For our February meeting we welcome Dr Mike Flannery FBHI. Mike, well known for his regular “Bench View” column in the HJ will be turning his attention to the subject of clocks with wooden wheels. Mike was awarded a Winston Churchill Traveling Fellowship which saw him visiting the USA and Canada and later France, Germany, Austria and Switzerland during which time he researched the repair and conservation of wooden-wheeled clocks and related items. In his own words:
“Most of us, who have an interest in British Horology, are familiar with clocks made mainly from ferrous and non-ferrous materials. However we are also aware of the very few wooden wheeled clocks made by Harrison and yet very few others as far as we know, less than a handful of British makers have made wooden wheeled clocks that have survived. On the continent wooden frames for clocks were common as were clocks with wooden wheels. In the USA the concept and manufacture of wooden wheeled clocks was taken to a new level by Eli Terry and others. There are some staggering modern designs of clocks that use wood as the main material. During my talk I will try and link all this together, I have a small range of wooden clocks which I will bring with me to show, and a couple of clocks which have a mixture of wood and metals. “
Mike is a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers, a Fellow of the British Horological Institute, and an approved Institute of Conservation, Accredited Conservator-Restorer. He holds the West Dean College Diploma in the Conservation and Repair of Antique Clocks and The University of Sussex Post Graduate Diploma in Conservation. He also holds the City and Guilds of London Institute Full Technological Certificate.
For our first meeting of the New Year we welcome Mike Bundock MBHI.
Mike is an accountant by training and currently works as Managing Director for the European division of an American owned specialist furniture manufacturer.
Outside of work, Mike is Chairman of the Herne Bay Historical Records Society, an organisation he first joined in 1979. This was around the time that his interest in things mechanical led him to discover the BHI. Upon joining, he soon signed up for the Correspondence Course in Technical Horology, graduating in 1983. It was due to the exercise on public clocks within this course that led him to discover the Herne Bay Clock Tower. Mike’s interest in public timekeeping has developed from this modest beginning and over the past thirty plus years, he has been a member of the AHS Turret Clock Group, serving as Secretary and then later as Chairman for many years. Mike is currently Honorary Clocks Advisor to the Dioceses’ of Canterbury, Rochester and Chelmsford.
Mike’s interest in history led him to earn both a BA and an MA in the subject from the University of Kent as a mature student. Mike has authored several books on his local area and on public timekeeping, both subjects on which he speaks regularly. Mike is married to Nicola and they have two grown up daughters.
For those who like to do their homework Mike has written excellent articles for the HJ on the Herne Bay Turret Clock and the Margate Time Ball; May 2015 and August 2014 respectively.
Monthly branch meetings are normally held at the The White Hart Barn in Godstone
For our “George Daniels Lecture” we are pleased to welcome William Bottaci from the Croydon Astronomical Society.
We use time to plan, and also not to miss events. It can also be used for another important purpose, navigation.
There is a natural rhythm to our time, from the rotation of our planet and its journey around the Sun, which not only causes events but indicates them. This natural indication, mostly seen as the path (placement) of the Sun across the sky, can actually be used in reverse, to indicate where on Earth it is being observed; basically, if we know the time we know the place.
For practical purposes we require a refinement, and the Sun can only be used at specific moments, sunrise, sunset, and when highest in the sky. It stands to reason that the more ‘suns’ there are the more opportunities, and this brings us to the Moon, and the stars. The refinement extends to know just where the stars are, and when – we need both items of information – because the better we know these the more accurate our location. It only remains to have knowledge of this process, and a means to implement it. Welcome to Celestial Navigation and Time.
William became interested in astronomy just before secondary education, and its associated subjects of photography, navigation and time. Whilst large and expensive equipment was financially and technically out of reach it seemed that celestial navigation is something that is both understandable and feasible, hence the adopted interest as something immediately accessible.
This meeting will be a two stage event. Firstly there will be the AGM where you have the opportunity to find out the current state of branch affairs. There will be reports from the Chairman and Treasurer followed by any questions, and the election of the committee for the coming year.
Please remember to vote at the AGM you must be a member of both our Branch and the BHI at Upton Hall.
Now for our Star Turn!!
Alan White will be showing a video of how he made a fly cutter for wheel cutting and will be happy to answer questions about the process he followed.
Edmund Howard (1710-98) A Quaker Clockmaker in Chelsea
Dr James Nye
By sheer chance, James was alerted in the summer of 2016 to the existence of a manuscript autobiography, compiled in 1785, which has been widely used by historians but apparently escaped notice by horologists. It was written in the 1780s by a struggling Chelsea clockmaker, Edmund Howard—a maker virtually unrecorded in the horological literature, who nevertheless left us a remarkably detailed and rich account of his life. A Quaker, yet with few good words for his fellow Friends, Howard lived a long and fascinating life through the bulk of the eighteenth century. James has researched further contextual detail of Howard’s life, and attempted to recover details of his known clocks. He will present the fruits of that research for the first time, in anticipation of publication in Antiquarian Horology in the coming months.
Dr James Nye is Chairman of the AHS, and the founding sponsor of The Clockworks museum in West Norwood. He has had a lifelong interest in electrical horology, and has been Secretary of the AHS Electrical Horology Group for twenty years. He is a member of the Court of the Clockmakers’ Company, and is chairman of its Collections Committee. His book, A Long Time in Making (OUP: 2014) charts the history of Smiths Group.
Today, there is a growing appreciation of twentieth century mechanical clocks many of which are superb examples of industrialised production and have complex mechanisms which have proven to be long-lived and reliable. Examples of such clocks are still commonplace and may be found for as little as a few pounds with little wrong with them.
In 2004, two amateur horologists, John Glanville and Bill Wolmuth, embarked on a project to research the history of industrialised manufacture of domestic mechanical clocks in England & Wales in the twentieth century and to form a representative collection of such clocks for the British Museum. The project took ten years to complete and culminated in more than 250 clocks being collected for the Museum, to form what is now known as ‘The Glanville & Wolmuth Collection’, and the recent publication of an illustrated reference book on the subject.
As the majority of these clocks are not marked with the manufacturer’s name or trademark, people have previously found identifying the maker and history of most of them problematic. Fortunately, in undertaking research to form the collection for the Museum, Glanville and Wolmuth have established how to identify and date almost all such clocks.
In his lecture to the Branch, Bill Wolmuth will outline the research undertaken and discuss the company history and clocks of the more significant manufacturers, including The British United Clock Company; Clarion; Davall; Enfield; FW Elliott; Garrard; Gillett & Johnston; JJ Elliott; Newbridge Clocks; Norland; Perivale; Smiths; Tame Side Clocks; and Williamson.
For our May meeting we welcome Matthew Read 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.
Stephen “Why make tools on an FDA Clock making course?”
Eliott Pierre Leroy’s principles on accurate timekeeping following a description of “la Montre A”
Daniela Trialling microcontroller technology in dynamic heritage objects
Greg Swaged pivot holes in 18th century brass clock plates
Dale The role of culture on the development of clockmaking in Edo period Japan (1603 – 1867)
Matthew Packing for transportation – conservation materials and techniques
Please note the meeting is not at our normal venue but at The Endeavour Scouting Hall across the road
Monthly branch meetings are normally held at the The White Hart Barn in Godstone