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All my illnesses: tuberculosis

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All my illnesses: appendicitis and cancer
George Daniels Master watchmaker
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And then later on I developed appendicitis, which was very annoying, that had to be attended to and meant getting into hospital for a bit of time and in those days when I had it - that's over 40 years ago now - it wasn't an in and out in 24 hours business, you had to stay 10 days in hospital. So that was very time consuming. And then I developed cancer. I was a very heavy smoker and I think there's no doubt that smoking does cause cancer, not in everybody, but it can. I mean W O Bentley died at 84 and he smoked so many fags, he was almost a chain smoker, but it didn't kill him. He died of old age, but I think it can have an effect if one prolongs the habit. And that had to be got over and that came at a very unfortunate time because I had just been appointed master of the Clockmaker's Company and I had to make quite a lot of speeches and I really didn't have much of a voice after the radium treatment. And so I practiced and acquired a small microphone and amplifier and I practised assiduously with that and so I was ready to go to my first court meeting and I planned to put this amplifier on the table and use a microphone attached to my lapel. And I didn't know how the court would take this but I reasoned that I was master and I could jolly well do what I liked, so I went ahead and did it and it all went off very smoothly and after a while one just didn't notice that I was speaking into this microphone all the time. And so that overcame that problem, but the voice has never fully recovered, but you know, one is lucky to survive the whole thing so I can't really complain about the after effects, and indeed I don't, I never stop talking.

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: The Worshipful Company of Clockmakers, WO Bentley

Duration: 2 minutes, 20 seconds

Date story recorded: May 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008