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WORSHIPFUL COMPANY OF CLOCKMAKERS

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 CLC/L/CD
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
  Click here to find out how to view this collection at https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/things-to-do/london-metropolitan-archives/Pages/ ›
Full title: WORSHIPFUL COMPANY OF CLOCKMAKERS
Date(s): 1503-1992
Level of description: Collection
Extent: 246 production units
Name of creator(s): Worshipful Company of Clockmakers

Context

Administrative/Biographical history:

Large clocks for churches were made by blacksmiths, therefore early clockmakers belonged to the Blacksmiths' Company. A separate Clockmakers Company received their charter in 1631. The Company also has ordinances dating from 1631/2. A prize is given annually to the best horological student.

The Board of Longitude had been established in 1714 by Act of Parliament to award a prize for the reliable judgement of longitude, and John Harrison (with the help of his son William, 1728-1815) completed a number of longitude time keepers and watches to ultimately win the prize.

Content

Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers, 1503 - 1992, including copies of charters and bye-laws; Court and committee minute books; financial accounts; lists of liverymen; registers of freemen; registers of freedom admissions; registers of apprentice bindings; papers relating to duties and taxes on clocks and watches; papers relating to patents, hallmarks and foreign imports; letter books; Clerk's papers and papers relating to charities. Please note there is no public access to Ms 2710/17-20, Ms 20384 or Ms 22353 without permission from the Company.

The collection includes a number of papers of John Harrison (1693-1776), describing his construction of longitude timekeepers and watches. These papers were catalogued at various dates from 1918 by members of Guildhall Library staff. The records include description, with plans, by John Harrison, of his first longitude timekeeper or"sea clock"; papers relating to the horological inventions of John Harrison, collected by Alexander Cumming (ca. 1732-1814), clockmaker, by virtue of his appointment by Act of Parliament to adjudicate on Harrison's explanation of the mechanisms of his longitude time keeper "H 4"; journal, 1761-6, relating to the testing of John Harrison's chronometer for the determining of longitude at sea in accordance with a statute of 12 Queen Anne, chapt. 15, by Walter Williams; essays, notes and calculations by John Harrison, and his son William Harrison; and letters mainly from William Harrison, statements, cases etc relating to the tests at sea of John Harrison's longitude watches and his efforts to win an award from the Board of Longitude. PLEASE NOTE: Permission is required from the Company for photocopies or photography of Harrison material (whether for private study or for publication). All requests for reproductions for the purposes of publication should also be referred to the Company. More information is available from staff.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING ACCESS: These records are stored at the Guildhall Library site rather than the LMA Clerkenwell site. Researchers wishing to access these records should do so at the Guildhall Library Rare Books table. The Library is open Monday to Saturday, 9:30 to 16:45. Researchers will need to have an Archives History Card or a Library Readers Card. An archivist will be available at Guildhall Library on Thursday mornings to answer any queries.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:
English

System of arrangement:

As the archive is large and complex, and to assist the user, the catalogue has been arranged in sections, each with an archival classification code as follows:
CLC/L/CD/A Constitutional records
CLC/L/CD/B Court records
CLC/L/CD/C Membership records
CLC/L/CD/D Financial records
CLC/L/CD/E Trade records
CLC/L/CD/F Clerk's records
CLC/L/CD/G Charities and estates.

Conditions governing access:

These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information may be subject to access restrictions.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION REGARDING ACCESS: These records are stored at the Guildhall Library site rather than the LMA Clerkenwell site. Researchers wishing to access these records should do so at the Guildhall Library Rare Books table. The Library is open Monday to Saturday, 9:30 to 16:45. Researchers will need to have an Archives History Card or a Library Readers Card. An archivist will be available at Guildhall Library on Thursday mornings to answer any queries. For further information please see LMA Research Guide "Consulting Archives at Guildhall Library", available at http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/Corporation/LGNL_Services/Leisure_and_culture/Records_and_archives/Visitor_information/free_information_leaflets.htm

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright: Depositor.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at: http://search.lma.gov.uk/opac_lma/index.htm

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

These items, and other records of the Company, have been deposited with the Manuscripts Section of Guildhall Library at various dates since 1922. The Manuscripts Section merged with London Metropolitan Archives in 2008. The records have been catalogued by various members of staff over many years.

Allied Materials

Related material:

The Printed Books Section of Guildhall Library holds the printed works of the former Clockmakers' Library. The Company has never had a hall, but its collection of clocks and watches is currently held in a museum in Guildhall Library.


Publication note:

For further details of the printed and manuscript library of the Company, see John Bromley ed., The Catalogue of the Books and Manuscripts in the Library of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers (1977). For a history of the Company see Some account of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers of the City of London (1881) by S.E. Atkins and H.C. Overall. The story of John Harrison's endeavours, details of the timekeepers and watches and further available sources are given in Humphrey Quill's John Harrison, the man who found longitude (1966) and Dava Sobel, Longitude, the true story of a lone genius who solved the greatest scientific problem of his time (1995). A number of other printed works are available on Harrison and longitude as part of the Clockmakers' Company Library, now deposited with the Printed Books Section of Guildhall Library.

For further information relating to Livery Companies, particularly using the company records for family history, please see Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section "Livery Company Membership Guide" and Guildhall Library Manuscripts Section "Leaflet Guides to Records: Searching for Members or those apprenticed to Members of City of London Livery Companies" (both available online).

For a general introduction to the history of the City of London Livery Companies please see entry in The London Encyclopaedia, ed Ben Weinreb and Christopher Hibbert.

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Oct-09

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