The Clockmakers Museum

Address: Guildhall. 

Opening hours: The Museum is generally open from Monday to Saturday each week (except public holidays and the Saturdays before Bank Holiday Mondays) from 9.30 am until 4.45 pm, though it may be closed (briefly) from time to time for re-winding and adjusting the clocks.

Contact: Telephone 0207 332 3859

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The Clockmakers’ Company Library started out in 1813, though the museum collection was put on display a year after. Initially, the library only offered the Company’s ancient manuscripts. Later, it also housed several printed books that were usually donated by the authors to the library. Several books had been annotated by well-known watchmakers and clockmakers. The library is now also home to rare workbooks and documents prepared by clockmakers. Examples of these are the records of Victor Kullberg and the holography manuscripts of John Harrison.

The museum houses horological items, such as clocks and watches. These objects are the property of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers. You will find this museum in Guildhall. Founded in 1814, the collection is the oldest of its kind in the world. However, public viewing was only made possible starting 1874.

The horological items being featured in the museum are mostly from the years 1600 to 1850. Be on the lookout for marine timekeepers, which are considered the most significant inclusions. An especially notable marine timekeeper is the fifth one made by John Harrison back in 1770. The museum does not just display horological items but also relays the story of clock making in London from the early years. You will also find exhibitions of 21st century watches and clocks that have been fashioned by contemporary craftsmen.

The museum came back in 2002 after having been refurbished. To give you an idea about the collection, you should know that it is showcased in one room. There are about 600 European and English watches, as well as 30 clocks and 15 impressive marine timekeepers. There are also some rare portraits following the same horological theme. The collection is permanently on display at the museum.

A visit to the museum is recommended to clock or watch lovers, would-be inventors, people who love steam punk and anyone who is interested in every bit of London history (both history buffs and people who just want to know more trivia). If you are just visiting the city, it would be a worthwhile visit, a little different from the usual trip to the pub, art gallery, the London Eye and the like.

Admission to the Clockmakers Museum is free. So you can bring along the whole family or your whole group of friends. There are some impressive pieces that you just have to see. After all, the museum is home to some historic pieces in the world of horology.