MARION SMITH – Researching 18th and 19th Century Lewes Clockmakers.
Marion was born, and still lives in Lewes Sussex. She was first introduced to Lewes clockmakers when she visited the longcase clock exhibition convened by the late Michael Sautter, at the premises of Bill Bruce. The longterm storage of a longcase clock by John Holman of Lewes, belonging to her nephew, served as a perpetual reminder that there was some research to be done!
A Richard Comber clock dial showing his refined style – from www.invaluable.com
Marion is a retired psychologist, with a post graduate qualification in social science research methods. Local history research is somewhat different. But there was enough common ground to give her the impetus to launch into the local archives, assisted by access to the books and extensive knowledge provided by Bill Bruce.
The talk will follow the course of her research into 5 significant Lewes clockmakers; considering starting points, sources, recording information, overcoming confusion and maintaining the accuracy of research findings.
The talk was a fascinating and enjoyable journey through an often overlooked area of horological history with great clocks and amazing instruments.
CLOCKMAKING IN SOHO, BIRMINGHAM DAVID HORNSEA
Our Speaker will be David Hornsey from Frome in Somerset. David was trained in the scientific field of Biophysics and has a fine arts degree which he gained from studies at Southampton University. He then studied at the British Horological Institute’s course in Birmingham before taking his training further gaining a Diploma in antique clock restoration and conservation from West Dean College. He has an intense interest in Art and technological history.
The title of his talk will be “Clockmaking in Soho, Birmingham” and will focus on the horological history of the mid-18th century to the early 20th. Paying particular attention to the clockmaking of Mathew Boulton of Soho House and the Lunar Men who spearheaded the Industrial Revolution. David will illustrate the progression of 19th century clockmaking with workmen like John Haughton and W F Evans who made many of the elaborate architectural skeleton clocks of the second half of this period. He will also address some of his other research into this fascinating period of the horological history.
Clockmaking – Cornelia & George de Fossard
Cornelia and George de Fossard’s recently constructed miniature longcase clock appeared on the front cover of the February horological journal. Please join us as Cornelia and George take us on what promises to be a fascinating journey into modern-day clockmaking.
Cornelia served an apprenticeship to a carpenter and cabinet maker in Germany before heading to the UK to further her skills at West Dean college near Chichester. Now self-employed as a furniture restorer, she has an extensive range of of skills including carving, gilding and turning to mention just three.
George served a four year apprenticeship in mechanical engineering then went on to read Mechanical Design, Materials and Manufacture at the University of Nottingham. After a spell working in design engineering, he re-trained as a clockmaker at West Dean College.
George and Cornelia now run a business together based in Frome, Somerset specialising in the design and manufacture of fine quality handmade clocks. Cornelia also undertakes the conservation and restoration of early English furniture and clock cases.
Music Boxes and Automata – Ted Brown
Have you ever been fascinated by mechanical music automata or novelties?
It is most likely if you love clocks watches you will have come across such items either included in a musical clock or watch. Mechanical music has been celebrated and used long before the pendulum was introduced to horology.
Our speaker this month has taken his fascination for Mechanical Music boxes to a higher level. The highly respected Ted Brown has been collecting all of his life assembling a small museum of these Victorian artefacts. He will bring along a selection from his collection and talk to us on Music Boxes, Small Automata, and Novelties. Ted does not normally talk on his subject outside of his museum.
Following one of our visits last year, to a private collection of clocks music boxes and cars, Ted has offered to give us a guided tour of his collection at “The Victorian Music Room” later this year. Ted will discuss methods of restoration and repair and is happy to answer any technical questions we may have.
Our March meeting was somewhat of a break from the norm, with a series of practical demonstrations from a number of branch members. Thanks to the wonders of technology, the demonstrations were (almost entirely) projected onto a large screen for the audience’s convenience.
Maurice Fagg – a video demonstration of re-pivoting a watch pinion
Duncan Grieg – turning on the clockmakers’ throw
James Marten – using a clock mainspring winder
Ron Rose – using the piercing saw
Alan White – the construction and use of an electronic dividing tool
Our last meeting was given by Mr John Warner from Burgess Hill a member of the Sussex branch of the BHI and the AHS.
John comes from a chemical engineering background and lived in Rhodesia working for subsidiaries of Fisons and ICI. He served in both the Rhodesian Air Force and the Rhodesian Army against Robert Mugabe. Relocating to England in the 1980’s he has been a Company Director and a Management Consultant. He turned his horological interests from a hobby to a vocation and he is now a full-time watch and clock restorer. In association with Thwaites and Reed, has worked professionally on some very famous clocks.
The Greenwich Time Ball Douglas Bateman
The time ball talk will cover the invention of the ‘instantaneous signal’ by Captain Wauchope leading to its construction in 1833, followed over the years, by many modifications. Douglas will bring us up to date describing his installation of electronic control in 1991 and now with a radio controlled clock that gives automatic changes to summer time and back.
Douglas has been involved with precision timekeeping since building a regulator with photoelectric ‘escapement’ and circular error control. The led to the use of the time signals from Rugby and publication of articles about the clock and the importance of a term called Quality Factor, Q, which related accuracy to the property of the oscillator.
His current project is to write a comprehensive history of the Greenwich Time ball involving examining the Greenwich archives in Cambridge and The National Archives at Kew and elsewhere, and with assistance, examine more or less every detail of the current machinery.
Thursday, 6th September
The Beresford Hutchinson Commemorative Lecture 2012
‘The heart of the world’: Charlton, Greenwich and the global time network
‘What we are concerned with here is the fundamental interconnectedness of all things … the connections between causes and effects are often much more subtle and complex than we with our rough and ready understanding of the physical world might naturally suppose.’ Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.
David Rooney’s academic interests revolve around technological networks and their relationship with people. The interaction between humans and technology over long periods and wide geographical areas offers intriguing glimpses into the modern world.
In this commemorative lecture, David will examine aspects of horology in the local histories of two London districts, Charlton and Dollis Hill. He will then explore the impact these time-related industries had on global trade, politics and science in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
In doing so, he hopes to demonstrate the value of the Douglas Adams school of historical research for the particular case of horology.
2nd August 2012
Robin Thatcher FBHI
The Chronometer Section Royal Navy RGO Herstmonceux Castle Sussex 1948 to 1985
In his talk Robin shows us a short cine film (23 minutes) made of the chronometer section in 1968. Also showing work carried out to H3 and H4. He has slides by Bert West, 1952 to 1985 and slides of his own of a full strip down and cleaning of H3 H4 and K2 the bounty watch in 1976. This was work carried out prior to the exhibition for the Bi-Centenary of Harrison’s death.
Robin entered a five year apprenticeship at the age of 15 in Bexhill on Sea to Cyril Emary, the Omega and Rolex agents, who did a lot of work for the trade. He joined the RGO 1963 at the age of 22 and took the BHI correspondence course in 1964,1965 and 1966 gaining his FBHI in 1978. In his career he trained two apprentices and was charge hand in 1977 remaining at the RGO until it closed in 1985
Ex-RGO Buildings, Herstmonceux. Photographed by Paul B. Adams on 16/01/2004 From en:wiki