Dec 04 2016


Frank Hope-Jones first came into Horology in 1895 when his revolutionary theories and emphatic pronouncements caused considerable stir in the then somewhat stagnant British horological industry. A brief history of his early years explains how he became interested and involved in the horological world

He was the youngest of a family of nine children. When his father died, Frank was only five years of age and because of changed circumstances he and his family moved from Hooton Grange, Wirral, Cheshire to the rather smaller quarters of a house in Birkenhead , also in Cheshire.

He had a brother, Robert, who was eight years older and who was interested in the beginnings of the telephone and became engaged in the manufacture of electrical instruments. His hobby, however, was church music and having been an accomplished organist since the age of five and later choirmaster and organist at the family church, applied his training as electrician  to the problems of restoring the local organ. This he did to such good effect that he opened an organ factory in premises next to  the old Argyle Music  Hall.


Nov 29 2016


Little song I wrote about my daughter many years ago

” Came home late one evening, children both in bed,
would I go and see them there were stories to be read.
I walked back down the hallway, and halfway up the stairs,
it was then I heard the gentle voice of my little girl in prayer.
“Thank you for my mummy, and thank you for my dad.
Thank you for my little dog, he makes me feel so glad.
Thank you for the sunshine, and thank you for the rain.
Thank you for my brother, though sometimes he’s a pain.
Thank you for my grandma, and for my granddad too.
Thank you for the fields of green, and for the sky so blue.
thank you, Lord for making us a happy family,
and now there is just one more thing.
thank you lord for ME!!”
As I stood there listening a tear came to my eye,
for simple things like that, can make a grown man cry.
If I live to be a hundred, nothing ever will compare,
to that day when I first heard my little girl in prayer.

Repeat verse.


Nov 20 2016


In 1742 a Benjamin Brandreth of Middlewich , a grandfather clocks maker, died inestate, and administration of his goods, etc., was granted in Chester in that year. At the same time, letters of tuition or guardianship, were issued for the upbringing of three minors, Hugh, Benjamin and Obadiah Brandreth, doubtless children of the elder Benjamin. The third child mentiond was probably very young at that time. His name as a grandfather clocks maker of Middlewich , appears in the Chester Directory of 1782, and a will in which he describes himself as  ” of Middlewich, clock maker ” was proved at Chester on the 25th April 1804. An examination of the will, etc. , and the parish register and churchyard gravestones, would doubtless yield further information. There are entries relating to a Benjamin and a Hugh Brandreth, in the printed parish registers of Frodsham and this as well as the reference in the present Query, may infer a connection with that place.


Nov 11 2016

The Old Gas Lamp

When I was a kid I wasn’t very tall
In fact I was small not very tall at all
But in my heart I knew I was a champ
‘Cos outside our house stood  the old Gas Lamp

Got picked on by the bigger kids and often got a clout
Did as I was told me, never had much of a shout
But I knew my spirit they’d never damp
When I had the main prize, The old Gas Lamp.

I’d throw tyres over the top and swing on it with a rope
Use it as a maypole and wash it down with soap
And when night time fell all the kids would camp
under the glow of the the old Gas Lamp

And when we warred with other mobs and horrible names did call
To be rewarded by a clout on the head from big kids ten feet tall
When the battle was over, off we’d tramp and negotiate peace under the old GasLamp

It was not a thing to glory at standing in the street
with graffiti all around it and the smell of a big dog’s feet
but I’ll still remember when I’m old with cramp the pleasure I got from
the old  Gas Lamp


Nov 07 2016


In the Cluny Museum in Paris, where the unique mediaeval collections are housed so aptly in the hotel of the Abbots of Cluny, there is an old English astronomical  bracket clock in an ebony case by Joseph Taylor of ” Nampwitch dans le Cheshire Temps de Louis XIII “. but the following additions will interest present readers who may be glad to know that it has been restored to its old home in Paris.

A letter from the Curator ( translation ) reads ” This clock displays a main dial showing the hours supporting a hollow engraved globe with a mobile dial having the pointer for the hours designed with great skill and displaying the signs of the  zodiac. Above is a dial of the days of the month and in the angles are those of the epact, the golden number, the Dominical letter and the solar cycle. The base below is of engraved copper. Height 28 1/2 ins. Number in catalogue 6801 “


Oct 09 2016

Alec’ Joyous Accouchement

stifled moans in drug-like sleep,
pangs of pain are growing stronger
the womb can’t, in safety, keep
its burden any longer.
in haste, from deep protection,
thrust out into this harsh cold world,
a life. such sweet perfection
in fingers tightly curled;
in tiny eyes and face screwed up.
her soft and plaintive cry is hushed
as,washed, dried, and then, clewed up
in warm soft cloth, pink-flushed,
my babygirl, at mother’s breast
secured and loved, contented, blest.


