Admission Price: This event is free, please register to attend.
“A Pretty Employment for Ingenious Men” (John Harrison 1775)
The story of the marine chronometer and the National Maritime Museum’s collection
The marine chronometers at the Royal Observatory form one of the flagship collections in the National Maritime Museum, and a full catalogue of these special timekeepers has now been completed by Jonathan Betts, Senior Curator of Horology at the museum until his retirement in 2015. “The Marine Chronometers at Greenwich” forms the fifth in the Oxford University Press series covering the museum’s instruments, and Jonathan will be describing the intricate process of the cataloging and will cover some of the discoveries made and how they change and enlighten our view of this important 18th and 19th century technological industry.
Jonathan Betts is a Curator Emeritus at Royal Museums, Greenwich following 35 years in the horology department there. He is a Fellow of the British Horological Institute, Vice Chairman of the Antiquarian Horological Society, a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, a Fellow of the International Institute for Conservation and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. In 1998 he was made a Huntington Fellow of the Mariners Museum, Virginia, for his cataloguing of the marine chronometer collection there. In 2014 he was Master of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers and is Curatorial Adviser to the Clockmakers Company Museum. He is also the Adviser to the National Trust on their clock and watch collections.
Over the last 40 years he has given regular lectures on Horology and Conservation, organizing and speaking at the NMM conference Horological Conservation and Restoration in 1988. He has been a regular lecturer at West Dean College, at museum seminars and to horological and heritage groups. He has made regular radio and tv appearances speaking on horological matters and is a frequent correspondent in the horological press. He was Harrison and Gould adviser to the drama documentary film Longitude (Granada 2000), and provided the idea and some of the script for the highly successful last episode of the TV sit-com (UK), ‘Only Fools and Horses’, Time on their Hands, in 1996.