Northern Section

To be held at Trinity Methodist Church, Trinity Road, Sale, Cheshire, M33 3ED at 7.30pm for 8.00pm, unless otherwise stated

Friday 8 March 2024

Lecture: An update on research into James Condliff his family and their clocks by Darlah and Steve Thomas

Full Programme for 2024 (PDF download, updated 16 December)

Recent Meetings

Meeting reports for previous years: 2023 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017

Prescot Time Ball Project opening (January 2024)

Thirty-two Northern Section members and guests were invited to a simple opening ceremony at the Prescot Time Ball Project on 13th January 2024. We were the guests of Ron Musker and his family; Ron has been the driving force behind this project. A few years ago, Ron purchased an old time ball which had once been mounted on Beale’s Building in Islington, London. When that building was demolished in 1970, the ball became redundant after eighty years’ service. It arrived in Prescot in poor condition, but Ron had plans. The Flat Iron Building in Prescot which Ron had owned since the 1970s was ready for refurbishment and as it had a significant place in the town’s horological history as the home of the Lancashire Watch Company office, strong room, a few workshops and small warehouse, it was ideal for his purpose - to have a functioning time ball on his building as a beacon of the town’s horological past. We were there to witness the project’s completion.

Prescot Visit 1 Our visit.jpg
Jim Arnfield welcomed members and guests and then Justin Koullapis, who has been interested in the project since it began, spoke on the history of time balls and of Prescot’s former role in our horological history.
Prescot Visit 2 clock.jpg
The clock for the project was made by John Johnson of Prescot c.1815. Johnson’s workshop was about 100 metres from the Flat Iron Building.
Prescot Visit 3 Time ball before restoration.jpg
The time ball before restoration.
Prescot Visit 4 Lifting arm during construction.jpg
The ball lifting-arm during construction.
Prescot Visit 5 Phil Ron Jim Brian.jpg
The horological team. From left: Phil Irvine, Ron Musker, Jim Arnfield, Brian Percival.
Prescot Visit 6 the finished project.jpg
The project apparatus complete.
Prescot Visit 7.jpg
The apparatus is located in the stairwell of the building just inside the entrance hall.
Prescot Visit 8 FIB testing.jpg
The Flat Iron Building with the time ball raised during a period of testing (that is why the clock is showing 11 o’clock). It will rise to the top of the pole a few minutes before 1pm daily and drop exactly as the clock strikes one o’clock.

AGM and video presentation (January 2024)

The meeting opened with the usual greetings and notices and then the AGM followed. Once the formal proceedings were completed, we had a refreshment break and then the group was shown a video entitled The Anatomy of a Singing Bird Box. The box, thought to date to c1865, was made by Frenchman Jacques Bruguier (1801-1871) who worked in Geneva.

The film was made and narrated by John Moorhouse and explains the construction and operation of the box and its bird automaton which John had the task of restoring. He explained some of the problems he faced and detailed how to set up and adjust the mechanism.

Jan 24 Singing Bird-DVD x.jpg