Welcome to the AHS website

Clock by Thomas Barry, 1787

The Antiquarian Horological Society (AHS) is a learned society formed in 1953. It exists to promote the study of clocks and watches and the history of time measurement in all its forms. In order to achieve its aims the AHS holds meetings and publishes a quarterly journal Antiquarian Horology and various books.

 

The Journal:
Antiquarian Horology is sent quarterly to all members. Printed to the highest standards with many colour pages, each issue contains a variety of articles, the AHS programme, news, letters and high-quality advertising both trade and private. A complete collection of the journals is an invaluable store of horological information, the articles covering diverse subjects including many makers from the famous to obscure.
 


Meetings:
Meetings usually take the form of lectures, tours or visits to museums and collections. They provide members with the chance to encounter a wide range of horological subjects and to forge friendships and exchange information with like-minded people. Regional Section meetings are held throughout the UK, in Europe, and in North America. Two Specialist Groups exist to cater for those interested in electrical horology and turret clocks.

Society Meetings in London

There is always a good turn-out which shows that members appreciate the meetings both for their horological content and as social events; drinks and refreshments are provided.

Dates for your 2014 diary
London meetings are held at
The Royal Astronomical Society, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BQ.
5.30pm for 6.15pm

Saturday 17 May
AGM & One-Day Conference: At the National Maritime Museum 
More details here

Thursday, 17 July
LECTURE: 'The Faking of English Watches' by David Penney

Thursday, 18 September
LECTURE: 'Time Warped: Unlocking the Mysteries of Time Perception' by Claudia Hammond

Thursday, 20 November
LECTURE: 'Learning from the Artefact: the Marine Chronometers at Greenwich' by Jonathan Betts

The 2014 AHS London Lecture Series is supported by the kind co-sponsorship of Bonhams Clock Department and The Clockworks.

  


Publications:
Various publications of a specialist nature are produced, and many of these works are now regarded as standard reference works in their own particular field. They have included books on church, electrical and precision clocks, makers like Barraud, Dent, Arnold, Windmills and Frodsham and also regional clockmaking. Reprints of the early rare volumes of Antiquarian Horology are also available to Members at reduced prices, as well as off-prints of significant articles in Antiquarian Horology.


The Library:
The Society's Library is housed in the Guildhall, London, alongside the Clockmaker's Company library and museum. The extensive reference collection contains a complete run of the society's journal Antiquarian Horology in addition to many standard and unique titles gathered over the last fifty years. Members of the AHS may freely consult the library during normal working hours.


Exhibitions:
Since its inception in 1953 the Antiquarian Horological Society has regularly gathered together clocks in public exhibitions, not just for the benefit of its members but to fulfil one of its founding aims - that of promoting the study of clocks and watches and the history of time measurement in all its forms.


 


Study Tours:
The Society arranges study tours for its members, usually to countries within Europe, to engender a wider appreciation of their horological history.

 
 

Affiliations

New affiliation for the AHS

It is with great pleasure that Council can announce the AHS has formally affiliated with the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS), by means of a Memorandum of Understanding recently signed between the two institutions.

Founded in 1820, the RAS is a distinguished learned society that promotes the study of astronomy, solar-system science, geophysics and closely related branches of science (see www.ras.org.uk). Its handsome apartments in Burlington House, on London’s Piccadilly, have hosted many historic lectures in the field of timekeeping (including precision clocks, time distribution and longitude), and the two societies share a wide range of common interests. Other RAS affiliates include the British Sundial Society and the Society for the History of Astronomy.

The most immediate result of the affiliation for AHS members is the relocation of the London lecture series from Swedenborg House to Burlington House and a virtual tour of the building is available on the RAS website. Lectures now take place in the state-of-the-art lecture theatre, followed by drinks receptions in the magnificent double-height library.

In addition to the use of Burlington House, a number of reciprocal benefits have been agreed between the two institutions. AHS members now have access to the RAS library, and enjoy discounts on publications, advertising rates and use of RAS rooms. The two societies expect to support each other and on occasion run events of mutual interest.

This affiliation is an important step for the AHS as it seeks new ways to encourage the dissemination of its studies in the history of time measurement. Its reach and visibility outside its existing membership will be strengthened, situating the society in a growing network of member societies with common interests in the story of time.

