Discover more about our collections, our exhibitions and what there is to see during your visit.
The museum collection comprises of approximately 8,000 – 10,000 clocks, watches and other timepieces, tools, instruments, photographs and archives containing over 5,000- 6,000 valuable documents, plus a library containing approximately 4,000- 5,000 books.
The collection has its origins in the foundation of the British Horological Institute (BHI) in 1858, when members of the Institute began collecting clocks, watches and other timepieces and artefacts to support the education of clock and watchmakers. 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 R.F. Scot, clocks that were made as early as the 17th century, plus examples of all four British speaking clocks.
At present there is a large-scale project to create an inventory which fully documents and catalogues the collection. Due to the historic nature of the collection and varied standards of collections documentation and paperwork utilised over time, this is complex project is likely to take some years to complete. In the long run this will help improve access to the collection and also support new ways of using the collection in exhibitions, events and wider activities.
In addition to the galleries mentioned below, the entrance hall, the shop and the library have an array of objects to see and enjoy.
From electric clocking-in machines, the earth driven clock and Magneta clocks, those interested in electrical horology will find this space a delight.
Grand Hall & Upper Gallery
Ground & First Floor
Exploring the development of the longcase clock, from monastic clocks to regulators, this room is filled with decorative, elaborate and mesmerising examples that chime and ring on the hour
Speaking Clock Gallery
All four models of the British Speaking clock are in working order. From this gallery you can hear various voices declaring, ‘At the third stroke, the time will be (hour) (minute) and (second) second’.
Wonder of Watches Gallery
In the ‘Watch Gallery’, pieces illustrating the development of watches, the contributions of women, how science, warfare and the making of watches changed over time are displayed alongside interactive panels and escapement models.
Early Timekeeping Gallery
In our most recently curated exhibition, you can examine methods of timekeeping predating mechanical timepieces; including sundials, sand glasses, water clocks and astrolabes.
Blue & Red Corridors
Ground & First Floor
These two spaces include a number of notable examples of turret clock movements and an array of outstanding American, British and European wall clocks.
For more details: