2022 Annual Meeting

Time Travels

Held in the Leopold Muller Lecture Theatre at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London SE10 9NF, and online via Zoom, on Saturday 7 May 2022.

AHS members can watch recordings of the seven lectures here.

In 2016, talks at the AHS Annual Meeting revolved around the theme of ‘time on the move’. Topics included wristwatches, navigational timekeepers and mail-coach watches – it was the timekeeping technology that was on the move. For our 2022 Annual Meeting, we wanted to look at this the other way around, by considering how people themselves have travelled in the course of horology-related activity.

Joe Smith and Francis Brodie each shone a light on how making and maintaining networks of clocks have always relied on people who travel. This might be to build new clock installations on distant continents or to wind and service clocks in a local area or individual institution.

Robert Wren, accompanied by Ron Rose, offered a complementary take. When Robert wanted an insight into the history of London’s Clerkenwell district, he enlisted the support of Ron, whose memories of Clerkenwell’s past are rich in detail. Together, they travelled the area, remembering and recording as they went. A public walking tour followed, enabling others to share the experience.

Still on keeping the past alive through travel, Jane Desborough revealed what is involved in curating an international exhibition. Using the example of the Science Museum’s Ancient Greeks: Science and Wisdom exhibition, she considered the travelling that must take place behind the scenes to allow so many treasures to be assembled in one place. Jane Pedler, on the other hand, described the survey of horological memorials carried out by the Junior Warden of the Clockmakers Company each year.

The final talks in the programme examined how we can learn by travelling. Peter de Clercq set out a story that connected eighteenth-century travel journals with modern-day AHS Study Tours, while for Edward Gillin, the discovery of a nineteenth-century instrument for measuring terrestrial magnetism led him to rework a historic science expedition – in a maritime voyage from England to the southern coast of Africa.

Saturday 7 May 2022


10.00 Museum doors opened for in-person attendees. Registration with tea, coffee and biscuits.

10.30 Chair’s introduction

10.35 Joe Smith, Time on the map: public clockmaking across the globe

11.10 Francis Brodie, Still in demand: views from a twenty-first century clock-winder

11.45 Short break

11.55 Robert Wren with Ron Rose, Walking and remembering horological Clerkenwell

12.30 Jane Desborough, Curating Ancient Greek science

13.00 Lunch


14.00 Annual General Meeting, and presentation of awards by Patricia Fara


15.00 Jane Pedler, Memorials and motors: the Clockmakers’ Company annual survey

15.35 Peter de Clercq, Horology in eighteenth-century travel journals

16.10 Edward Gillin, Reworking a nineteenth-century magnetic expedition

16.40 Closing words.