Located in the Octagon room Royal Observatory London
Thomas Tompion, the ‘father of English watchmaking’, was the best maker of the day and supplied the original Royal Observatory clocks in 1676. He was also the first maker, of any product, to give his items unique serial numbers, a practice common today.
Just outside of Canterbury England can be found the beautiful small Kentish village of Littlebourne, which has at its heart the 13th Century Church of St Vincent.
I often stay with friends in Littlebourne when I visit England. On my 2010 visit, I took the opportunity to explore the church clock tower. I know very little about Tower Clocks, so take a look at the photo and let me know more about the movement, if you know. St Vincent’s church is relatively small and the rich sound of the clock ticking away in the tower can be heard all around the church.
Update March 2011: Thanks to one of our readers, Simon, we now know the following about this movement – “It was referred to as an ‘Armchair Movement.’” See his entire comment below.
Deal Timeball is a Victorian maritime Greenwich Mean Time signal located on the roof of a waterfront four-story tower in the coastal town of Deal, in Kent, England.
It was established in 1855 by the Astronomer Royal George Biddell Airy in collaboration with Charles V. Walker, superintendent of telegraphs for the South Eastern Railway Company. It was built by the Lambeth firm of engineers Maudslay and Field. The timeball, which, like the Greenwich timeball, fell at 1 pm precisely, was triggered by an electric signal directly from the Royal Observatory.
Before it became a timeball tower, the tower was a semaphore tower used to signal to the ships at anchor in the Dover channel.
In the main square, the town’s unique Victorian black and white clock tower.
Gothic in design and made from wrought iron, it is proudly considered one of Downham Market’s most distinctive features.
The clock was presented to the town in 1878 by local draper, grocer and clothier James Scott. Unusually, it had illumination of the dials by a gas supply.
The earlier Photos were taken around 1900. It’s astonishing how little the town square has changed over the past 100 years.
The Corpus Clock is one of Cambridge’s most recently added sites of interest, and one of the most ingenious.
Situated on the outside of the Taylor Library at Corpus Christi College, the 24-carat gold plated clock was conceived and funded by Corpus Christi alumni John C. Taylor. He invested 5 years in its creation and the project cost £1million with 200 people involved in its construction. It was officially unveiled on 19th September 2008 by world renowned physicist and Cambridge professor, Stephen Hawking.
The clock was named as one of Time magazine’s Best Inventions of 2008. With a diameter of 1.5 meter, the gold plated stainless steel disc is an impressive site. It has no numbers or hands but rather displays the time by opening up individual slits in the face, which are all backlit with blue LEDs. Being entirely mechanical, the clock has no digital or electrical input, except for a small electric motor which powers the diodes.
Windsor Castle is the preferred home of the current reigning British monarch, Queen Elizabeth II.
This is another popular haunt for horologists as old Queenie has one of the finest privately owned clock collections in the world. It seems as though every room is adorned by a spectacular clock. Among the collection are clocks by Pinchbeck, Tompion, Ferdinand Berthoud, Mudge, and John Pyke.
The Charles Clay organ clock (1743) is one of the finest organ clocks ever built which plays music specifically commissioned by Handel.
She has an early lantern clock commissioned by Henry VIII for Anne Boleyn.
The royal family has a full time horologist on staff to maintain the collection. We’ve heard him say in interviews that all the clocks are kept running.
This clock wasn’t on our itinerary, but when we passed the Bath Abbey we noticed that they offered tours of the clock tower.
Well, we couldn’t resist, of course. It was well worth the five pounds.
We worked our way up a winding stair case to a room that houses the large mechanical tower clock, as well as the ropes pulled by the bell ringers. They even walked us out to huddle behind the clock face.
May not be a particularly important clock, but what insight it gave to how these mechanisms operate. And the view from the cathedral roof was stunning.
No trip to the UK would be complete without seeing an original Thomas Tompion specimen.
Tompion clock in The Pump Room
Thomas Tompion (1639–1713) was an English master clockmaker and watchmaker known today as the father of English clockmaking. His work includes some of the most important clocks and watches in the world. This famous clock is located in the restaurant, The Pump Room, at the Roman baths.
Wells Cathedral Clcok
The Wells Cathedral clock is an astronomical clock in the north transept of Wells Cathedral, England. The clock is one of the group of famous 14th to 16th century astronomical clocks to be found in the West of England. The surviving mechanism is dated to between 1386 and 1392.
Salisbury Cathedral and Wells cathedral are home to the world’s oldest working clocks. We hope to make it to Salisbury on our next trip to the UK.
John Harrison's Personal time keeper
Founded in 1631, The Clockmakers’ Company is the oldest surviving horological institute in the world. Its museum constitutes the oldest collection specifically of clocks, watches and sundials in existence.
The museum is also home to John Harrison’s personal regulator clock ca. 1725 , made almost entirely of wood – including the movement. Correct within 1 second a month, this was the most accurate clock in the world for many years to come.
If you notice in the photo, there is a handwritten table of data Harrison utilized when testing his sea clocks. A definite must see!
The museum also houses Harrison’s last known marine chronometer, H5.