The Guildhall Library is open by prior appointment only. Please visit the Guildhall Library website for details of how to visit.
The Worshipful Company of Clockmakers has preserved records about its business since its inception in 1631. These include its minutes, financial accounts, registers for Freemen and for apprentice bindings, as well as various papers relating to the Company's involvement within the trade. It also holds papers relating to John Harrison and his marine timekeepers, and has deposited workbooks and papers relating to a number of horological businesses, organisations and personal collections. This archive of material is large and complex and is managed by London Metropolitan Archive (LMA). A full breakdown of its contents (including a downloadable pdf) is available via the LMA Collections Catalogue website here. Although the LMA is located in Clerkenwell, the majority of our archive is housed in and accessed through the Guildhall Library.
The Guildhall Library also holds the Clockmakers’ collection of horological books and pamphlets, along with the library of the Antiquarian Horological Society. Together these form one of the most comprehensive collections of books on horology, accessible to the public. To search online for a book from either of these collections please visit the City of London Library Catalogue.
For details of how to visit the archive and library, please check the Guildhall Library website.
At present the majority of the information held within the Clockmakers archive is only accessible by visiting the archive itself. It is our ambition to make more resources available in a searchable format to the public online in the near future. Please click on the tabs below for currently available digitised records
Some Account of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers of the City of London by Samuel Elliott Atkins and William Henry Overall, is a definitive history of the Company published in 1881 – The book runs to 346 pages, and covers in detail the Charter and bye-laws, the arms, seals, badges; the formation and operation of the Court, the establishment of a Livery, details of historic meeting places, feasts, the Company’s plate, the many charities, the historic practice of regulating the trade, and much more. The Charter and bye-laws remain in full effect today, and their detail and explanation can be understood best in this comprehensive account.
The Company of Clockmakers Register of Apprentices 1631-1931 by Charles Edward Atkins was published in 1931 to celebrate the tercentenary of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers. Atkins examined the Company's records stretching back through the previous 300 years, and compiled a list of all the apprentices who had been registered with the Company. This book is a useful reference for anyone interested in finding out details for many clock- or watchmakers based in and around London. The majority of the records give details of the master they were apprenticed to and the start date of the apprenticeship. Occasionally additional details are found, including their master's occupation, addresses and cost of apprenticeship.
Library and Archive
London, EC2V 7HH
- Opening times:
Monday: 10.00-16.00 (last entry 15.30
Tuesday: 10.00-16.00 (last entry 15.30)
Wednesday: 10.00-16.00 (last entry 15.30)
Thursday: 10.00-16.00 (last entry 15.30)
The Clockmakers of London Book
The Clockmakers of London tells the story of London as a watch and clockmaking centre, charting the evolution of the Company and its world-famous collection.