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.”
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!!
Industrial Clock Manufacture in Birmingham Before 1885
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.
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:
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.
Due to the weather conditions tonight’s talk is cancelled. The doors will still be open and some horological video’s shown.
March 1, 2018
300 Years Ago. The Arrival of John Harrison’s Family in Barrow-upon-Humber
THIS EVENING ANDREW KING RETURNS TO TALK ABOUT A TIME OF JOHN HARRRISON’S LIFE THAT HAS NEVER BEEN CONSIDERED BEFORE….
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.
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.