There are currently over two thousand clocks, watches and other artefacts on display in the museum and the reserve collection.
This collection has its origins in the foundation of the BHI in 1858 when members of the Institute began a tradition of donating many rare and valuable clocks, watches and other timepieces and artefacts to support the education of fellow horologists. Since 1971 the collection has been housed in Upton Hall, a beautiful Grade 2 listed country house.[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section][et_pb_section bb_built=”1″ prev_background_color=”#000000″ next_background_color=”#000000″][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type=”4_4″][et_pb_blurb _builder_version=”3.0.92″ url_new_window=”off” use_icon=”off” use_circle=”off” use_circle_border=”off” icon_placement=”top” use_icon_font_size=”off” background_layout=”light” saved_tabs=”all”]
minuscule and colossal
From minuscule mechanisms and precision engineering to colossal constructions and atomic devices, the many highlights of this collection include the first successful electric timepiece, the personal watch of Captain Scott of the Antarctic, and no less than two speaking clocks.
The Speaking Clock
BT (British Telecommunications plc) donated the original Speaking Clock machines from 1936 and 1963 to the museum, where they had been on loan and on display for almost thirty years. In October 2016 BT also donated a digital Mark IV Clock, from 1985 which was recovered from Liverpool.
David Hay, head of BT Heritage, said: “Eighty years ago BT’s technology first created the Speaking Clock and it remains a much loved part of British life today. Celebrating in this way demonstrates BT’s determination to preserve the heritage of the world’s oldest communications company on behalf of the nation.”
An example of the first Speaking Clock of 1936 (Mark I) is held at the BHI Museum, and was voiced by Ethel Cain, a telephone exchange operator from Croydon. She won the original 1936 Speaking Clock competition, after being selected from a total of 15,000 female telephonists who were in Post Office employment at the time.
Britain’s second Speaking Clock (Mark III), also held at the BHI museum, was released in 1963, taking over from the 1936 machine. It was voiced by Pat Simmons, a supervisor at a London telephone exchange who won a second internal Post Office competition, with a reward of £500, to become the next voice of the Speaking Clock.
This new donation, courtesy of BT, will see a third Speaking Clock join the Museum. In 1985 this Speaking Clock (Mark IV) took over from the 1963 machine. It was voiced by Brian Cobby, a voiceover artist and assistant supervisor at a telephone exchange in Brighton, who won a third competition amongst Post Office Employees.
As a result of the donation of the Mark IV Clock, the BHI Museum will be able to tell the full story of the Speaking Clock from its initiation in 1936 through to the takeover of the current Speaking Clock in 2007. The present machine, located in London, is currently voiced by Sara Mendes da Costa, who won a public fundraising competition ran by BT for Children In Need 2006, to become the Speaking Clock’s fourth voice.
The donation is being made in celebration of the 80th anniversary of the release of the first Speaking Clock in 1936, alongside BT’s launch of a new competition giving people across the UK the chance to go down in history and become the new permanent voice of the iconic BT Speaking Clock, as announced on the BBC’s The One Show. Aspiring voice artists should visit www.bbc.co.uk/theoneshow where they will find full details of how to enter. The competition closes at 10pm on Monday 29 August 2016.
Ashley Strachan, chairman of the British Horological Museum Trust, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to accept the donation of the Speaking Clocks from BT. We’ve been proud to be custodians of the Mark I and Mark III machines on loan since the late 1980s, with both pieces regularly stealing the show during Museum events. The arrival of the Mark IV machine, which features the Speaking Clock’s only male voice, will complete the BHI Museum’s set of voices. Once the machine is up and running with the help of our expert team of horologists, we hope to be the only place in the world where three different Speaking Clocks can be both seen and heard and look forward to unveiling this generous donation to Museum visitors courtesy of BT.”[/et_pb_blurb][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section][et_pb_section bb_built=”1″ fullwidth=”off” specialty=”off” _builder_version=”3.0.92″ background_color=”#ffffff” custom_margin=”10px|0px|0px|0px” custom_padding=”0px|0px|0px|0px” prev_background_color=”#000000″ global_module=”83″][et_pb_row global_parent=”83″ background_position=”top_left” background_repeat=”repeat” background_size=”initial” _builder_version=”3.0.92″ background_color=”#444d53″ module_alignment=”center” custom_padding=”10px|10px|10px|10px”][et_pb_column type=”1_4″][et_pb_image global_parent=”83″ _builder_version=”3.0.92″ src=”https://www.museumoftimekeeping.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/MOT-Logo-White.png” show_in_lightbox=”off” url_new_window=”off” use_overlay=”off” always_center_on_mobile=”on” force_fullwidth=”off” show_bottom_space=”on” align=”left” module_alignment=”left” custom_margin=”20px|||20px” /][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”1_4″][et_pb_text global_parent=”83″ _builder_version=”3.0.92″ background_layout=”dark” text_font_size=”9px” text_text_color=”#fab42a” text_line_height=”1.5em” custom_margin=”20px|||”]
Museum of Timekeeping
Upton Hall, Upton
T: 01636 817601
Partners & Supporters:[/et_pb_text][et_pb_image global_parent=”83″ _builder_version=”3.0.92″ src=”https://www.museumoftimekeeping.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/partnersandsupporters-logos3.png” show_in_lightbox=”off” url_new_window=”off” use_overlay=”off” always_center_on_mobile=”on” force_fullwidth=”off” show_bottom_space=”on” custom_margin=”0px|||” custom_padding=”0px|||” max_width=”80%” /][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]