Northern Section

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

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Meetings - 2023

Horological Ephemera (December 2023)

Our theme for the December meeting was horological ephemera. Members brought in a variety of items, including albums of turret clock photographs; old auction catalogues, but also a very recent one of Gould’s ephemera; the complete service history of a deck watch and the watch itself; newspaper cuttings concerning one of our members as a teenager who had mended clocks for friends and one about the BHI’s Millennium clock; a watch movement which had been consigned to the scrap box; and an early example of recycling of a clock component which had also been regarded as scrap.

1 Dec 23 clock.jpg
The Newark Advertiser 26th October 2001. On its front page the newspaper had a photo of Colin Walsh with the Millennium Clock. This brief piece was continued on a later page.
2 Dec 23 chrono.jpg
The entire Service Record of a deck watch made by John Lilley & Son Ltd., number 2090. The watch was made in 1917, first serviced at Greenwich, followed by many other dated occasions until 1948 when it was sold. The record was continued on a second page.
3 Dec 23 c rings.jpg
Left; This was the anonymous chapter ring as it was when the clock was purchased a few years ago. When the ring was removed for re-silvering, the original chapter ring was still evident on the reverse side. The maker’s name J. Phillips, Bristoll (working 1700-45: Loomes). The style and detail of this side of the chapter ring was clearly contemporary with the remainder of the clock

Bring and Discuss (November 2023)

Amongst items brought in for discussion were an eighteenth century table clock, pocket watches and several items relating to electrical time distribution systems.

Nov 1 Thos Wright x.jpg
George lll period striking table clock signed Thos Wright, London, Watch-maker to the King. This clock has an enamel dial, ebonised case with brass details and a finely engraved back plate.
Nov 2 cc1.jpg
There were two sets of insertion dials for mounting within walls or cabinets with heavy cast bezels and engraved silvered dials. The first, possibly dating to the 1930s, had the name Synchronome Electric, R. Smith Ltd. and the standard Synchronome patented movement and their standard hands.
Nov 3 cc 2.jpg
This pair may have been a special order; initially looking similar, both have convex dials which were again silvered but with unusual hands and a rather small script used for the name Synchronome Electric, London. On closer inspection, one was slightly larger than the other and had a larger movement. order, possibly as additional dial/s for the system.
Nov 4 Synchronome digital display.jpg
Digital display signed Synchronome Electric which would have formed part of a time distribution system in a large building. The rotating numbers show hours, minutes and seconds on the front of the unit which would have been mounted within a wall or cabinet. It is thought to date from the 1950s.

Clocks and Watches depicting historical events (October 2023)

A few members rose to this challenge and brought items for display and discussion. These comprised: a longcase dial, details of the BHI 150 years anniversary watch and their Millennium Clock, a commemorative wristwatch and numerous pocket watches, some made for railway use in several countries. The latter group represented a period rather than an event in history.

Oct 1 Mary Q of S.jpg
This 1830s longcase dial depicts the escape of Queen Mary from Lochleven Castle, (ie Mary Queen of Scots) in May 1568. The dial is anonymous and has no falseplate.
Oct 2 Fletcher watch movement.jpg
The movement of a watch by Fletcher of Rotherham has an image of the Duke of Wellington which is inscribed incorrectly, Lord Wellington.
Oct 3 presentation w watch.jpg
This Swiss made gold automatic wristwatch was signed by Garrard of London. As can be seen, it was a presentation piece given by Hawker Syddeley Dynamics Ltd to commemorate twenty year’s service for the company.

Winter’s Clock, Stockport (September 2023)

As the talk’s content was a summary of the article by S & D Thomas published in Antiquarian Horology in March and June 2023, only a selection of images is included here.

Sept 2023 1 Winters frontage.jpg
The upper storeys of the Winter’s building after refurbishment.
Sept 2023 2 Jacob Winter.jpg
Jacob Winter, founder of the business c.1890. Photograph of unknown date from the Winter family collection. Photographer also unknown.
Sept 2023 3 Winter shopfront.jpg
23 and 25 Little Underbank, Stockport. This image was created shortly after the completion of the shopfront c. 1904. The three jacks and their bells were in the same position as they are today. Image Stockport Archives Service.
Sept 2023 4 Jacks before and after.jpg
The jacks before and after their conservation by the Cumbria Clock Company.
Sept 2023 5 The Winter clock.jpg
The clock is situated immediately behind the exterior dials. In the photo the clock has been conserved by the Cumbria Clock Company and is housed in a new oak and glass display case. The mechanism was made by Sainsbury Brothers of Walthamstow. It is now auto-wound and has been fitted with a pendulum regulator.

Visit to Museum of Timekeeping at BHI Upton Hall (August 2023)

Members of the Northern Section and some guests spent a wonderful day at the Museum of Timekeeping at the BHI, Upton Hall. The trip was organised by Jim Arnfield and members of his team were also present as guides and provided demonstrations and shared their knowledge during the day. We began with introductions from Jim Arnfield, and Chair of the Museum Trustees Alan Midleton. We were guided around some of the galleries and left free to explore others. Even the door to the storeroom was opened so we could peep inside.

