Founded in 1631, The Worshipful Company of Clockmakers is the oldest surviving horological institute in the world. Its museum constitutes the oldest collection specifically of clocks, watches and sundials in existence.
John Harrison’s personal time keeper
Our Hero, John Harrison
The museum is also home to John Harrison’s personal regulator clock ca. 1725 , made almost entirely of wood – including the movement. Correct within 1 second a month, this was the most accurate clock in the world for many years to come.
If you notice in the photo, there is a handwritten table of data. Harrison utilized this data, probably written in his own hand (!) when testing his sea clocks.
The most famous (and largest) tower clock in the world: the Big Ben Westminster clock in London. In point of fact, Big Ben is actually the nickname for the bell that rings inside the tower. The clock itself is actually the Great Clock of Westminster.
Many of you have seen this in person, but we would be remiss if we didn’t include it. For residents of the UK, it is possible to request, through the office of your MP, a tour inside the clock tower. Oh, how we’d love to see the clock movement up close! I am an English citizen, but I live in America, so am not eligible. Ugh!
This is undoubtedly ‘Mecca’ to any serious horologists: the Royal Observatory Greenwich.
It is the home of John Harrison’s marine clocks, generally regarded as the most important time pieces ever made! Four of his masterpieces are on display here: H1, H2, H3, and H4. (H5 is at the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers at Guild Hall.) The museum does not allow photography so I have included publicity photos of each timepiece.
Greenwich Mean Time
Greenwich is the location of the Prime Meridian. The Prime Meridian is the meridian (line of longitude) at which longitude is defined to be 0°.