Originally assembled by the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers, the Clockmakers’ Museum is the world’s oldest clock and watch collection. Once located at the Guildhall, it can now be seen on the second floor of the Science Museum in South Kensington. It looks good in its new home, with chronological (naturally) displays of the history of clock and watch-making in London.
The Clockmakers’ Company (a Guild) was founded in London in 1620, with a Royal Charter granted in 1631. The museum contains many beautiful clocks and watches, demonstrating the fine workmanship and beautiful design that helped to make London the centre of the timepiece-making world for several centuries, until it lost out to the cheaper countries of continental Europe.
I liked looking at the beautiful watches and clocks, still working after hundreds of years, and was impressed with the earliest examples of the clockmaker’s craft. There were even sundials! I was particularly fond of the eighteenth and nineteenth century ladies’ pocket watches, beautifully decorated, and was also very interested to see a clock which belonged to the Discovery and was taken to Antarctica.
It was interesting to see how timepieces developed over time, starting out as rather large objects but gradually becoming smaller and smaller, eventually leading to the wristwatch that we know today, although larger clocks have not yet gone out of fashion. The museum ended with a look at current cutting-edge watch technology and design – despite the proliferation of smartphones it doesn’t look as though more traditional timepieces are going to die out any time soon.
Address: Science Museum, Exhibition Road, London, SW7 2DD
Opening Hours: 10-6 Mon-Sat