The smallest clockmaker’s workshop in the world

This post was written by Peter de Clercq

What I like about museums is the same thing I like about public parks. You can go in and be happy without having to worry about costs, upkeep and security, as private collectors or garden owners have to.

What’s more: entrance to many of the best museums is free. Deciding to walk in and have a look is just as easy as taking that walk in the park.

There are many museums with historic clocks and watches, and those in Great Britain are listed on the AHS website. There are enough to keep you busy for a long while.

If you are in the City of London, for example to see St Paul’s Cathedral, why not also take a look in the nearby Clockmakers’ Museum at Guildhall. Gathered in one ground-floor gallery you will find the treasures assembled over the years by the honourable Worshipful Company of Clockmakers. It was established in 1631 and is still active, which makes it the oldest surviving horological institution in the world.

Among my favourite showcases is the one filled with horological curiosities [Fig 1]. The object at the bottom is a model of a clockmakers’ workshop [Fig 2]. It was made around 1930 by the London antique dealer Percy Webster, who was Master of the Clockmakers’ Company in 1926 – they have a new Master every year!

It is indeed a curiosity, as it is not known why it was made, nor what period he intended to represent. But it’s fun to kneel down and look at this horological equivalent of a doll’s house. The only thing missing is the miniature clockmaker himself.

Fig 2. The model of a clockmaker’s workshop.
Fig 1 The showcase with horological curiosities.
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