History & Customs

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History & Customs bookletThis brief account of the history and customs of the Company has been prepared specifically for those elected to the Freedom of The Worshipful Company of Clockmakers. They join a fellowship with a history going back over three and a half centuries.

Today Freemen and Liverymen are as actively devoted to the promotion and preservation of ‘The Art and Mystery of Clockmaking’ as were the founding forefathers. The word ‘mystery’ or ‘mistery’ as used here is derived from the Latin ‘ministerium’ meaning occupation, craft or service.

As with some other City Livery Companies today, the Clockmakers Company retains very close links with its origins, with clock and watch making now and in the past. Approximately one third of the members are actively involved in watch and clock making and the associated retail trades, one third are antiquarian horologists and collectors and the remainder members of various professions and commerce generally who are willing and able to use their interests and expertise for the benefit of the Company.

Family connections are recognised as important in preserving the continuity of the Company. This stems back to the days when sons frequently followed father in his particular trade or profession. A number of families such as the Elliotts, Clarkes and Mercers, past and present have had continuing membership of the Company over many generations.

To achieve election to the Freedom, by Redemption, the sponsorship of two members of the Livery who can speak from personal knowledge, one of whom must be a member of the Court, is required. The Freedom is an honour and personal to the recipient.

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In compiling and revising this short history of the Company I am indebted to the considerable help given by The Selection Panel, Past Master Sir George White Bt, Keeper of the Collection and Library, the late Group Captain Peter Gibson MBE, Clerk to the Company, and Joe Buxton, Clerk to the Company 2005-2013, both in supplying factual information and in correcting the script.


Dr Colin R. Lattimore OBE, JP.
Past Master


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