The Clockmakers’ Museum & Library

Bookcase 2

The Museum in 1817

The Clockmakers’ Company Library was founded in 1813. It consisted at first of the ancient manuscripts of the Company on which most standard reference works about British clockmakers have since been based.

The Clockmakers’ Museum is open to the public in a special gallery on the 2nd floor of The Science Museum. Entrance is free.

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It soon grew to include many printed books, often presented by their authors, or annotated by famous clock and watchmakers. It is now celebrated for its holding of rare clockmakers’ workbooks and related documents (such as Victor Kullberg’s Records and many 18th century holograph manuscripts by John Harrison).

The Old Clock Room

The Old Clock Room

In 1925, by agreement with the Corporation of London, the Clockmakers’ Library was placed in the City of London’s Guildhall Library, so that it could be made freely available for consultation by the public.  It has remained there ever since.

The Clockmakers’ Collection was begun in 1814 and


Looking down the new gallery at The Science Museum

is therefore the oldest collection specifically of clocks and watches in the world.  It has been on permanent public display since 1874 (also at Guildhall in the City of London) but in October 2015 it moved to The Science Museum.

The Collection is situated in a new gallery on the second floor of the Science Museum and is free to visit.  It contains at any one time some 600 English and European watches, 30 clocks and 15 marine timekeepers, together with a number of rare horological portraits. The majority of items in the Collection range from c.1600 to c.1850.  The Bridgeman Art Library have images of many of them.

The Harrison case on the left contains “H5”, to the right is the work of Mudge, Arnold, Earnshaw and their contemporaries

The Harrison case on the left contains “H5”, to the right is the work of Mudge, Arnold, Earnshaw and their contemporaries

Perhaps the most important group within the Collection is the marine timekeepers, illustrating the importance of horology in the science of navigation. Examples are a marine timekeeper of 1724 by Henry Sully, a silver deck watch by Thomas Earnshaw (used by Captain George Vancouver in the discovery by Europeans of the Island now bearing his name) and the celebrated 5th marine timekeeper made by John Harrison and completed in 1770.

Horological Curiosities

Horological Curiosities

A second edition of the richly illustrated booklet The Clockmakers of London, an account of the Company and its Collection, was published by the Company in February 2018, and is available from the website Book Shop or on application to The Clerk of the Company,

Any application for physical examination of an object in The Clockmakers’ Collection should be made to
The Curator

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see also … The Watch & Clock Collection page >>

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The Clockmakers of London

New 88 page edition of “The Clockmakers of London” now published by Sir George White, with substantially revised text and a large number of stunning new illustrations. Read more about it  …. & you can buy it for £15 on this link.

Training to be a Clockmaker?

If you are looking for information about the training opportunities for a career in clock and watchmaking, see A HELPING HAND FOR STUDENTS Further details can be obtained from clerk@clockmakers.org

Antiquarian Horological Society (AHS) Lectures

A formal affiliation was signed in 2014 between the WCC and the AHS. WCC Liverymen and Freemen are encouraged to attend the excellent AHS Lectures, which are free to WCC members and include teas before and wine afterwards, so are very social and interesting events. List of forthcoming lectures in London is on the AHS site.

National Benevolent Society of Watch & Clock Makers