About the Instructorrod


My grandfather died when I was seven.  We lived in Southport England.  He owned three grandfather clocks.  About a year after he died, I asked my mother what happened to the grandfather clocks.  She said they were distributed to the grandchildren.  I said “where is mine?”  She said I think auntie Florrie got one. 

Next time we were visiting auntie Florrie, I said to her “you got my grandfather clock” in a way only an 8 year old could without being disrespectful.  I caught her off guard, but she replied, I could have it when the time was right.

As a kid, whenever I saw an old clock at a jumble sale or going cheap, I would buy it and take it apart to see how it worked.  I don’t think I ever got one back together again but I enjoyed tinkering with them.

Twenty years later when I was getting married, now living in the USA, auntie Florrie wrote to me saying I could now have the clock.

I arranged to have the clock shipped over and it was proudly placed in the entrance hall to my home.  It was built in about 1880 in Maghul England by a local clockmaker, had a stately mahogany case, hand painted dial and ran nicely.

After a few years it stopped.  I was frustrated I did not know what was wrong with it or how to get it going.  I ended up having it serviced by a local repair shop and it ran again.  I was fascinated with the clock.

In 2005, my family decided to spend a year in England including putting the kids in school.  It was a big challenge to arrange to swap houses with an English family.  Finally we were settled and the kids started school, my wife was volunteering at a local charity shop and suddenly I had time on my hands. 

I read the paper that morning and came across an ad for a clock course starting nearby at Manchester City College.  I called the college and they told me it was a three year course, one day per week.  I explained I was only in the country for one year, so I persuaded them to let me take the course, coming all three days. 

I enjoyed the course and did very well.  The final exam took several weeks, making a ‘suspension bridge’ from scratch to exact specifications, restoring an old clock and documenting the process and sitting an extensive final exam all set by BHI [British Horological Institute].  I did pass the exams and became a [hobby] Horologist. 

20 years later I teach clock repair classes.