Northern Section

To be held at Trinity Methodist Church, Trinity Road, Sale, Cheshire, M33 3ED at 7.30pm, unless otherwise stated

Friday 9 December 2022

Christmas Social: With Theme of Horological Ephemera


Friday 13 January 2023

AGM and short video presentations


Friday 10 February 2023

Club Night: Wartime Horology


Friday 10 March 2023

Members short lectures


Full Programme for 2022 (PDF download, updated 12 July)


Recent Meetings

Meeting reports for previous years: 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017

Life as an ecclesiastical contractor (November 2022)

Our speaker for the November meeting was Phil Irvine who told us about his life as an ecclesiastical contractor. Phil is well known for his breadth of knowledge of and work with turret clocks, but over the years he has completed many outstanding projects which do not involve horology.

Phil has black and whitesmithing along with an affinity for wood as well as metals in his DNA. This came from working with his father and grandfather on bells and bell frames, sometimes making the most intricate repairs which had to withstand the force of several swinging bells. Whilst still a teenager, his father suggested he make an offer for the Clowes Brothers turret clock which had been ripped out of the Kirkdale Industrial School during its demolition. He has had this magnificent clock for sixty years.

As his knowledge and experience grew, his main focus was caring for church bells and increasingly, their clocks. In doing so, other opportunities arose where Phil’s keen problem-solving abilities and artistic flair came into play. He showed us images of fine chandeliers, a cathedral cross, candlesticks and many other items which he had repaired or created anew for cathedrals, abbeys and English Heritage. One outstanding project had been the recreation of two pairs of fine brass floor standing chapel candlesticks which had been destroyed by fire. Such was the quality of the results, he was invited to apply for membership of the Artworkers’ Guild. This led to membership and many more opportunities for heritage work to the highest standards at home and overseas. As Phil was limited in the time available for his talk he was only able to show a small number of these wonderful projects; his audience were amazed by what they had seen and heard and thanked him with enthusiastic applause.

Current Projects (October 2022)

A number of members brought news or evidence of current horological projects they are undertaking.

  1. Progress of replicas of the Harrison regulator owned by the Royal Astronomical Society. Photographs were shown of the mahogany case which has been made recently and there was some discussion on the merits of non-reflective glass v. clear Perspex for the glazing. (No image)
  2. The same member also showed a partly finished replica of the Tekippe simple regulator. This month going clock had only three wheels (minute, half hour and hour) and ran on just a five pound weight.
  3. The spring clock made by the late Roger Simpson while on the horological course at Northampton College in the 1950s was driven by a Tensor spring. It requires a new case so various options were discussed.
  4. Jim Arnfield and Phil Irvine updated us on the Time Ball Project at Prescot. This is nearing completion. Its lifting apparatus designed by Jim and made by Phil is currently under test.
  5. A research project on double framed clocks was briefly described by one member who showed photos of two unusual examples – at Haslingden, Lancashire by Titus Bancroft (1831) and at Carleton in Craven, Yorkshire by William (Billy) Cryer (1833).
Oct 2022 - 1 The Tekippe simple regulator xx.jpg
The Tekippe simple regulator
Oct 2022 - 2 Simpson group 3.jpg
Roger Simpson’s clock showing: - 1. the dial - 2. the movement from the side showing the Tensor spring - 3. rear view of the spring and barrels
Oct 2022 - 3 John Johnson of Prescot.jpg
The turret clock made in 1820 by John Johnson of Prescot. This will drive a lever to raise the timeball
Oct 2022 - 4 Titus Bancroft at Haslingden xx.jpg
The clock at Haslingden made by Titus Bancroft in 1831. It closely resembles the clock by Henry Hindley at Wallington Hall, dated 1760
Oct 2022 - 5 William Cryer Carleton in Craven xx.jpg
The highly unusual clock by William Cryer at Carleton in Craven, Yorkshire. It was first started on 22 November 1833

Timekeeping in the early days of commercial television (September 2022)

Jim Arnfield gave a fascinating talk on the need for very accurate timekeeping in live broadcasts in the early days of commercial television. Jim worked in the outside broadcast (OB) vehicles and was involved in their redesign as new technologies came into play. Originally, programme production was timed by Heuer stop watches which were set to the Speaking Clock just before the start of each programme. Jim talked us through some of the changes which came later as timekeeping requirements and technologies changed.

