Conservation and the craft of clockmaking
The annual George Daniels Lecture was delivered on 30th November by Matthew Read, Clocks Conservation Programme Leader at West Dean College.
Held in the Oliver Thompson Lecture Theatre, Read's presentation, 'Conservation, Craft and Clockmaking' addressed the synergies between 'conservation' and 'craft' and the way these elements might shape the future of clockmaking.
He addressed the growing awareness of the need to preserve the UK's horological heritage, part of "the inherited fossil record of horological materials forming a wider societal material memory, allowing insight to the past and giving inspiration for the future."
Convergence of maker culture
Matthew Read's lecture, illustrated by illuminating brief video segments, also drew on the conservation of related technologies such as vintage musical toy carousels and mechanical textile looms, and the convergence of 21st century maker culture in charting new creative frontiers.
George Daniels CBE, DSc, FBHI, FSA (19th August 1926-21st October 2011) created the co-axial escapement, one of the most significant developments in watchmaking for the last 250 years and which has since been licensed to Omega. He studied horology at City’s predecessor, the Northampton Institute.
After his death, the George Daniels Educational Trust administered the substantial funds he bequeathed to provide scholarships for City’s students and to benefit research in measurement and instrumentation at the University.
Valuable curatorial experience
Currently, George Daniels' substantial financial endowment supports the George Daniels Chair in Scientific Instrumentation; the George Daniels Lecturer in Scientific Instrumentation; 21 Undergraduate Scholars studying for degrees in Biomedical, Mechanical, Civil, Aeronautical Engineering and Mathematical Sciences; and three PhD studentships.
As part of his family's third generation jewellery business in East Yorkshire, Matthew Read's first encounters with professional clockmaking came from a series of short courses at the British Horological Institute. He further developed his skills in the trade at West Dean College's postgraduate programme.
He received valuable curatorial experience by way of a four-year stint at the National Maritime Museum which also served as an introduction to conservation within clocks.
Pyke Organ Clock
As an independent conservator Read has worked on significant projects such as the 18th Century Bowes Swan Automaton and the 17th Century Fromantel Clock at the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford. He was also Project Leader on the conservation of the rare 18th Century Pyke Organ Clock, part of the collection at Leeds Temple Newsam, conserved at West Dean College in 2014.
The Maker Movement is a trend in which individuals or groups of individuals create and market products that are recreated and assembled using unused, discarded or broken electronic, plastic, silicon or virtually any raw material and/or product from a computer-related device. The Movement also incorporates creations and inventions developed by individuals in their homes, garages or a place with limited manufacturing resources.