The speaker on 16th January was our member Ian Rendall. Although the title of his talk was advertised as “Who am I?”, as neither he nor his wife could answer the question, he altered it to “Clocking on – a Short History of Clocks”. He started with sundials which still had to be used to check the accuracy of mechanical clocks for many years. Examples of sundials were shown from Chartres, the gnomon outside the Museo Galileo in Florence and the modern dolphin sculpture sundial at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich where the shadow is cast between the two tails. A Greek water clock was shown and a Portuguese “egg- timer” (hourglass) for measuring the length of the four hour maritime watch. Mechanical clocks date back to the 13th Century and many examples were shown with the various types of devices, weight-driven, coiled spring, pendulum, deadbeat escapement, grasshopper escapement, gravity escapement etc. From an early date public clocks were given bells to give audible warning of time. The grandfather clock, or more correctly, the long case clock, was designed to protect the pendulum from interference. Even so, air pressure, humidity and heat could affect timekeeping. Electricity began to be used to power clocks then quartz which uses no moving parts. As society became more sophisticated so time became more important. The Industrial Revolution had a dramatic impact in this respect as did railways. When the first main lines were built Britain kept local time (based on sunrise and sunset times); this varied considerably around the country, which must have made timetabling interesting. The inconvenience this occasioned led to the imposition of Standard Time for the first time. Now, of course, we live by the watch or mobile phone. We are slaves to the clock! We meet at 10:00 every Thursday at The Boathouse, Evesham Rowing Club. Our speaker on 23rd January is John Heathcott on Cotswolds and Voluntary Wardens and on 30th January John McCartney will be speaking about ‘Crocus and Cornflower’. Full details can be found on our website Alan Smith Photo caption: Prague Astronomical Clock Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons/© Jorge Royan / / CC BY-SA 3.0 (no restrictions on usage)