2015 August meeting

For our August meeting we welcome Ashley Strachan to talk to us about Japanese clocks and seasonal hours.
Ashley is secretary of the East of Scotland Branch and a Board Member of the BHI responsible for Finance and Membership development. In March 2014 he was appointed a trustee of the BHI Museum Trust.

Yagura Dokei with two foliots to show seasonal hours
Yagura Dokei with two foliots to show seasonal hours

Ashley’s interest in Japanese clocks was kindled back in 2011 when he visited the Matsumoto Clock Museum during his first holiday in Japan.
It was not until 1873 Japan adopted International Time. Prior to this a system of Temporal Time was used dividing the day into twelve segments, six periods of daylight and six periods of darkness. Any mechanical timepiece required some method of varying the length of the day and night periods according to the season. This led to the design of some complex and interesting clocks.
In case you were thinking the Temporal Time system is now obsolete Ashley has a Japanese temporal time clock on his iPhone!!
For those who like to do their homework Ashley has recently had two articles published in the HJ one in September 2014 – Japanese Clocks and in January 2015 – Japanese Ten Thousand Year Clock.

2015 June meeting

John Arnold – From Watch to Chronometer

Presented by Paul Tuck

Paul, a Livery member of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers, graduated from Hackney Technical College.

Paul is a long standing restorer of nineteenth century Swiss musical boxes having repaired hundreds of instruments over the last forty years or so.

Paul has previously written articles for and given lectures to the Antiquarian Horological Society.

This talk on the life and inventions of John Arnold is one not to be missed.

At a recent sale at Bonhams a John Arnold Chronometer sold for £27,500!!

Please remember we are back at our usual Village Hall location.

2015 March Auction

28 March Auction

The South London Branch Auction, 28th March 2015.

To be held at The White Hart Barn, Godstone, RH9 8DU.

The hall opens for viewing at 11.00 and the auction will commence at 13.30. Tea and coffee
will be available. There are cafés and pubs within walking distance of the White Hart Barn.

This is a private auction and is therefore only open to members of the BHI (including Branch members) and horology students from West Dean College. Please bring proof of membership to enable us to issue a bidding number. Non members may join the South London Branch of the BHI at our normal annual membership rate prior to the auction.

  • There will be a £3 registration fee.
  • Payments up to one hundred pounds to be made in cash.
  • By prior arrangement and agreement from the treasurer we will accept
    cheques for total purchases of over one hundred pounds. Please bring
    proof of identification, including address, on the day.
  • The items shown in the photos are a selection of what is on offer and are not necessarily shown as being in any particular lot.
  • Please see our Auction Conditions.

Auction conditions – sale March 28 2015

All enquiries to the South London Branch – slbbhi@uwclub.net

Please click on the thumbnails to view images.

26 item(s)

2015 April meeting

2nd April 2015

The History of Metals and its Influence on Clock Development

Chris McKay FBHI

How much do we know about the metals we use everyday

Chris will start with the history of how Iron, Steel, Zinc and Brass were commercially produced over the centuries. Starting in 1386 the supposed date of the Salisbury Cathedral Clock to 1900 when social and economic conditions determined a downturn in clock production.



With the metallurgical history established Chris will then go on to chart the development of clock production identifying marker points in horology that can be attributed to the metals available. Domestic as well as Turret Clocks will be considered.

bloom out of furnace

Bloom out of the furnace

Looking to the future Chris will speculate on the discoveries that may be made using the bewildering array of tools and techniques available today.

Chris, a Chartered Electronics Engineer is Chairman of the Dorset Clock Society and a prolific author. His books “The Turret Clock Keeper’s Handbook” and “Big Ben – The Great Clock and the Bells at the Palace of Westminster” are seen as the definitive works on these subjects.


A regular contributor to the HJ Chris has provided both articles and authoritative book reviews. Risking the attention of every Health & Safety Officer in the land the November 2013 issue covered working with molten lead in a practical and safe way for the clock enthusiast.

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.

This is a talk not to be missed!

2015 March meeting

Swarf on my Mouse Mat – John Downie

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

John Downie who is a member of the Sussex Branch of the BHI is a retired university lecturer 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!!

2015 March auction preview

Details to follow

26 item(s)

2015 February meeting

Owen Gilchrist

The meeting on the 5th of February will be back in our usual White Hart Barn Godstone and we are delighted to welcome the renowned horologist Mr Owen Gilchrist from the Bristol branch. Owen will be traveling complete with bench and his family to demonstrate, under the bright lights of a video projector. Owen will demonstrate assembly of the Smiths iconic calibre 1215 watch. This was one of two manufacturer’s watches that Sir Edmund Hillary wore to the summit of Everest.

Owen who studied at the Manchester BHI College alongside Roger Smith and others, will explain to us as he gives his demonstration, the history of this British timepiece. Conceived at the time of the Second World War and developed after it, the watch remained in production until the 1970s. Owen will bring an example of the early watch.

Owen will have watches for demonstration which are for sale and a number of other items, including books that would be of interest to the discerning horologist so come prepared.