Clock by A & J Thwaites, 1793, St Mary's Church, Barnes.
|Headquarters||Rottingdean, Brighton, East Sussex, England|
Thwaites & Reed has been in continuous manufacture since its foundation and claims to be the oldest clock manufacturing company in the world. Geoffrey Buggins MBE, the last of the original family clockmakers, saw drawings of Thwaites clocks dating back to 1610. These drawings and other early records prior to 1780 went missing but other records from that date are stored with the London Metropolitan Archives. Further records are stored by Thwaites & Reed up to present day. Dunstable Town Council archives had a catalogue of turret clocks made up to 1878 and there is a later incomplete list showing the date of supply and purchasers of turret clocks to 1902. The business of John Moore, a former apprentice, was acquired in 1899. Up to 1900, 2978 domestic clocks were made with serial numbers in chronological order.Other clocks were not listed, but from 1972 to 1980 ten types of replica clocks including the Benjamin Franklin Clock, Congreve Rolling Ball Clock, various skeleton clocks and the inclined Plane, Rack, Rising Works Drum Clocks, were made as limited editions.. For 30 years, it maintained all the clocks at the Palace of Westminster, including the Great Clock. Other than Thwaites & Reed, associated tradenames are Aynsworth Thwaites, John Thwaites, and was trade supplier of movements to many well known historic clockmakers including Dutton, Dwerrihouse, Ellicott and Vulliamy and in more recent times well known retailers including The Franklin Mint, Asprey and Garrards. During its ownership by FW Elliott Ltd it also made movements under the Elliott brand.
John Thwaites was a clockmaker at the beginning of the 17th century and from this extended family Aynsworth Thwaites founded the business about 1735and is known to be in Rosoman Street, Clerkenwell, London in 1740, and continued there until 1780. Thereafter the firm traded from Bowling Green Lane and in the 18th and 19th centuries became the most prolific in England producing turret and domestic clocks of all descriptions including rare musical clocks and was the main supplier to the Turkish market (the Ottoman Empire) (Cite The Musical Clock Arthur WJG Ord-Hume). The company's earliest recorded commission and still in use, was a turret clock for Horseguards Parade made in 1740 but not finished until 1768, and a domestic long-clock about 1770 for the British East India Company. The complexity of the Horseguards clock is the result of many previous years' clockmaking experience, but older work has not been identified. Aynsworth was succeeded by John Thwaites, who was head of the firm from 1780 to 1816, and master of the Clockmakers' Company in 1815, 1819, and 1820. In 1816, Thwaites partnered with George Jeremiah Reed, and the firm became Thwaites & Reed. John Thwaites remained at the firm's head until 1842. In 1856 Thomas Buggins purchased the business from Henrietta Reed, the widow of George Jeremiah Reed, and the business remained in the Buggins family for four generations, the last being Geoffrey Thomas Edwin Buggins MBE. The business held the Royal Warrant under two chairmen and the team of employees included two exceptionally talented clockmakers, John Vernon and Peter Haward. Many well-known clocks were built and. Fine examples are the Fortnum and Mason automaton, the Financial Times Astronomical clock, two reproductions of the historical Giovanni di Dondi clock by Peter Haward and restoration of the Hampton Court Clock and the rebuilding of Big Ben following a structural failure (1977) by John Vernon. Geoffrey Buggins realised that the business could not continue as it was, in the post war world. Fortunately Simon Mackay (Lord Tanlaw) a keen horologist and FBHI took an interest and he became temporary owner and Chairman. He financed the series of replica clocks (Over 10,000 built in limited editions). Geoffrey Buggins continued to operate the business pending its transfer as a going concern to the National Enterprise Board (and in doing so ensured the entire business, its assets, employees and historic records were seamlessly moved from a historic family firm to a modern incorporated business which was eventually sold by the National Enterprise Board to F,W.Elliott Ltd. (1978) Geoffrey Buggins resigned as a director and his family connections ceased. The Elliott family has since sold the business to the Lee family (1991) and the business continues to be manufacturers of turret and domestic clocks.
The Worshipful Company of Clockmakers was established under a Royal Charter granted by King Charles I in 1631. It ranks sixty-first among the livery companies of the City of London, and comes under the jurisdiction of the Privy Council. The company established a library and its Museum in 1813, which is the oldest specific collection of clocks and watches worldwide. This is administered by the company's affiliated charity, the Clockmakers’ Charity, and is presently housed on the second floor of London's Science Museum. The modern aims of the company and its Museum are charitable and educational, in particular to promote and preserve clockmaking and watchmaking, which as of 2019 were added to the HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts.
