Blue Plaques

Larcum Kendall Blue Plaque

Larcum Kendal blue plaque

The news recently that a blue plaque, commemorating the birth place of Larcum Kendall, has been unveiled in Charlbury Oxfordshire, 15 miles from where I live, set me thinking about which other English clock and watch makers are remembered in this way.

But first a note about ‘blue plaques’. The blue plaques scheme was started in London in 1866 and has inspired many similar schemes in the UK and around the world. It commemorates the link between notable figures of the past and the buildings in which they lived and worked.

Daniels blue plaque

George Daniels blue plaque

The most recent watchmaker to be honoured with a blue plaque is George Daniels, the plaque is located on his house in the Isle of Man where he lived and worked for many years. It is only the third blue plaque to be awarded on the Isle of Man.

Famous clockmakers from the past have also not been forgotten. Thomas Tompion and George Graham are both buried in Westminster Abbey and there is a blue plaque for them on the site of their workshop in Fleet Street, London.  There is another plaque for Tompion on the forge in Ickwell, Bedfordshire where he lived and worked prior to moving to London around 1664.

Knibb Clockmakers

The Knibb Clockmakers blue plaque

The Knibb family, brothers Samuel, Joseph and John, are all remembered on a plaque in the village of Claydon , Buckinghamshire where they were all born.  Joseph Knibb is the most famous of the three brothers, but as far as I am aware no plaque for him exists in London where he worked.

Famous provincial clockmakers are also remembered by plaques, including Liverpool makers John Wyke and Peter Litherland.

Whitehurst plaque

John Whitehurst blue plaque

Another well known clockmaker, John Whitehurst, is remembered in his home town of Derby. He is one of the very few provincial clockmakers to have had a book written about his life and work. It’s a good book, now out of print, but we usually have copies in stock.

Visitors to Coventry may be interested in the Coventry Watchmakers Heritage Trail, a route with many plaques showing where watchmakers lived and worked, including the last remaining building of the Rotherham factory on Spon Street.

I know of a few more – Thomas Walder and John Harrison, the inventor of the marine chronometer, but I am sure there must be many more clock and watchmakers remembered in this way.  If you know of any others please let me know.

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