Select Page
Horology Symposium – a resilient future for watch and clock making

Horology Symposium – a resilient future for watch and clock making

Hosted by Heritage Crafts and the Museum of Timekeeping

When: Friday 26 April 2024, 10am to 4pm
Where: Museum of Timekeeping, Upton Hall, Newark-on-Trent, NG23 5TE

How do we ensure a resilient future for watch and clock makers, and related horological crafts? Both watch and clock making are listed as endangered on the Red List of Endangered Crafts but we are also aware that there is need for additional research and data on this complex and diverse sector.

We are bringing together traditional makers, restorers, conservators and sector organisations to discuss how we can improve and promote opportunities for upcoming watch and clock makers, and ensure that skills and knowledge are passed on to the next generation.

The aim of the day will be to identify the needs and priorities for the sector and to inform the 2025 edition of the Red List of Endangered Crafts.


Symposium on Precious Metal Skills

Symposium on Precious Metal Skills

When: Tuesday 25 July 2023, 10am to 3.30pm
Where: Somerset House, The Strand, London WC2R 1LA
Cost: Entry to this event is free and refreshments will be provided.

Heritage Crafts and the The Royal Mint are bringing together expert practitioners in precious metal crafts from a broad industry base to Somerset House to create a consensus across the industry of what is required to support at-risk skills.

The symposium will aim to raise awareness and drive support for at-risk skills within precious metal crafts such as gold and silversmithing, medal making, metal thread manufacture, gilding, hand engraving and many others.

The day is supported by the Royal Mint and The Pilgrim Trust and will be opened with a keynote address from Anne Jessopp, CEO of The Royal Mint. The remainder of the day will include talks from practitioners, a panel discussion and breakout discussions on issues affecting skills transmission.

Click here to book


Two new bursaries for trainees experiencing financial hardship

Heritage Crafts, DCA Consulting, Kendrick Hobbs and the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers are delighted to award two new bursaries for heritage crafts trainees experiencing financial hardship.

As the UK undergoes the economic uncertainty of inflation, rising cost of living and spiralling energy costs, these bursaries have been set up to help cover or subsidise the cost of training for someone who would otherwise be prevented from pursuing this career path.

Michael Dickson and Toben LewisMichael Dickson is an 18-year-old horology student from Hertfordshire who has been working on clocks and watches since he was six. Since the age of 14 he has been working with a local horologist to develop his skills and knowledge alongside his schooling. He will use the bursary to study a Foundation Degree in Clocks at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation in Sussex. Michael has ambitious aspirations to teach the theory and practise of repairing English Fusee pocket watches and chronometers.
Michael’s bursary is kindly sponsored by Kendrick Hobbs and the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers.

Toben Lewis is an early-career bookbinder in the remote community of Iona. He will use the bursary to study one-to-one with 2018 Heritage Crafts Trainer of the Year Kathy Abbott, developing and honing his skills in fine binding, which requires a greater level of precision, planning, and competence than most standard bindings. This is a set of skills necessary for any bookbinder in order to have a full practice and be able to accomplish what clients require.
Toben’s bursary is generously sponsored by DCA Consulting.

Heritage Crafts Director Daniel Carpenter said:

“The recent cost of living crisis has meant that, for many of those setting out on their craft careers, high-level training is further beyond their reach than ever before. Huge thanks to DCA Consulting, who for the second year have provided pioneer funding for new ways we can provide real benefit to the heritage crafts sector. Massive thanks also to Kendrick Hobbs and the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers for their vital support.”

Download a copy of the press release


DCA ConsultingAbout DCA Consulting

DCA is one of Britain’s longest established and most experienced firms of cultural consultants. Since 1995 it has worked throughout the UK on new buildings and sites, support for existing organisations in the review and development of their businesses and on strategies for places and projects. DCA works throughout the UK in many sectors, arts, historic buildings and parks, museums, galleries, creative industries, media, learning, community development and regeneration projects.

Kencrick HobbsAbout the Kendrick Hobbs

Kendrick Hobbs is a leading catering consultancy. It is focused on the specialist heritage, cultural, arts, attraction and venue sectors. It supports bespoke projects conceive, plan and deliver hospitality operations. Since 2004 it has supported over 250 projects. It aspires to create opportunities for venues, third party operators and individuals within these to develop craft skills, which in turn support the delivery of compelling food and drink propositions.

Clockmakers CompanyAbout the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers

Founded in 1631, as watch and clockmaking was beginning to flourish in London, the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers remains a champion of excellence in a global trade that is moving from strength to strength. Today, the Company’s activities range from supporting education and skills to inspiring the public through its world-class museum. It is also at the heart of industry networks, offering members access to expertise and opportunities across the world.

