Clockmaking in East Grinstead – exhibition

In amongst the pile of flyers advertising fast food, double glazing etc. at SLBBHI towers this month was this horological gem and we thought it best to share.

East Grinstead Museum are holding an exhibition of local clockmaking, running from February 6th through to June 2nd, and you can download the PDF advertisement using the following link:

East Grinstead Museum exhibition flyer

Clockmaking in East Grinstead


January Meeting – The Greenwich time ball

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.


British Summer Time coming to a close

The hour that we put in the ‘bank’ last spring will be handed back to us at the end of the month.

To celebrate there will be a clock-related event at the foundling Museum in London. Please click on the images below to enlarge the leaflet and find out more.

On behalf of the late Messrs. Willet and Hudson, we hope that you enjoyed the extra hour of evening daylight this summer.








Stolen carriage clock

PCSO Lindy Hotze is requesting info on carriage clock stolen from an antiques shop in Dorking between Friday 7th-14th September. Please call 101 and quote ref:MV/12/3697 if you can help.

Here is the description:

French Gilt Brass Strike…

and Repeat Carriage Clock
Circa 1890
White enamel dial with black Roman numerals. Blued steel spear hands.
8-day movement with original bimetallic, compensated lever escapement; it is of top quality similar to a Soldano platform but not marked as such. This is a good quality movement, which is till fitted with Maltese Cross stopwork to the watch train barrel. It strikes and repeats the hours and strikes the half hours.
Lacquered gilt brass faux bamboo case. The gilding is clearly original and shows some signs of age.
Height 20.5cm handle up, width 12and depth 10cm

Beresford Hutchinson Library

Approx 450 unsold books from The Beresford Hutchinson Library will be put on Ebay in batch of approx 10 books at a time, in random order, from 8th Sept. 2012. They will be listed under the user name of 71elephant . A catalogue of the entire collection is available, whilst stocks last, at a small charge by emailing at

The Beresford Hutchinson memorial lecture

Thursday, 6th September 

The Beresford Hutchinson Commemorative Lecture 2012

‘The heart of the world’: Charlton, Greenwich and the global time network

David Rooney
‘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.

We want you!

It would be great to get some regular posts up here and we invite BHI members to become contributors. We aren’t looking for great literary works – just good horological chatter – maybe what you were doing in the shed this weekend (careful now), a clock/watch making project that you want to share or simply a problem that’s got you stumped.

It really isn’t difficult, no more so than sending an email.

If you would like to contribute please contact for log-in details




August meeting

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