Sept 2022 - 1 ABC outside broadcast unit (OB3) in 1958.JPG
ABC outside broadcast unit (OB3) in 1958
Sept 2022 - 2 Marconi Mk 3 TV camera on an ABC TV links van with microwave link for live roving shots..JPG
Marconi Mk 3 TV camera on an ABC TV links van with microwave link for live roving shots
Sept 2022 - 3 Production desk in the first YTV colour unit with a Secticon clock as supplied by Marconi..JPG
Production desk in the first YTV colour unit with a Secticon clock as supplied by Marconi
Sept 2022 - 4 T&N master clock fixed to a concrete pillar in the master control room in YTV. (1968).JPG
T&N master clock fixed to a concrete pillar in the master control room in YTV. (1968)
Sept 2022 - 5 The 6 pip controlled T&N master clock as installed in the master control room in YTV (1968).JPG
The 6 pip controlled T&N master clock as installed in the master control room in YTV (1968)

Industrial Timekeeping (July 2022)

Many, many items illustrating this subject were assembled for discussion. They included: watchman’s clocks, event timers, time recorders, pocket watches, a mystery item and a domestic clock modelled as a steam hammer. A selection of items is included below.

July 22 - 1 watchman.jpg
A watchman’s clock by Smiths complete with its set of keys, spare paper tape, leather carrying case and box. It printed onto a tape to record each ‘station’ visited by the watchman in red ink and the time in black. Fraudulent use was indicated by a punched hole in the tape.
July 22 - 2 Burk clock.jpg
A ¾ second master clock/event timer manufactured by Burk of Germany but marked Voco. The Burk company was founded in 1855, but this clock is from the period following its introduction of industrial master clocks and time systems in the 1920s. It is powered by a falling weight which is continually rewound by a small synchronous motor. Its purpose was as a programmer using the 7.5inch program dial to activate bells or hooters via pegs attached around its periphery.
July 22 - 3 Churchill watch.jpg
Pocket watch signed ‘Charles Churchill, Manchester, Swiss made’. This chronograph has production per hour calibration marked around the outer edge of the dial. Churchill’s main business was in importing machine tools mainly from the USA. The movement has been re-cased by the present owner.
July 22 - 4a and 4b steam hammer x.jpg
A timepiece modelled on one by André Romain Guilmet in the form of a steam hammer. This was of particular local interest to members as the steam hammer was invented by James Nasmyth and first manufactured at Patricroft just six miles from our meeting place. Left: The Steam Hammer clock. Right: A disused steam hammer.
July 22 - 5 mystery object.jpg
A mystery object. What was it designed to record? The upper dial is for seconds and the lower for minutes. Two electrical contacts are visible in this view.

Watches and clocks associated with Liverpool. (June 2022)

Liverpool’s important place in watch and clockmaking spanned the eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. As the city’s horological history is held in such affection by our members, there was a wide variety of items on display for discussion. Representatives of each type will be included here, ie longcases, table clocks, chronometers and watches.

June 22 - 1 Walley.jpg
Fourteen inch Longcase clock dial signed ‘Walley Leverpool’. This is very similar in both date and attribution to another dial and movement on display at World Museum, Liverpool which is dated 1725 and attributed to Richard Walley.
June 22 - 2 Penlington.jpg
A large and impressive table clock, probably for a boardroom, in a heavily carved walnut case was signed ‘Penlington, Liverpool’. It has an unusual engraved and gilded dial centre with gilt and blue enamel spandrels. It has three bells: two for ting tang quarters and a larger one for the strike.
June 22 - 4 Hornby.jpg
Chronometers. The first signed ‘Richard Hornby’ number 324 was thought to date to c.1840.
June 22 - 5 Bruce.jpg
Chronometers. The second was signed’ John Bruce & Sons’. Its movement was well marked with: JD Taylor of Prescot on the frame, and George Cotton 20 September 1896 on a scrap of broken mainspring which effectively dates the instrument. Its number 6024 indicates that it was made by Thomas Mercer and supplied to John Bruce & Sons.
June 22 - Doke watche.jpg
Patent lever pocket watch movement signed ‘Richard Doke, Liverpool’, number 3299. Its cap is marked WB for William Bennett.

Horology connected with transport (May 2022)

May 22 - 1 Vogel.jpg
1 A large and heavy silver and tortoiseshell four train coach watch with alarm and pull repeat made in Augsburg c. 1750 by Thomas Vogel.
May 22 - 2 Rimbault case parts.jpg
2 The highly decorated case of another similarly sized coach watch signed, ‘Paul Rimbault, Denmark Street, Soho, London’; the movement to fit this case has yet to be found.
May 22 - 3 carriage.jpg
3 A French brass carriage clock complete with its carrying case and detachable ‘door’ for viewing whilst travelling had no maker’s name making dating it difficult.
May 22 - 4 gun clock.jpg
4 Elgin gun camera clock
May 22 - 5 Dutch Naval.jpg
5 Dutch naval chronometer by Seiko. Has large quartz rod with a synchronous motor to drive the hands. Has battery level indicator. This model was used to time track events at the Tokyo Olympics, 1964.

