conan Doyle hat on, he recreates the early history of these watches using the evidence provided by the watches themselves.

The first pocket watch, 42mm diameter, has initials GF engraved on the back with a crown above which suggests royal provenance. Made by Recordon, Breguet’s London agent, who took out Patent 1249 for a pedometer wind mechanism. The dial, of this watch, retained with one screw from the front, similar to the continental practice by Breguet, and the seconds dial was set between 4 and 5 o’clock. This watch has a mono-metallic balance but use a compensation curb rather than bi-metallic balances which, while not exactly unusual, is perhaps less usual in English watches. It has a dumb repeating mechanism with a continental type of plunger through the pendant. Alan put forward the evidence to suggest that the Prince Regent had a hand in the ownership of the watch and may have gifted it to Beau Brummel or Lord Paget.

The second watch dated similarly 1808 also by Recordon London was large, 60mm. Breguet style hands, with no second’s dial or front dial retaining screw, wound through the dial, as with continental watches and a gold ring surrounding the winding hole to protect the enamel dial. Alan noted it to have a loud repeat mechanism. On the back there is the Coat of Arms of the Paget family and in Alans opinion the watch almost certainly belonged to the head of this family, the 2nd Earl of Uxbridge. who lost a leg at the Battle of Waterloo and was subsequently created Marquess of Anglesey. This watch had a ruby cylinder escapement, a mono-metallic balance but also used a bimetallic compensation curb, and a press button to release the spring-loaded cap being a continental practice.

There is a Breguet which was for the Prince of Wales with Prince Wales feathers the initials GP (George Principal), engraved beneath. Breguet kept meticulous records unfortunately Recordon business records have not survived but we assume they as detailed as Breguet’s or the Vulliamy’s held at the BHI Library in Upton Hall.

Alan showed references to a Vulliamy watch, the seconds dial at 3 o’clock, which was NOT listed in the workbook records and a watch by Rentzsch, the dial was damaged and held in by two screws through the dial face and had unusual hands pointing at Arabic numerals. The Minute dial was located at top centre. The larger central hand indicating the hour. The back cover of this watch is engraved belonged to Queen Charlotte the gift of the four princesses to Herbert Taylor January 1819 so it is not impossible that first watch was gifted by the Prince Regent.

During his lecture Viscount Midleton gave us much historical detail including that of George III, who supported Harrison in his fight with the board of Longitude. His eldest son the Prince of Wales, known as ‘Prinny’ was lazy dissolute and extravagant where his father was (when sane) inquisitive and industrious. The Viscount then spoke of the 1st Earl of Uxbridge who enjoyed a worthy rather than distinguished career as Lord Lieutenant of Anglesey and Staffordshire, Constable of Caernarfon Castle, Ranger of the forest of Snowden. South London branch members were treated to details of other luminaries such as the Duke of Wellington, the 2nd Earl of Uxbridge and the escapee Napoleon Bonaparte.
In conclusion Duncan thanked Viscount Midleton for a highly informative and detailed lecture covering the period. The members and guests showed their appreciation as Duncan presented him with a vintage bottle of clock oil.

For those of you not able to attend log in details will be sent in a separate email. Please log in from 19:40 .

The meeting will be held at The White Hart Barn in Godstone.

THE WHITE HART BARN (Godstone Village Hall)

GODSTONE

SURREY RH9 8DU

7.30pm for 8.00pm Start

2022 August Meeting

11th August 2022

“How the watch was worn”.

Chris McKay FBHI

The Watch and how it was worn is a photographic study making use of postcards, cabinet cards, etc., pictorially illustrating how the watch evolved around the people wearing them. 1860-1930″.

Aged 11 Chris started to take alarm clocks apart and by age 13 had learnt to put them back together again! At the age of 19 he worked on his first Turret Clock and has been fascinated by horology ever since.

He graduated as an electronic engineer from Sussex University and achieved Chartered Engineer status when he was 29. After a career in electronics for 12 years he taught Design and Technology in secondary school and then turned to clock work. Chris is a professional member of the British Horological Institute and runs technical courses on turret clocks for the BHI, and new apprentices.

A regular contributor to the HJ Chris has provided both articles and authoritative book reviews. He is a prolific author and contributor to the horological world.

Chris is always a speaker not to be missed.

-Duncan Greig

Doors open at 19:30, Starting 20.00 hours.

For those of you not able to attend log in details will be sent in a separate email. Please log in from 19:40 .

The meeting will be held at The White Hart Barn in Godstone.

THE WHITE HART BARN (Godstone Village Hall)

GODSTONE

SURREY RH9 8DU

7.30pm for 8.00pm Start

2022 July Meeting

14th July 2022

Chris Papworth MBHI.

