Thwaites & Reed

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Thwaites & Reed
Type Private
Industry Clocks
Founded 1740
Headquarters Rottingdean,
Brighton,
East Sussex,
England
Products clocks
Website www.thwaites-reed.co.uk
Clock from Thwaites & Reed, 1817, now in Hessenpark, Germany

Thwaites & Reed has been in continuous manufacture since its foundation and claims to be the oldest clock manufacturing company in the world. Geoffrey Buggins MBE, the last of the original family clockmakers, saw drawings of Thwaites clocks dating back to 1610. These drawings and other early records prior to 1780 went missing but other records from that date are on loan to the London Metropolitan Archives where the public have access.

For 30 years, it maintained all the clocks at the Palace of Westminster, including the Great Clock. Other than Thwaites & Reed, associated tradenames are Aynsworth Thwaites, John Thwaites, and was trade supplier of movements to many well known historic clockmakers including Dutton, Dwerrihouse, Ellicott and Vulliamy and in more recent times well known retailers including The Franklin Mint, Asprey and Garrards. During its ownership by FW Elliott Ltd it also made movements under the Elliott brand.

History[edit]

John Thwaites was a clockmaker at the beginning of the 17th century and from this extended family Aynsworth Thwaites founded the business now known as Thwaites & Reed in Rosoman Street, Clerkenwell, London in 1740,[1] and continued there until 1780. Thereafter the firm traded from Bowling Green Lane. The company's earliest recorded commission and still in use, was a turret clock for Horseguards Parade made in 1740 but not finished until 1768, and a domestic long-clock about 1770 for the British East India Company. The complexity of the Horseguards clock is the result of many previous years clockmaking experience but older work has not been identified. Aynsworth was succeeded by John Thwaites, who was head of the firm from 1780 to 1816,[1] and master of the Clockmakers' Company in 1815, 1819, and 1820.[2] In 1816, Thwaites partnered with George Jeremiah Reed, and the firm became Thwaites & Reed. John Thwaite remained at the firm's head until 1842.[1] The firm of John Moore was acquired in 1899. In 1969 the family firm brought in outsiders to manage its business culminating in the British Government acquiring control of Thwaites & Reed. In 1978 it was acquired from the Government by FW Elliott Ltd who owned Thwaites & Reed Limited until it was sold in 1991 to Melvyn Lee. The historic documents on loan to the London Metropolitan Archives (ref MS 6788-6808) cover the periods from 1780 to 1955. Dunstable Town Council archives had a catalogue of turret clocks made up to 1878 and there is a later incomplete list showing the date of supply and purchasers of turret clocks to 1902. Up to 1900, 2978 domestic clocks were made with serial numbers in chronological order.[3] Other clocks were not listed but from 1972 to 1980 10 types of replica clocks with serial numbers from 1 to 1000 were made as a limited editions.

Clocks[edit]

  • Clock at Horseguards Parade (1756)
  • East India Company, India (1770)[1]
  • The Royal Clock in the Queen Victoria Building in Sydney, Australia.
  • Bracken House Clock with Zodiac Calendar and Churchill's face emblazoned on it (1955?) - Bracken House, former home of the Financial Times)
  • Royal Small Arms Clock Tower [4] (c 1783)
  • Clock at All Saints Church, Wokingham (1817) [5]
  • St. John's Church, Parramatta, NSW, Australia - clock in north tower (1821)
  • Holy Trinity Old Church, Margate (1845) [6]
  • St. George Tabernacle, St. George, Utah,[7]
  • Prince Albert Memorial Clocktower, Hastings - Gothic style (1864)[8]
  • Bow Bells at St Mary-le-Bow electric clock mechanism (1961)[9]
  • Fortnum & Mason of Piccadilly, with automata jacks of the founders, Fortnum & Mason in 19th Century costumes. (1964)
  • Mast House Clock, Simon's Town Naval Base, South Africa (1816)

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Thwaites & Reed.

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Clock and watch-making", British History Online, retrieved 2006-12-19 .
  2. ^ List of Masters, Worshipful Company of Clockmakers, retrieved 2007-05-21 .
  3. ^ Buggins, GTE; Turner, AJ, The Context of Production, Identification and Dating of Clocks by A. and J. Thwaites 
  4. ^ Royal Small Arms Island Centre, Accessed 2006-12-19
  5. ^ All Saints Church, Wokingham, Accessed 2006-12-19
  6. ^ Holy Trinity Old Church, Accessed 2006-12-19
  7. ^ St. George Tabernacle, Accessed 2006-12-19
  8. ^ Prince Albert Memorial Clocktower, Hastings Choice, Accessed 2006-12-19
  9. ^ St Mary-le-Bow, accessed 2006-12-19

References[edit]

  • Industries: Clock and watch-making, A History of the County of Middlesex, 2: General; Ashford, East Bedfont with Hatton, Feltham, Hampton with Hampton Wick, Hanworth, Laleham, Littleton, 1911, pp. 158–65 .