World Horology excluding UK., USA., France, Germany and Switzerland (April 2022)

Clocks and watches made in the following countries were brought to the meeting for discussion: Austria, China, Czech Republic, Japan and Russia. A selection of those displayed is illustrated below.

April 22-1 Eagle clock.jpg
Three train double-headed Eagle Clock made in Vienna around 1810.
April 22-2 Tourbillon.jpg
An automatic Chinese tourbillon wristwatch signed by Shitongwang. Several other Chinese tourbillon watches shown at the meeting launched by the BHI, appeared to have been made by the same maker.
April 22-3 Vostock Almaz.jpg
The Vostock Almaz Space Station automatic wristwatch.
April 22-4 Gakken double foliot.jpg
Gakken double-foliot clock kit of an Edo period clock purchased as a souvenir by a member while on a visit to Japan. Its escapement is reminiscent of those on the European clocks carried by Dutch traders and seen in Japan prior to its isolation during the Edo period (1603-1868). The clock uses the Japanese system of unequal hours to display the time.
April 22-5 George Daniels.jpg
Although outside the geographical area of the meeting’s theme, a watch made by Omega in their 'de Ville' series which has great significance in the history of watchmaking was displayed. It was made by Omega and was the first watch in the world made with George Daniels’ co-axial escapement (1999). The image shows the rose gold version and its accompanying paperwork which was signed by George Daniels at the watch’s launch ceremony.

Bring and Discuss Letter ‘W’ (March 2022)

An abundance of items was displayed for discussion including a large number of watches for both pocket and wrist. They ranged from a 1730s silver pocket watch by William Wynn of London to items made recently. Waltham watches of both types were well represented along with a Waterbury long-wind pocket watch and an Incaflex wristwatch by Paul Wyler. We even learned of an intriguing link between watches and washing! This was a clever marketing campaign by Sunlight and Lifebuoy Soap whereby customers who collected sufficient soap wrappers could exchange them for a watch, a bicycle or other ‘prizes’.

March 22-1 William Wynn.jpg
1730s pocket watch by William Wynn who was registered ‘at the Baker’s, adjacent to St Bride’s Church, Bride Lane, Fleet Street.’ The watch is numbered 29 and was thought to have been the maker’s own watch.
March  22-2 Levers advert.jpg
An 1897 postcard describing prizes, including pocket watches, given in exchange for soap wrappers. Many watches were purchased from Waltham and later the Lancashire Watch Company for this purpose.
March 22-3 waiting train.jpg
A Gents of Leicester waiting train movement which drove four six foot dials. The current owner has it set up and running at home.
March 22-4 Wyler incaflex.jpg
A shockproof ‘Incaflex’ automatic wristwatch by Paul Wyler. In a marketing campaign some were dropped from aeroplanes and some from the top of the Eiffel Tower and were still working when retrieved!
March 22-5 wartime Omega.JPG
The final watch was a rare ‘wartime’ RAF issue Omega wristwatch dated 1943 with die cast case and stainless-steel back.

Skeleton clocks and watches (February 2022)

The topic attracted a large number of items for discussion; all but two were clocks. They represent four centuries, ie the eighteenth, nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries. See some of the items below.

February 22-3 Older skeletons.jpg
Three items of different ages: 1. Small tri-gold skeleton pocket watch by Ignatz Ernst of Augsburg, made c. 1780. 2. Mid nineteenth century anonymous skeleton converted to grasshopper escapement. 3. Double drop pulley with skeletonised wheels, made in the style of Joseph Finney, made for Harrison’s sea clock replica. (Twenty-first century)
February 22-1 skeletons Victorian.jpg
Four nineteenth century examples 1.Aaron Dodd Crane 2. G. Jones, Holloway Road 3. M. Rhodes & Son, Bradford and 4. Clock made by Evans of Birmingham for Carter of Warrington
February 22-2 C20 examples.jpg
Four twentieth century examples. 1, Replica of the electric torsion skeleton clock made by Ever Ready in the 1900s – this one made by Frank Schmidt in 1995. 2. Asymmetrical skeleton clock thought to have been made by an enthusiast. 3. Anonymous example of unknown date, maker or retailer. 4. There were several of this type of skeleton clock, one with silver coloured frame, one by Classic Clocks of Clerkenwell made as a kit, this one signed Dent, London.

Video presentation (January 2022)
The meeting was cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions.