The Clockmaker’s Museum is a gem of a museum and a must visit when you are visiting Guildhall.
The Clockmaker’s Museum, begun in 1813 first opened to the public in 1873; the oldest of it’s kind in the world. The museum consists of a single room, quite one of the tiniest museums I have ever visited, telling the story of timekeeping from the Company’s unique perspective. It houses a vast collection of the most fabulous, beautiful and intruiging mantle-clocks, grandfather clocks and timepieces that stretch back over the aeons, as well as a wealth of horological curiosities such as a decimal watch of 1862 – the hands of which move anticlockwise dividing the day in ten hours; each hour has 100 minutes, each minute 100 seconds.
Items to be seen on display include John Harrison’s fifth marine timekeeper, dated 1770 and tested under supervision of King George III, the watch secured Harrison the final part of the “Longitude Prize”. An early house clock by Francis Foreman, who with Richard Morgan delivered the Clockmaker’s petition to King Charles I in 1630; a fine-spring clock from the “Golden Age” of English clockmaking made by Henry Jones in Middle Temple London c.1675; a longcase clock with an anchor escarpment, signed “Edwardus East Londini” c.1675, installed in a fine London marquetry case that dates from c.1685 as well as the earliest surviving watch movement by Thomas Tompion c.1671.
Public clocks were a feature of London from medieval times, but the art of domestic clock and watch making was brought to the City in the 16th Century.
In 1631 London clockmakers were granted their own guild by King Charles I. This ancient “Livery Company” still flourishes today. It’s members transformed the City into a clock and watch making centre which dominated the world from 1660 to 1900.
New makers were constantly drawn to London by it’s reputation for scientific excellence. In the 18th Century the problem of finding the longitude at sea was solved by clockmakers working in London, and London-made marine chronometers became of key importance in international trade, exploration and conquest.
Well worth a visit, this delightful museum can be found in the new west wing of Guildhall in Aldermanbury, just off Love Lane and Gresham Street EC1V. Entrance is FREE. for further information about the museum click here
The museum is open to the public from Monday to Saturday 9.30am to 4.45pm each week except public holidays.
It may be closed from time to time for rewinding. Directly across the hall is the Guildhall Library; open from 9.30am till 4.45pm Monday to Saturday (except public holidays) Here you can consult books and manuscripts from the Clockmaker’s Library.
Cheapside: 8, 25, 501 – Moorgate: 21, 43, 76, 133, 141 – London Wall: 100.
Underground Stations: St Paul’s, Moorgate and Bank
Railways Stations: Blackfrairs, Cannon Street, City Thameslink, Fenchurch Street, Liverpool Street, London Bridge and Moorgate.
To be seen nearby:
a tiny park on Love Lane featuring a memorial to Shakespeare,
and the remains of St Mary Aldermanbury Church;
an ancient church dating from 1181, reconstructed by Christopher Wren after the orginal building was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666.
St Mary Aldermanbury; records dating from 1181, a church stood on this spot till 1666, when it was destroyed by the Great Fire. A new church was reconstructed by Christopher Wren, this then badly damaged by the 2nd WW after which the remians were shipped to Fulton, Missouri where the church was re-erected. The gardens are now a memorial to Hemming and Condell, the Shakesperian actors who published the first folio of Shakespeare’s plays. A willow basket, a herb parterre and a swamp cypress can also be found here.
On the north side of the building and in a courtyard is a delightful sculpture of a man and woman in respose gazing towards the park.
How to get there: the park is located just across the way from the new west-wing of the Guildhall complex on Aldermanbury and Love Lane.
There is so much to see when visiting for 3 days in London that you will never be bored or left without something exciting and unique to visit.