Everyone agreed the day and been most enjoyable and our chairman Gary Burns offered our grateful thanks to Jim, his team and to the Museum for making us so welcome.

August 2023 MOT 1.jpg
Northern Section members and guests at the Museum of Timekeeping with Jim Arnfield front left and Alan Midleton on Jim’s left.
August 2023 MOT 2.jpg
Alan Midleton led a group into the Grand Hall where he described the clocks there and removed the hoods of some of them.
August 2023 MOT 3.JPG
Gary Burns who is specially interested in musical clocks, took the opportunity to view the movement of this magnificent example by William Hayward of London. It plays twelve tunes on sixteen bells.
August 2023 MOT 4.JPG
In the Speaking Clock Gallery, Jan Wright explained how he had rebuilt the UK’s first speaking clock which dates back to 1936. His great skills enabled the original sound to Ethel Cain announcing the time to be heard again.
August 2023 MOT 5.JPG
In the Library the Rolling Ball Clock drew everyone’s attention.

James Ferguson and his connection to the tidal clocks of Liverpool (June 2023)

Ferguson is known in horological circles for his complicated astronomical clocks with twenty-four hour dials and showing tidal information. He had been fascinated by horology and astronomy from a very early age but pursued a career in portraiture for many years before returning to his earlier interests in later life. He began lecturing on astronomy and the tides in London, wrote books and travelled England giving series’ of lectures on these subjects. Whilst in Liverpool, he designed his first tidal clock. It is recorded that a clock to this design was made but is now lost. Instead, images were shown of another clock made to the same design by Samuel Northcote of Plymouth. As Liverpool had already become a very busy port, but which had a large tidal range, knowledge of the tides was essential to anyone there with maritime interests. After Ferguson’s visits, many clocks with local tidal information were made in Liverpool, some following Ferguson’s idea of a rise-and-fall tidal plate, or developments from it including the tidal disc, see below. Images of clocks by makers such as Finney, Tarleton, Richards, Kaye, Aspinwall, Birtles and Wood were illustrated and their tidal features explained.

June 2023 1 tidal disc.jpg
The seven-inch tidal disc rotates beneath the dial of a clock by Joseph Finney of Liverpool. This clockmaker is known for his ingenuity and for the high-quality clocks he made. High water is indicated by one of the galleons which appears through a special aperture in the dial. As the tide ebbs and the disc rotates a rock formation appears in the aperture indicating low water. The speakers believe the three rock formations represent identifiable hazards (with a little artistic licence) on the approach into the Mersey estuary.
June 2023 2 tidal aperture showing high water.jpg
The tidal aperture on the Joseph Finney clock showing a galleon to indicate high water.

Lantern Clocks (April 2023)

A representative display of these clocks was brought to the April meeting comprising examples made during the seventeenth century from the first, second and third periods, followed by clocks from the eighteenth, nineteenth (not illustrated here) and twentieth centuries. The enduring appeal of this type of clock can be seen below.

Apr 2023 1 lantern x.jpg
April 2023 2 lantern x.jpg
First period lantern clock (1580-1640) made by Thomas Blackwell on Tower Hill, Londini. The clock was converted to anchor escapement many years ago and has a replacement hand. It was in the same family for the last 130 years until acquired by the present owner.
April 2023 3 Loomes 1 x.jpg
Second period lantern clock (1640-1660) made by Thomas Loomes at the Sign of the Mermaid, Lothbury, London. This clock was converted to anchor many years ago and is believed to have been made c1649. Thomas Loomes died in 1665; he was possibly a victim of the plague.
April 2023 4 Ebsworth x.jpg
Third period lantern clock (1660-1700) made by John Ebsworth of Cross Keys, Lothbury, London. It has a short pendulum suspended within the movement, the side doors having slots to allow for its swing.
April 2023 5 French x.jpg
Anonymous French lantern clock thought to have been made c.1750.
April 2023 6 IMG_0074 x.jpg
April 2023 6a IMG_0071 x.jpg
This anonymous French lantern clock still has its cockerel. The French kings had adopted the cockerel as a symbol of courage and bravery; however, many were destroyed in Napoleon’s time as he considered the eagle a more fitting symbol for a great empire. This clock therefore was either made before the French Revolution and escaped destruction or was made during the nineteenth century when the cockerel regained its position as sign of an enduring French Empire.

