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The 350th anniversary of the Clockmakers' Company


Helping younger craftsmen to exhibit
George Daniels Master watchmaker
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Well, we had a new chairman to take over the National Benevolent Society and he felt they should have spent their money in different ways. And so my money was cut off at source, and I was no longer able to raise enough money to run the apprentice scheme. With what little I had I took on two more apprentices. I don't mean I took them on; I put them out to other... I would find a suitable master for the apprentice. Since then, I have looked covetously at the funds in the Clockmakers' Museum and Education Trust and they've got, I suppose, about £30,000 sculling around in their trust, not doing anything. I gave them some of it and I've been unable to get any out of them. But we've now been left another £100,000 by somebody, so I'm already making forays into that to see if I can get some for my students again.

And one of the big problems, I realised, was that students who made things, and we had students who could make things, didn't have anywhere to show their work and without a shop window, no one would be aware of what was going on. And so when the Clockmakers' Company collection was revamped and modernised and made more interesting to the public, I organised a special showcase for artist craftsmen to exhibit their goods in, and we will have a turn round at very regular intervals changing the contents from work made from one maker to another.

George Daniels, CBE, DSc, FBHI, FSA (19 August 1926 - 21 October 2011) was an English watchmaker most famous for creating the co-axial escapement. Daniels was one of the few modern watchmakers who could create a complete watch by hand, including the case and dial. He was a former Master of the Clockmakers' Company of London and had been awarded their Gold Medal, a rare honour, as well as the Gold Medal of the British Horological Institute, the Gold Medal of the City of London and the Kullberg Medal of the Stockholm Watchmakers’ Guild.

Listeners: Roger Smith

Roger Smith was born in 1970 in Bolton, Lancashire. He began training as a watchmaker at the age of 16 at the Manchester School of Horology and in 1989 won the British Horological Institute Bronze Medal. His first hand made watch, made between 1991 and 1998, was inspired by George Daniels' book "Watchmaking" and was created while Smith was working as a self-employed watch repairer and maker. His second was made after he had shown Dr Daniels the first, and in 1998 Daniels invited him to work with him on the creation of the 'Millennium Watches', a series of hand made wrist watches using the Daniels co-axial escapement produced by Omega. Roger Smith now lives and works on the Isle of Man, and is considered the finest watchmaker of his generation.

Tags: National Benevolent Society of Watch and Clock Makers, The Clockmakers' Museum And Educational Trust, The Worshipful Company of Clockmakers

Duration: 2 minutes, 16 seconds

Date story recorded: May 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008