A clockmaker is an artisan who makes and/or repairs clocks. Since almost all clocks are now factory-made, most modern clockmakers only repair clocks. Modern clockmakers may be employed by jewellers, antique shops, and places devoted strictly to repairing clocks and watches. Clockmakers must be able to read blueprints and instructions for numerous types of clocks and time pieces that vary from antique clocks to modern time pieces in order to fix and make clocks or watches. The trade requires fine motor coordination as clockmakers must frequently work on devices with small gears and fine machinery.
An astronomical clock, horologium, or orloj is a clock with special mechanisms and dials to display astronomical information, such as the relative positions of the sun, moon, zodiacal constellations, and sometimes major planets.
The Guild Church of St Dunstan-in-the-West is in Fleet Street in the City of London. It is dedicated to Dunstan, Bishop of London and Archbishop of Canterbury. The church is of medieval origin, although the present building, with an octagonal nave, was constructed in the 1830s to the designs of John Shaw.
Horse Guards is a historic building in the City of Westminster, London, between Whitehall and Horse Guards Parade. It was built in the mid-18th century, replacing an earlier building, as a barracks and stables for the Household Cavalry, later becoming an important military headquarters. Horse Guards functions as a gatehouse giving access between Whitehall and St James's Park via gates on the ground floor. It originally formed the entrance to the Palace of Whitehall and later St James's Palace; for that reason it is still ceremonially defended by the Queen's Life Guard. Although still in military use, part of the building houses the Household Cavalry Museum which is open to the public.
Thomas Tompion (1639–1713) was an English clockmaker, watchmaker and mechanician who is still regarded to this day as the "Father of English Clockmaking". Tompion's work includes some of the most historic and important clocks and watches in the world, and can command very high prices whenever outstanding examples appear at auction. A plaque commemorates the house he shared on Fleet Street in London with his equally famous pupil and successor George Graham.
Gillett & Johnston was a clockmaker and bell foundry based in Croydon, England from 1844 until 1957. Between 1844 and 1950, over 14,000 tower clocks were made at the works. The company's most successful and prominent period of activity as a bellfounder was in the 1920s and 1930s, when it was responsible for supplying many important bells and carillons for sites across Britain and around the world.
A turret clock or tower clock is a clock designed to be mounted high in the wall of a building, usually in a clock tower, in public buildings such as churches, university buildings, and town halls. As a public amenity to enable the community to tell the time, it has a large face visible from far away, and often a striking mechanism which rings bells upon the hours.
J. B. Joyce & Co, clockmakers, were founded in Shropshire in England. The company claim to be the oldest clock manufacturer in the world, originally established in 1690, and have been part of the Smith of Derby Group since 1965. The claim is challenged by another English firm of clockmakers, Thwaites & Reed, who claim to have been in continuous manufacture since before 1740, with antecedents to 1610.
The Bilbie family were bell founders and clockmakers based initially in Chew Stoke, Somerset and later at Cullompton, Devon in south-west England from the late 17th century to the early 19th century.
St. Michael's Episcopal Church is a historic church and the oldest surviving religious structure in Charleston, South Carolina. It is located at Broad and Meeting streets on one of the Four Corners of Law, and represents ecclesiastical law. It was built in the 1750s by order of the South Carolina Assembly. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a National Historic Landmark.
Benjamin Lewis Vulliamy was a clockmaker, active in 18th and 19th century Britain. He succeeded his father Benjamin Vulliamy as head of the firm and Clockmaker to the Crown.
The "Royal Clock" is located on the upper level of the southern half of the Queen Victoria Building in Sydney, Australia. It was designed by Neil Glasser and made by Thwaites & Reed of Hastings in England, and when activated, displays scenes of English royalty. The plaque on the side of the clock reads "By appointment to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Turret Clockmakers Thwaites & Reed Ltd Hastings England".
Founded in 1856, the Smith of Derby Group are clockmakers based in Derby, Derbyshire, UK. Smith of Derby has been in operation continuously under five generations of the Smith family.
John Knibb (1650–1722) was an English clockmaker born in Claydon, Oxfordshire. He produced various clocks and watches including bracket clocks, lantern clocks, longcase clocks, and some wall-clocks, as well as building and maintaining several turret clocks. Even though his main market was catering to customers of modest means, he also dominated the higher-quality sector. Only six of Knibb's watches are known to survive.
G. & F. Cope Ltd was a clockmaking company based in Nottingham, England from 1845 to 1984.
Reuben Bosworth was a watch and clockmaker in Nottingham.
St John's Anglican Church is an Anglican church located in New Town, Tasmania, Australia, is notable for its unbroken record of use as a parish church, from the first service on 20 December 1835 up to the present. The parish is administered by the Anglican Diocese of Tasmania.
St Luke's Anglican Church is a heritage-listed Anglican church at Elizabeth Drive, Liverpool, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It was designed by Francis Greenway and built from 1818 to 1820 by James Smith. The property is owned by the Anglican Parish of Liverpool and is the oldest still existing Anglican church in Australia. It was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register on 2 April 1999.
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