An example of a late nineteenth century lantern clock was shown, made by the Goldsmiths Company, 112 Regent Street, London. The twin fusee clock strikes the hours and ting tangs the quarters. It can be dated to the 1890s as it was given as a wedding gift in 1898. (No image)

April 2023 7 Dent.jpg
The two twentieth century examples were: 1. Clock made by Dent possibly in the 1950s with crown wheel and short pendulum. When purchased by its current owner, it was still in its original box.
April 2023 8 Thomas Moore x.jpg
2. Clock signed Thomas Moore, Ipswich. This clock was from a batch commissioned by an English clock dealer in the second half of the twentieth century. It is modelled on an eighteenth century example and has an anchor escapement.

10-minute talks (March 2023)

Talk 1.

Hammond watch x.jpg
Waltham Pocket Watch – Military Issue – Made Circa 1942 Movement serial # 31692292, Inside Case # 992246 Outside Case # 28022 (with military arrow)
certificate x.jpg

A Waltham, British army issue pocket watch dating to 1942 was accompanied by a membership certificate of the Northern Association of Practical Watch and Clockmakers. A descendant of the original owner is seeking information on this Association (which merged with the BHI in Manchester) and on a clock and repair business in Lever Street, Manchester run by an ancestor, Thomas Hammond, between 1945 and 1953.

Talk 2.

Mar 2023 - Kendalls Longitude cover.jpg

A summary of the book, Kendall’s Longitude by John Bendall which tells the amazing story of Larcum Kendall’s second chronometer watch which was a simplified version of Harrison’s H4. The watch survived a mission north of the Arctic Circle, two periods of conflict during the American War of Independence, surveying in uncharted waters, being lost to the Navy for 50 years following the mutiny on the Bounty, piracy, and its eventual return to British hands and repatriation to Britain following action in China in the first Opium War.

Talk 3.

Mar 2023 - IMG_2780 xx.jpg

An update on the design, manufacture and testing of the lifting apparatus for the Prescot time ball. The first gearbox assembly (see image above) failed during the testing period, and it was found that a model with the incorrect output had been supplied. A replacement is now under test.

Talk 4.

Mar 2023 - Aaron Crane xx.jpg

A member showed the movement of a rare, early Aaron Crane torsion clock which was lacking several important parts. The owner has a later version of the clock which is working which will provide a reference during its restoration. The clock’s fascinating ‘walking’ escapement and strike were also described.

Talk 5.

Mar 2023 - Scottish watches.jpg

The story of an eBay bargain buy of twenty modern wristwatches, all unused and in their original boxes. These feature the Scottish saltire on their dials.

Talk 6.

Mar 2023 - IMG_2777.jpeg

The former stable buildings at Worden Park, Leyland have been restored recently. The final speaker told how he had restored the turret clock there in 1980 and that he has wound and maintained it ever since. He has had to ‘nurse’ the clock through the recent work which has involved cleaning the mechanism twice during the last few months!

Wartime Horology (February 2023)

Feb 2023 Deck watches and Aircraft clocks.jpg

Top row : left to right

Deck watch. WWll period marked with broad arrow. Swiss made.

Deck watch. WWl period marked with broad arrow. Dial signed John Lilley & Son, London.

Deck watch. WWll period by Waltham (USA).

Deck watch. WWll period with broad arrow. Dial signed Elgin (USA).

Second row : left to right

Deck watch. World War ll period with broad arrow. Signed by Hamilton (USA).

Deck watch : World War ll period with broad arrow. Signed Zenith. (Swiss made).

Wristwatch (on right): World War l period. This watch was described fully in AH December 2018 page 569. It belonged to a member of the Lowlands Field Ambulance of the Royal Army Medical Corps.

Bottom row : left to right - Aircraft watches.

Double chronometer with time of trip dial (for calculating fuel usage) and time of day dial. Used by RAF during WWll. The knob on the left was to set and wind, right knob = stop watch.

German chronometer. WWll period with stop watch for timing operations and turns up to 20 minutes.

Russian time of day clock dating to 1936.

British time of day clock with time of trip set by the red hands.


Not illustrated – we were also shown:

Hamilton Railway Special watch dating to c1940.

Hamilton Navigation master watch US Navy. Date c1941.

Hamilton 22 (Chronometer) deck watch. Date c1942.

Mercer Model C two day marine chronometer. Dating to 1944.

Elgin Model 685 Instrument Watch. Date 1950s/60s.

Feb 2023 - Hamilton chrono x.jpg
Hamilton chronometer supplied unboxed in an aluminium tin. This was cheaper than boxing them in the USA and transporting them fully finished. This model was mass produced leading to a surplus after hostilities ended. It was bought, still unboxed by the current owner. Date WWll period and later.
Feb 2023 German chrono xxx.jpg
A marine chronometer made by Wempe Chronometer Works around WWII, with lever escapement, mounted in a painted aluminium bowl with rubber mounting to reduce the transfer of shock loads and with the gimble mounts on the outer ring of the mounting. The history of these instruments was discussed.

Some interesting websites with information on these topics were suggested:

A closer look at British Military ATP Watches

Northern Section AGM (January 2023)

The business of the AGM filled the evening meeting.