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My honorary livery dinner as master


The 350th anniversary of the Clockmakers' Company
George Daniels Master watchmaker
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To celebrate the 350th birthday of the Company, we formed a ways and means committee to decide what we were going to do and how we were going to do it and one section of it was a subcommittee on publications and I was put on that committee. And Frank Francis, Sir Frank Francis, the British Museum keeper was our leader in our section and it became apparent to me as the months went by that we weren't going to publish anything at all. He didn't seem to take it seriously. Mind you, it wasn't a very serious thing, but we did want something... we'd said we would publish. And so, not wishing to be associated with a failure, I went right through the company archives and picked out the names of all the freemen, liverymen and brothers and masters and assistants and all that since 1631 and had them all put into a book, hardbound and offered it to the Company as our publication. They were delighted to get a publication. Some of them, like Dick Pennyfellow, who was a River Plate war hero, said it looked a bit like a bloody telephone book, but then of course war heroes are not very academically minded and they don't understand the purpose of such a thing, so that didn't matter very much. His brother, who was clerk to the company, thought it was a marvellous thing to have and he doubted that any other company could produce such a list, which may have been another way of saying no one would have been daft enough to do such a thing. But still it exists and we know who were those liverymen up till that time.

George Daniels, CBE, DSc, FBHI, FSA (19 August 1926 - 21 October 2011) was an English watchmaker most famous for creating the co-axial escapement. Daniels was one of the few modern watchmakers who could create a complete watch by hand, including the case and dial. He was a former Master of the Clockmakers' Company of London and had been awarded their Gold Medal, a rare honour, as well as the Gold Medal of the British Horological Institute, the Gold Medal of the City of London and the Kullberg Medal of the Stockholm Watchmakers’ Guild.

Listeners: Roger Smith

Roger Smith was born in 1970 in Bolton, Lancashire. He began training as a watchmaker at the age of 16 at the Manchester School of Horology and in 1989 won the British Horological Institute Bronze Medal. His first hand made watch, made between 1991 and 1998, was inspired by George Daniels' book "Watchmaking" and was created while Smith was working as a self-employed watch repairer and maker. His second was made after he had shown Dr Daniels the first, and in 1998 Daniels invited him to work with him on the creation of the 'Millennium Watches', a series of hand made wrist watches using the Daniels co-axial escapement produced by Omega. Roger Smith now lives and works on the Isle of Man, and is considered the finest watchmaker of his generation.

Tags: The Worshipful Company of Clockmakers, British Museum, River Plate, Sir Frank Chalton Francis

Duration: 1 minute, 49 seconds

Date story recorded: May 2003

Date story went live: 24 January 2008