A history of clockmaking in Essex

Chris Papworth has been working in the horological industry for over 50 years. Along with his wife, he runs his own business, Kelvedon clocks in the High Street, Kelvedon, Essex. He is a director and past chairman the British Watch and Clockmakers Guild. Chris has experience and a wide variety of contacts throughout the trade. Working with clocks as long as he, has brought him into contact with many horological items from his native county. This has enabled him to compile a history of clockmaking in Essex. It will be interesting to learn from him which clocks or watches he would choose to collect himself.

-Duncan Greig

2022 June Meeting

9th June 2022

Ron Rose FBHI.

An evening with Ron Rose, James Cole, James Ferguson Cole and Thomas Cole.

Our chairman James Marten introduced our meeting with a brief silence remembering a long-standing member, Alan Turner, who sadly passed away on Wednesday 11th of May.

Please see Mike Barbers obituary of him in last month’s newsletter.

Dudley Withers of the Hand Engraver Association made us aware of their AGM and annual lecture which will take place 22nd of June 2022 at the Royal Academy of Arts. There will be examples of engraved dials, pocket watches and an English carriage clock. After the AGM the highlight of the evening will be a talk from renowned Dr Tessa Murdoch “Huguenots, Horology, and Engravers in London 1680 to 1760”. Sadly, not in time for publication of this newsletter but if any SLB members attend please let us know how it went.

Ron Rose

In Ron’s opinion the book by John Hawkins, “Thomas Cole and Victorian Clockmaking” put the Cole family on the map. The majority of clocks studied in this publication are in the Harris collection at Belmont. The two brothers James Ferguson Cole and Thomas Cole achieved greatness at young ages, 23 and 25. But where did this talent emanate from. Ron showing the family tree introduced us to James “conjurer” Cole, father of the two boys. Conjurer Cole was baptised 1762 Marrying Catherine Slocombe in 1792 who was 11 years younger.

In a book, “The Thristle Clockmakers of Somerset”, by Nial and Deborah Woodford Ron gratefully pointed out, this helped him with several dates and facts. In that book an extract from “Paupers and Pig Killers” a diary of William Holland, a Somerset Parson.

Friday, 20 November 1800. Walked to Stowey with my little boy, met my wife there. Went to Conjurer Coles as they call him. He is a clockmaker and an extraordinary genius but a Democrat from having too much religion has now none at all. He made wonderful clock for the Duke of Somerset that goes 12 months without winding up.

James made three, year-duration longcase clocks. one a full-size with perpetual calendar and musical, playing the tune once per day. One diminutive in size but also perpetual. The third one which Ron had been very instrumental in restoring to its former glory was recorded on video by his good friend Peter Elliott and we were able to go through this with Ron as he explained the intricacies of the layout of the dial, the shutters that operated the sunrise and sunset, the moon wheel, and the flyback perpetual calendar in the break arch. A complicated clock for the little-known Somerset clockmaker to produce circa 1795. The whole clock was not much taller 5 foot six and driven by a weight of 48 Lbs, raised with a ratcheting pumped arm. As with all these clocks the pumping arm drops out of the way when not in use, Ron pointed out if there were a spring the lever would be carried around with the gear train.

2022 May Meeting

12th May 2022

J E Allnutt & Son Ltd., Midhurst. Expanding the business and training apprentices

Geoff Allnutt MBHI. And two of his apprentices

The last 10 or more years we have enjoyed the company of many young horologists training at West Dean College. Unfortunately, this May, Malcolm Archer has suffered the Covid 19 virus and as a result has had to cancel our talk from the students. You are however welcome to see their presentations at the college on Saturday, 14 May.

I’m extremely grateful to Geoff Allnutt, for stepping in at the last minute, accompanied by two of his apprentices Jacob Russell, FBHI. And Patrick Woodward, MBHI.

Geoff, a watchmaker, started his career working alongside his father, John, when he was 14. At 16 he left Midhurst and studied horology in London for three years at Hackney Technical College passing the final grade of the British Horological Institute exams with merit in 1985. He then embarked on the famous WOSTEP (Watchmakers of Switzerland Training and Education Program) course in Neuchatel Switzerland studying under master watchmaker Antoine Simonin. Upon his return to the UK, he rejoined the family business and for the past thirty years he has successfully developed the vintage wristwatch restoration and sales side of the company. He is also one of two Programme Advisors for the Postgraduate Diploma Conservation of Clocks and Related Objects at West Dean College in West Sussex. He has already trained two apprentices to FBHI status and has also mentored a number of clock and watchmakers.