Society Awards

Percy Dawson Award

The Percy Dawson Award is presented for the best article by an author new to the Journal, and for the year 2012 has been awarded to Steve and Darlah Thomas for their article 'William Leigh of Newton-le-Willows, Clockmaker 1736-1824', published in the March and June 2012 issues of Antiquarian Horology. The Percy Dawson Award, instituted in 1995 to encourage new authors, is open to all non-professional authors.

Dr. Alan Shenton Award

The Dr. Alan Shenton Award is made for the best article on horology in the period from 1840. For the year 2012, Council has awarded this to Peter Gosnell for his article 'An unmarked 8-day time and striking spring driven movement' published in the December 2012 issue of Antiquarian Horology.

Bursaries

As a charitable body, one of the objectives of the Society is the award of prizes and grants. The Society already supports the clock conservation and restoration courses run at West Dean College with the award of an annual cash prize for an exceptional project.

Additionally, and in view of the diminishing number of young people training as clock and watchmakers, the AHS has joined with the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers and the Ogden Trust to offer grants to full-time students in need, on the 3-year horology course at City of Birmingham University. In December 2011 the bursary was awarded to Martin Cleaton. Current recipients of the bursary, Jonathan Kelly and Matthew Porton, both passed their examinations in June 2011. The first recipient of the Society's grant was Robert Quinn, a student from Scotland, who successfully completed his course in June 2011. In 2012, the AHS agreed to award a bursary to allow West Dean graduate, Françoise Collanges, and tutor Matthew Read to undertake preliminary research into the production of clock movements generally referred to as Pendule de Paris.

AHS Prizes

As part of its charitable work, the AHS supports education, conservation and historical research through a series of bursaries, prizes and awards.

For several years, this has included a successful bursary scheme offered to students on Birmingham City University’s horology degree course. However, recent changes in higher education funding, combined with new alternative sources of financial support for horology students, has led the AHS to refocus its funding for Birmingham students into a prize scheme, to be operated in parallel with the long-standing prize offered to West Dean College students.

The AHS Birmingham City University Prize and the AHS West Dean College Prize will each be awarded to students who produce an exceptional project combining both practical work and academic research. Written submissions must focus on one project and demonstrate a considered practical approach as well as a greater understanding of both the history and the practice of horological or allied arts that goes beyond rudimentary horological detail.

Eligible artefacts for study need not necessarily be clocks or watches so long as the submission clearly demonstrates a direct material or historical connection to horology and allied subjects and their contexts.

This is a competitive scheme. Prizes will only be awarded in those years when the AHS considers that an outstanding project has been produced, and a maximum of one prize will be awarded at each institution in any academic year.

Both AHS Prizes consist of five years membership of the AHS, a certificate, and an award of £1000. Details of prize-winning students’ work will be disseminated by the AHS. Applications by West Dean students should be made to Matthew Read by the end of June in any given year, while BCU students should submit their applications to Jeremy Hobbins by 25 April.

Conservation of the Oxford Fromanteel Clock

The AHS has supported the conservation of this fine clock by Ahasuerus Fromanteel which is part of the collection of the Museum of the History of Science at Oxford. The clock, dating from the early 1660s was part of a horological collection bequeathed to the Museum by Mr. Thomas George Barnett who died in 1935. The clock is an important example of the earliest type of English longcase clock incorporating a number of innovative features in both the movement and case design and, although it had been untouched for many years, it was in danger of deterioration. Funds for the conservation work were provided equally by the Antiquarian Horological Society and the fund for the Preservation of Industrial and Scientific Material (PRISM).

(Photographs by Richard Rowley, reproduced by courtesy of the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford University)

  • Join the AHS

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  • Elsewhere on the site...

    • New book:
      'English Clocks for the Eastern Markets' by Dr Ian White is now published and available to order. Details here.
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      All books and merchandise can now be purchased on line. Please see details of all our books and Journal back issues here.
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      Full details, and order on-line.
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    • Article from our Journal:
      A sample article from the current issue of Antiquarian Horology.
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    • Gift Ideas:
      As well as selling books, the Society also has gift items for sale.
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