An exhibition has opened at Guildhall Library to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Clockmakers’ Company Library, by showing you some of the treasures from the collection.
The Clockmakers’ Company was established by royal charter in 1631 to include all those following the trade of clockmaking in the City of London or within ten miles of the City. Their Library formally began in 1814 when the watchmaker and Freeman, F J Barraud, suggested that the Company should assemble a library of books on horology.
“That it is expedient that this Company should possess, and from time to time procure such Books, Pamphlets and Tracts as have been written and published respecting or appertaining to the subject of the Art placed under the government of this Corporation.”
Court of Assistants 2nd November, 1813
By the 1850s the collection had grown considerably and Samuel Atkins, Clerk of the Company, suggested public access could be improved if the collection moved to the new Guildhall Library.
“The Corporation of London are building a magnificent Library and Museum which is fast approaching completion, and which I believe will be second to none in the kingdom, and my proposition is, if it meet with the concurrence of the Court, to open negotiations for their reception by the Corporation…whereby they would be at all times open to the Public, and those interested in horological matters”
Extract from Atkins’ letter December 5th 1871
The Court agreed and the Company deposited its Library in 1873. Interest in the collection has remained high ever since.
The exhibition to celebrate 200 years of the Clockmakers’ Library is open until the 17th January 2014 and visitors are recommended to combine it with a visit to the Clockmakers’ Museum, which is also in the building.
Guildhall Library is a public reference library and visitors are very welcome to consult books from the Clockmakers’ or Antiquarian Horological Society’s libraries on production of proof of name and address. Items from these libraries can be found on our catalogue www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/librarycatalogue