Time is fleeting…..

Re-assembly at LMDC
Harrison clock movement being prepared for transport
Hindley telescope in its showcase for Keeping Time 

Matthew Read preparing the telescope for transport

The “Keeping Time” exhibition at Fairfax House, York, ended on 30 December 2012, and Friday 4 January 2013 two of the star items, the John “Longitude” Harrison clock, of 1727, from Leeds Museums and Galleries, and the Henry Hindley telescope, of 1742, from Burton Constable Hall, were dismantled and prepared for transport with the expert help of Matthew Read, clocks programme tutor at West Dean College, and one of his students, Tim Hughes. The Harrison clock is safely back at Leeds Museum Discovery Centre. The Hindley telescope is at West Dean College now for an extensive programme of conservation and recording, a project that is being funded by a very generous donor, Josie Rowland. The telescope has been blogged about before, it is of tremendous importance within the history of scientific instruments, being the first-ever equatorially mounted telescope, with some technical details about the thread-cutting that has even Matthew a little puzzled. The full dismantling, recording and analysis should be very revealing. The other one made by Hindley is at the Science Museum. There will be blogs about this project as it progresses. The aim is to share the information gained as widely as possible, and to that end a study day is planned, as are papers for Antiquarian Horology Society, and the Scientific Instrument Society. Its display and interpretation at Burton Constable Hall will be informed by what is revealed, as well as the historic context. The dance of communication between curator, conservator and education specialists is what creates the unique offer for visitors that great museums aspire to, and the curatorial committee at Burton Constable Hall, of which I am a member, is looking forward to making the most of this unique and significant navigational and astronomical instrument.

Antiquarian Horological Society
Scientific Instrument Society
West Dean College
Burton Constable Hall
Equatorial mounts

Posted by Ian Fraser

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