Watchmaker Rebecca wins President’s Award


Craig and Rebecca Struthers. Photo by Richard Ivey.

Craig and Rebecca Struthers. Photo by Richard Ivey.

Birmingham-based watchmaker Rebecca Struthers has won the 2021 HCA President’s Award for Endangered Crafts. The prestigious award, and £3,000 bursary, was initiated by Heritage Crafts Association President HRH The Prince of Wales.

The HCA was set up 11 years ago as a national charity to support and safeguard heritage crafts skills, and has become well known for its Red List of Endangered Crafts, the first research of its kind to rank traditional crafts in the UK by the likelihood they would survive the next generation.

The President’s Award trophy was presented to Dr Struthers at a special presentation on Friday 10 September 2021, hosted by The Prince’s Foundation, one of the country’s major providers of training in traditional building skills. The Prince of Wales was in attendance at the presentation, which also saw a trophy awarded to 2020 winners, Paul Jacobs and Jonathan Reid from Ernest Wright Scissors, whose presentation was unable to proceed last year due to COVID restrictions.

HCA President's Award

HCA President’s Award

Between 1630 and 1890, England was the centre of global watchmaking, home to many of the world’s most celebrated watchmakers. By 1793, twenty thousand London watchmakers were part of the city’s population of one million inhabitants, representing around one fiftieth of the population. Today watchmaking is listed as critically endangered on the HCA Red List of Endangered Crafts.

Dr Rebecca Struthers is Director and watchmaker of a traditional watchmaking workshop and studio in Birmingham alongside husband and fellow master watchmaker Craig. They use traditional methods, materials and techniques in the restoration of vintage and antique watches as well as the production of her own timepieces. She is the first, and currently only, watchmaker in the UK to earn a PhD in horology.

Award winners with HRH The Prince of Wales. Photo by Richard Ivey.

Award winners with HRH The Prince of Wales. Photo by Richard Ivey.

Dr Struthers is a Fellow of the British Horological Institute and Royal Society of Arts, a Trustee of the Museum of Timekeeping in Newark, and a Jury Member of the Academy, Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève. She has received over a dozen awards over the years for her craft, design, entrepreneurship and research, and her work has appeared in a range of media including the BBC, New York Times and Wall Street Journal. She is currently writing a non-fiction book for Hodder & Stoughton on the history of time, told through watches, and the way in which they have influenced societies and cultures around the world.

Dr Struthers plans to use the prize to create a free-to-use educational website for anyone with an interest in learning the art of watchmaking. It would list training opportunities and facilities, and allow people to share projects they are currently working on and seek advice and feedback from a watchmaking community. It would also share useful technical information and charts, articles, a reference library and short videos on her own techniques for others to learn from.

Winner Dr Rebecca Struthers said:

“As independent makers the high costs of training a full-time apprentice means that even if it were possible, the apprentice’s pay would be so low that it would be prohibitive to people from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds. The President’s Award has provided us with the foundation to start something we hope will help to break down these boundaries and allow us to share what we do for free, in a manageable way for us. To have such a prestigious beginning for this project is an invaluable start!”

HCA Chair Patricia Lovett MBE said:

“Many people know HRH The Prince of Wales as being a long-time supporter and champion of traditional craft skills, and his passion is all too evident through initiatives such as the HCA President’s Award and The Prince’s Foundation. Dr Struthers and Ernest Wright Scissors are immensely deserving winners and we know that in their hands the prizes will provide a massive boost to the outlook of these critically endangered crafts.”

Jonathan Reid and Paul Jacobs from Ernest Wright Scissors. Photo by Richard Ivey.

Jonathan Reid and Paul Jacobs from Ernest Wright Scissors. Photo by Richard Ivey.

2020 winner Ernest Wright scissor makers was founded in 1902 and reflects everything Sheffield has become famous for – highly skilled craftspeople making supreme quality products.

Following a tragedy in 2018, the company went into receivership and the critically endangered craft of scissor making was on the verge of disappearing from Sheffield. Paul Jacobs and Jan Bart Fanoy took action and bought the company, re-hired the remaining master putter-togetherers, Cliff Denton and Eric Stones, and took on several ‘putters’ in training. The factory is now back in action, with the prize used to repair machinery so that their putter-in-training can learn the craft from Cliff and Eric.

Click here to see details of this year’s finalists, including hat plaiter Veronica Main and wallpaper maker Hugh Dunford-Wood.

Click here to read more about the President’s Award trophies.