April Meeting

April 5, 2018

The Harrison Regulator

Ray Darnell

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.

Model Engineering Website



March meeting

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

Andrew King


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.


February meeting

February 1, 2018

Conservation of Clocks with Wooden Wheels

Dr Mike Flannery FBHI ACR

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.

A meeting not to be missed!

Swedish WW Clock
American WW Clock

January meeting

 January 4, 2018

The Herne Bay Turret Clock & Margate Time Ball

Mike Bundock MBHI

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


(Godstone Village Hall)



7.30 pm for 8.00 pm Start

December 7, 2017

Celestial Navigation and Time

William Bottaci

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.


November 2, 2017

November 2, 2017

Branch Auction

The branch auction is one of the highlights of the calendar for many of our members. It is a chance to grab a bargain or make a bit of extra cash by selling those unwanted horological items.

There is always something for everyone at this event, so why not dig out those horological treasures that have been lurking under the bench or in the back of the cupboard, you may be pleasantly surprised at how much they realise.

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.

Booking in will commence at 18:30 in the Lindley Room.

Viewing will commence in the main hall at 19:00. NO LOTS WILL BE TAKEN IN AFTER 19:45 to allow time for administration and for a prompt start at 20:15.

Payments up to £100 are required to be made in cash. By prior arrangement and agreement with the Treasurer we will accept cheques for total payments over £100.

No commission is charged to buyers. Sellers only pay £1.50 per lot entered. If you wish to set a reserve you must bid up to that price and collect your lot at the end of the evening if not sold.

We reserve the right to refuse any lots containing fluids / powders and the like that are not in secure & sealed containers.

Electrical / electronic items are sold with no guarantee as to their condition or safety. All such equipment should be checked by a suitably qualified electrician.

Full auction rules will be clearly displayed


Monthly branch meetings are normally held at the The White Hart Barn in Godstone


(Godstone Village Hall)



7.30 pm for 8.00 pm Start

October 5 meeting

AGM followed by a talk from our own Alan White

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.



September 7 meeting

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.





August 3, 2017

20th Century domestic clocks of England and Wales

Bill Wolmuth

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.

July 6, 2017


Anna Rolls

In a change to our published programme we are very pleased to welcome Anna Rolls from the Royal Observatory Greenwich.

Anna works as a conservator at Greenwich, home to one of the best known time balls of all. The subject of recent conservation work it is now working again but further work is planned. While exploring its history, Anna will also focus on a wide variety of challenges that are faced. For example the time ball has both internal and external parts–the latter having to face the elements–and like any horological object it is expected to endure endless repeated operations. Beyond service issues, there is the unique challenge of existing within an institution, where many different people may play a part. The everyday operation of an object can be influenced by the programme of work of several different departments.

This talk promises to give a “behind the scenes” view of conservation activities that the public do not get to hear about!

As with the June meeting there will be a small selection of wristwatches offered for sale by auction along with a selection reasonably priced horological books. The six watches are shown below.

6 item(s)

Monthly branch meetings are normally held at the The White Hart Barn in Godstone


(Godstone Village Hall)



7.30 pm for 8.00 pm Start