Group Meetings 2019

Turret Clock Group

Welcome to the home page of the Turret Clock Group, a specialist group within the AHS.

This group functions to promote knowledge about turret clocks. Four meetings are held each year, and take a variety of formats in different venues. Lectures, visits to turret clocks and seminar-type meetings are held. The summer tour has always been very popular, giving members the chance to visit turret clocks in churches, towers or in private estates rarely accessible to the public.

Many enquiries are answered each year, quite a number of these coming from overseas.

Membership covers a wide spectrum from those just starting, to experienced experts. Some members are turret clock advisers in their local diocese, others are historians, restorers or professional makers and restorers.

If you are not a member but are interested in joining, or if you have a technical enquiry, please contact the AHS Office.

For details of future meetings, please contact Ian Coote.

Membership of the Turret Clock Group is only open to members of the AHS, and you can indicate to the AHS when joining that you would also like to join this group.


Meeting report

Over forty-six members and friends had a super day for the March meeting at Uffington village hall where twenty turret clocks were on display, in various states of restoration and rebuild.

Swedish timepiece with 2 trains

One member brought along two Swedish clocks by Linderoth. The working tiinsmepiece with seconds pendulum and dead-beat escapement was dated 1905. We also saw a master clock system used for air traffic control, which drove quite a number of slave clocks. Another member brought along his brand new turret clock which he had made from a model engineering magazine. It had a mild steel frame, seconds pendulum and a dead-beat escapement. His weight line is phosphor bronze.

An old rusty clock c.1700 was shown. All the wheels were wrought iron except the escape wheel. Also on display was a clock by James Richie of Edinburgh 1895, which had been redundant for many years, and which had a rack strike and maintaining power. There was also a Gents four-dial clock, a Meccano set clock to drive a large 30-hour turret clock and three redundant turret clocks.

An A-frame time and strike clock by Bailey of Salford was also brought. This had a paddle wheel escapement. A bracket clock was displayed to show that turret clock makers could also make domestic clocks along with a turret clock by Evans with dial and dead-beat escapement. Another member brought a Thwaites and Reed timepiece of 1890. It had been used at the Docks in Dover. It had a two second pendulum. He also showed a two-train clock by Evans of Birmingham 1885. It had probably driven one dial on a shop or stable block. He asked if it should be restored or not.

A-frame clock by Bailey

There was another A-frame clock by Bailey of Salford with time and strike. The owner has started to restore this clock, and he also brought a small clock by Bryson of Edinburgh. This was a timepiece with a 6 ft pendulum and a dead-beat escapement. The next clock was a rare bird. It was thought to be by Henry Ward of Blandford. The pallets were on top of the pendulum rod. It also had a vertical fly like Big Ben. We next had a clock which had been on a garage, demolished some 40 years ago. It had a rounded frame and was time and strike. Some hands and motion work were shown which the owner is restoring, belonging to a clock from Uwe Glenside tower. It is now a timepiece only having had the bells removed 40 years ago. Finally, we saw a two-train birdcage clock with recoil escapement from c.1730 where the owner had made the 0.9 second pendulum himself, along with a two-train clock, dated 1829, possibly from Islip Church, Northampton. The clock was in good restored order.

by Henry Ward of Blandford

After lunch, we had a series of lectures with slides. The first one was by Chris McKay, entitled, 'A Conservation Approach to Turret Clocks.' He showed slides of clocks which he had restored. Some were of French turret clocks and one was of James Davis of Windsor. He also showed some restoration projects on some of his local clocks. Milton Abbey clock of 1804, has been cleaned and restored by Chris. He showed us many other clocks he has worked on as well. He told us that setting dials are not usually silvered on turret clocks. He advised us to be conservative in what we do to restore a turret clock. Mike Bundock spoke on turret clock history and research. He gave us a few pointers. Firstly, we should get all the information about the clock printed out, starting with the maker's name, if there is one. Then we should write down the date and condition of the clock. If the clock has come from a demolished building, see if there are any photos which can be referred to. If any research is needed then local museums, historical societies, trade directories, local archive offices and AHS Turret Clock database may be found to be helpful.

Rear view of Ward clock

Geoff Sykes gave a talk on collecting turret clocks and told us of the sixteen museums in Germany, which house only turret clocks. Tony Marshall, then told us about stands for turret clocks, which should be of good quality timber to withstand the weight. Mike Applebee spoke of his job as clock advisor for Derbyshire. He said that more advisors were needed country wide and that members of the AHS Turret Clock Group could fulfil this role. Chris McKay was next, speaking this time about weights, pulleys and pendulums and problems associated with them. Mike Bundock thanked everyone who had brought turret clocks. He was very pleased to see so many new faces and hoped they'd enjoyed the day. Brian Sparks finished the afternoon by giving the vote of thanks.