Oct 09 2016


Later in the century were  William Latham, Macclesfield, 1775, Willliam Wilkinson,Congleton, 1780, and John Babtiste (Livery G.C.) 1786, of Northwich 1790. At Neston, Thomas Hardy made a grandfather clock, now in possession of the writer. Originally this belonged to Thomas Mealor of Neston and has remained in his family. Though its exact date is not known, Thomas Mealor was married in Neston Parish Church 1n 1794. Among early 18th. century Cheshire grandfather clock makers were John Shipley of Hyde, who made what was described as ” An exceptionally fine marqueterie Grandfather clock dated about 1705. and John Naylor, the maker of a remarkable astronomical clock ” signed Jon Naylor, near Namptwich, Cheshire(about 1725). Another astronomical clock by Naylor is recorded as being in Cluny Museum, Paris.


Oct 06 2016



i have seen human dereliction

from alcohol and drug addiction

and from other such afflictions

that seem to prey on man

i have seen children starving, crying,

hurt and lost, alone and trying

to understand why they are dying,

prey of thoughtless man.

syria’s streets will bear the scars

of savage internecine wars.

there seems no other god but mars

to whom to pray for man.

here is no right, and there, no wrong,

but only is the middle course

that is right to walk along

and wrong to walk across.

so, all things happen, as all things must

in different ways upon the crust

of this dear earth. from dust to dust.

such is the way of man,

so, should i really care a damn

for other people’s’ cares and woes?

for thoughts of sympathy a lamb

cares nought when to the slaughter goes.

ought i, d’you think, to take some action?

should i really take up sword?

yet then, might i, like other factions,

forget the cause for which i warred?


no! there is nothing i can do

to ease their lot, or calm their fears

except to toss a coin or two

to those in need and, with deaf ears,

turn away, hardening my heart

to all their plagues and cares.

for whenever right is warred with wrong

what ever might, how ever strong,

guiltless among the guilty throng

and so are prey to man.

one finds one’s thread of life at birth,

that tangled yarn of destiny,

and follows it from earth to earth,

from, and to, eternity,

but not one tangled thread should i

make any move to change,

for adam’s sons were born to die.

how dare i rearrange

how any man may do his deeds?

nor can i alter how he leads

his life. i hope somebody heeds

when i pray for man!







Sep 25 2016

Y’see by Corin Trivass

What it is
I get frightened
Just a little bit
but frightened all the same
Frightened by a name
by a cry in a crowd
by a face in the street
by a voice in the back of my head.

What it is
I get lonely
just a little bit
but lonely all the same
Sometimes feeling shame at my mess
of my motives
of the voice in the back of my head.

what it is
I get sad
just a little bit
but sad all the same
Sad at the thought of all that waste
Sad because I am frightened
Sad because I am lonely
Sad because of the voice in the back of my head.

D’you see that?
I mean do you really see?
Or are you the voice in the back of my head


Sep 24 2016


A NOISEY WONDER; a thing of steel,

of smoke and dirt and rhythmic wheel,

of steam and heat and dust and grime,

speeding, needing to be on time

but often not – but who cared?

in those days everybody shared

my childhood love of the railways.

those racing engines, shouting aloud

of speed and power, looked so proud

with maroon coach and smoking plume

and showering spark and choking fume

that caught my throat as i looked on

in childhood days. those days are gone

with the glory of the railways.

for those behemoths days were numbered.

on scrap heaps now, those things of wonder,

in dreams of steam and heat, they slumbered

as paints peel off, and rusts encumbered

their mighty girth. and over yonder

comes the banshee scream of a diesel train.

the throbbing notes of its engines pain

the ears, and peace is wrenched asunder.

redundant now, for efficiency,

diesel power and electricity

replace the mighty strength of steam

that moulders now in silents dreams.

gone! are the things i knew so well.

gone! is the sight, the sound, the smell

and the beauty of the railways.

that’s all i have to tell you, son.

the things i loved as a child have gone

to heaps of rust, forever lost;

victims of change and rising cost