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

Previous Meeting July

Peter Watkinson

The Tail of Two Cities & The Rode to Ruin

Join the distinguished turret clock specialist, Peter Watkinson FBHI, to hear about the making of two extraordinary exhibition tower clocks and the challenging restoration, automatic winding and re-siting of a third.
Peter studied horology at Hackney technical college in the early seventies and for a number of years was foreman at Gillett and Johnston.  Today he works  as an independent  maker and conservator of turret clocks.
Peter will be discussing the challenges that he faced making these two clocks, the methods that he used in to overcome the difficulties of clock making on a larger scale and the perils of letting one’s enthusiasm get the upper hand! Peter will also be discussing work on a third clock and will be revealing whether or not the ‘Rode’ led to ruin.

Previous meeting

Thursday 7th June Oliver Cooke
The Life and Times of Edward East.
Oliver Cooke studied the conservation and restoration of antique clocks at West Dean College, West Sussex, between 2005 and 2007. He became an assistant curator in the Horological Section of the British Museum in 2007 and has been a curator of horology since 2008.
Edward East was one of the most successful clock and watchmakers of the seventeenth centaury he was watchmaker to Charles the first. He was twice master of the Clockmakers Company 1645 & 1652.  That he lived to the age of at least 90 and through some of the most significant events to our history, Cromwell and the Civil War, Plague, and the Great Fire of London must have had effects to his horological business. Oliver has studied many of the clocks and watches that have been found to date and shared with us the knowledge he has gained of this little researched master clockmaker.