Jacob Russell. Watchmaker was the recipient of the Beresford Hutchinson prize in 2016. Geoff is delighted that Jacob Russell, his apprentice for the last 5 years has passed his British Horological Exams with Merit together with the highest mark for his portfolio; thus, becoming the youngest Fellow of the British Horological Institute in Britain.

Patrick Woodward. Watchmaker initially approached Geoff in November 2017, after reading an article about Jacob’s success in the local press. Geoff saw great potential in Patrick, and he offered him a full-time apprenticeship in watchmaking in April 2018.

Patrick has recently completed his apprenticeship of 4 years and qualified to become a Member of the British Horological Institute. He has been doing some most intricate work making a jewelled locking roller for a duplex and is also studying for FBHI Status.

Duncan Greig

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

May Auction

 The John Hatt  Auction

Saturday 21st May 2022 at:

The White Hart Barn

Godstone, RH9 8DU.

Auction starts 2: pm.

Viewing from 12: pm.

We are entrusted with Auctioning the late John Hatt’s effects.

This is the third auctions as this collection is vast. To include tools, lathes, parts, and equipment.

This is a private auction and is therefore only open to members of, the BHI, BHI Branches, West Dean College, students from the Birmingham school of Horology or Epping Forest Horology Centre. Please bring £3.00 registration fee plus proof of BHI or South London Branch membership to enable us to issue a bidding number.

Light refreshments (tea and coffee) will be available

More information on our website www.slbbhi.co.uk

2022 April Meeting

14th April 2022

Clockmaking in Guernsey, Surviving the Distance Learning Course

Ian Lihou

When Ron Rose organised courses for the South London Branch members at BHI Upton Hall, not only did we get to meet some of the best Tutors but other horologists, many of them starting out in their careers.  Meeting Ian at Paul Schroders course on Platform escapements was wonderful. A young man dedicated to traveling from Guernsey to Upton Hall in the pursuit of his career humbled me.

Ian was to be the recipient of the Beresford Hutchinson prize that year awarded from the South London Branch.

Very little was exchanged but friendship and advise until a mutual customer took delivery of his latest treasure and the opportunity to visit Ian’s workroom while waiting for the ferry in Guernsey took place.

Here was a great workroom of a young an enthusiastic recently qualified MBHI working as a full time Clockmaker in the Channel Islands. Most of his study had been achieved using the Distance Learning course and Ian was embarking on making his first clock. He has now completed his second commission, a 4-leg gravity escapment regulator.

The South London Branch welcomes Ian, one of our newest members to have joined during the last two years as he briefly touches on the history of the island, its significant clockmaker, and some of the work that has cross his bench over the last nine years, Warts, and all. The reality of working in isolation and as we all experience in horology, the knowledge that we are still learning, seeing something new.

Duncan Greig

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

2022 March Meeting

10th March 2022

Annual General Meeting

Following the AGM Barnaby Smith will give a presentation on Godstone Clock & Watchmakers

Barnaby is the Treasurer of the South London Branch and also a member of the Kent branch of the B.H. I. He is a liveryman of the clockmaker’s company, a life member of the A.H.S. and a former recipient of The Percy Dawson Award from the A.H.S. His talk will cover his recent efforts in researching information about clock & watchmakers in Godstone.

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

2022 February Meeting

10th February 2022

About time: a history of civilisation in 12 clocks.

David Rooney

Many members of the South London Branch will be very happy and pleased to welcome back David Rooney who has contributed many talks and lectures to our branch over the years.

David, here with a new book that has been occupying a lot of his time, is now a freelance researcher and writer. He is a council member for the Antiquarian Horological Society. Born and brought up in South Shields he has had a lifetime’s involvement in horology. His parents started their own horological business in 1982 converting parts of the family home into workshop and office when David was just a small boy. His mother, a researcher, did the accounts and managed the business and David can remember being taken to many properties where his father cared for their horological exhibits. Many of those people that his mother and father met still fondly remember the expertise that his parents lavished on their clocks.

So, it is no wonder that David would follow a career path inspired by their own. After working at the Science Museum as a technology curator, David was to become Curator of Timekeeping at the Royal Greenwich Observatory which is where many of us enjoyed hearing his story of the lady who sold time, Ruth Belville. David then left to work again at the Science Museum setting up the mathematical gallery and publishing his second book whilst being Curator of Time, Navigation and Transport. He has now turned freelance and collated a lot of the information that he has already researched along with further new stories taking the often-difficult task of putting pen to paper.

Crawford Market Clock Tower, Mumbai, which will feature in David’s talk

His new book “About time: a history of civilisation in 12 clocks”, a very catchy title, is published by Penguin books. This book tackles the history of the world, the history of us, how with time we have been controlled and politicised. How empires have been built. This is not a technical book on horology but how clocks and time has been used for centuries as a source of control, power, morality, and belief.

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