BHI Summer Show 2013

by Jayne Hall

The BHI's Annual Summer Show took place on Friday 14, Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 June and celebrated the tercentenary of the death of  Thomas Tompion – the ‘Father of English Clockmaking’.

To mark the occasion, a late 17th/early 18th century workshop was recreated in the Ballroom, manned by Jim Arnfield FBHI (complete in period costume) and his team, to give visitors a fascinating insight into how watches were produced centuries ago and the types of equipment used.

Over the three days visitors from all over the country, and from as far away as Argentina and the United States, enjoyed the many horological displays and exhibitions. Once again, we were pleased to welcome the team from Big Ben who were on hand to explain the workings of Britain's most iconic clock, along with other timepieces in their care at the Palace of Westminster.

In the Clock Workshop the BHI's Conservation Group described and showed examples of their work, while over in the Watch Workshop visitors had the chance to test the accuracy of their own timepieces, with Mervin Selley FBHI, Mervyn Hobden and Richard Thomas MBHI all taking turns to operate the equipment.

In the Bateman Room, John Moorhouse MBHI brought along his Engine Turning Exhibition, Colin Reynolds FBHI presented a very informative Gents display and Colin Fergusson MBHI showcased the work of the Harrison Group. Timed talks on the History of the BHI, Upton Hall, and other horological topics ran continously through the weekend.

On Sunday our VIP guests, BHI President Anthony Randall FBHI and the Master of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers', Professor Paul Jarrett FRCS, unveiled the newly restored portrait of Tompion, by Sir Godfrey Kneller, which now hangs proudly in the Grand Hall.

One of the highlights of the weekend was the Notts/Derbys Branch Grand Horological Auction, with over 600 lots, including the workshop contents and collection of  Otto von Bertele, and jewellers/watchmakers Murch & Sons. Auction Organiser Paul Shrouder FBHI said: ‘It was a fantastic day – grossing over £45,000, with some real bargains to be had.’

BHI Chairman Ray Walford said: ‘Although we were disappointed by the turn out for the first two days, Sunday more than made up for it. All in all it was a very good Show. I would like to say a big thank you to all our volunteers – we couldn't run an event like this without them.’