After being closed since 2014, the Clockmakers' Museum collection, the oldest clock and watch collection in the world, will have a new home at the Science Museum from October.
The unique collection includes 600 watches and 30 clocks. Established in 1814, the majority of the Clockmakers' Collection dates from between 1600 and 1850. Among the historical trove are 15 marine timekeepers, including the celebrated 1770 H5 made by John Harrison. (You think Apple were onto a new thing with the iPhone 6? It took Harrison five versions and an intervention by the King to finally secure the Longitude reward.)
The Clockmakers' Collection will now be housed at the Science Museum's Measuring Time gallery. Regular visitors will be familiar with its beautiful handcrafted clocks, watches and sundials as well as their early electrical clocks.
The Science Museum has the third oldest clock in the world, dating from 1392 (on loan from Wells Cathedral) on display, as well as a 1500-year-old Byzantine sundial-calendar, the second oldest surviving geared mechanism.
We can't help wondering if this amalgamation might result in the loss of some of the detail about the clockmakers themselves. After all, the Clockmakers' collection at the Guildhall was assembled by the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers, and traced their stories. Hopefully the Science Museum will have space to dedicate to the histories of remarkable men like David Ramsay, Edward East, George Graham, John Harrison et al.
The Clockmakers' Museum collection will be on display at the Science Museum from 23 October. Visit sciencemuseum.org.uk/clocks to find out more.