Mar 21 2017

The Callcott Family, Makers of Antique Grandfather Clocks in Cheshire (Conclusion)e

Arthur Drummond Callcott will be remembered by older Malpas residents and in the  ” Whitchurch Herald ” for 3rd of January 1931, he appears in a feature on the oldest people in the area. Of him, the article says the he was ” The oldest founder member  of the Jubilee Hall and having a great record of public service. Not many years ago he made a particularly fine Grandfather Clock (case and all), which graces the hall of one of the Malpas doctors ”

The Callcott shop eventually moved from Old Hall Street to High Street where it has been re-fronted and now serves as an office for  the Nationwide Building Society. Arthur Drummond Callcot appears to have remained a bachelor and from him, the business passed to the family of his sister, who married a Dutton. The late Cecil Dutton, last of the line to work in Malpas, died in the 1950s.


Mar 17 2017

The Callcott Family, Makers of Antique Grandfather Clocks in Cheshire (Part Three)

However, some members of the family were moving around. Thomas Wallcott  first appears in Well Street, Malpas in a directory of 1822/3. Afterwards he appears in directories from 1828 and 1834 as a watch and grandfatherclock maker in Old Hall Street, Malpas.  However, clockmakers have a habit of scratching clean marks  on clocks that they attend to and this leads on to a Samuel Callcott who on the 16th of  May 1866 cleaned a  Joyce clock which I have examined. Then again, I found another scratch mark by Samuel in 1874 in a Whitchurch  grandfather clock by George Bradshaw.

Arthur Drummond Callcott first appears  in the 1871 census return for Malpas. The term ” apparently ” is used at it has been generally assumed that he was the son of the Arthur Callcott who appears in the 1851 census as a son of  Thomas ( see family tree). However further examination of the Census returns suggests that  Arthur Drummond Callcott was the son of  Thomas’ daughter  Sarah and was born in Liverpool as Arthur Wignall and was therefore the first Arthur’s nephew. It seems that he probably changed his name to Callcott when he took over the business from his uncle. Therefore,  the Arthur born in about  1812 (son of Thomas) was probably the last actual Callcott to own the business


Mar 15 2017

The Callcott Family,Makers of Antique Grandfather Clocks in Cheshire (Part Two)

John two married an Ann Batho in Wem in 1801 and it was this family  which in 1809 held the Raven Public House in Watergate Street, Whitchurch. He also made fine  Grandfather Clocks and some time ago, I was lucky enough to find and photograph one. This is also an oak cased white dial grandfather clock but without moonwork. It has a false plate indicating the dial was made by Finnemore and Son which  would give a date between 1828 and 1835,and the whole of the clock is indicative of this date. This case again shows refined cabinet work and restrained use of stringing and inlay.

Another member of the family, John three could possibly be the son of John two. He is recorded as being a  grandfather clock maker living in Prees and he made a sundial for St. Chad’s. He had married Ann Hadley in 1825  and had three daughters. From 1832 to 1850 the directories recorded a Callcott shop in Wem, High Street . John Callcott two at the age of 75, would have died in 1852, so this could have been his shop, or possibly shared with John three. However the Whitchurch directory gives a John Callcott of having a business in the High Street from 1840 until 1851, so the two shops were running together for a period but more research is needed to clarify the situation


Mar 02 2017

The Callcott Family, Makers of Antique Grandfather Clocks in Cheshire (Part one)

The old established Callcott family of grandfather clock makers, who traded in Wem, Whitcurch and Malpas, had roots in the business stretching back nearly as far as those of the Joyce family, whose business still continues in Whitchurch.

To trace the family back takes us  to 1719 in Wem. At this time the son of John and Lydia Callcott, was baptised Richard at Edstaston. Later Richard married a  local girl from Wem and had a family of a boy and a girl. Richard attended to the church clock at St.Chads, Prees, for seventeen years from 1746.

Here, however, it starts to get more involved as this was just one side of a local family and Richard had a nephew, John Callcott, who was also working in the family business. At one time, I had a white faced grandfather clock with moon phases by this man.

John Callcott was the son of Arthur and Jane  and was born in 1753. He married a Sarah Bradley and a year later his son was born. This child was baptised John on the 21st. of  September 1777 and later was to take over his father’s business. Old John Callcott died in his 78th.year after a long illness. The  ” Salopian Journal ” of the time records  in 1830, that he was a ” Mechanic of more than ordinary class “. Certainly his grandfather clocks are valued today, the workmanship of movement and case being of high order.


Feb 10 2017


At first the government were against this idea  but then for a payment of one guinea a year as a licence fee, they allowed it. This was the first wireless licence. He became very involved with the development of wireless, helping to form the Wireless Society, of which he was elected Chairman.

On April 21st 1923, while broadcasting from Savoy Hill, he encouraged his listeners to put their clocks to the right time. He  invited them to set their watches and then set their clocks from their watches. He gave the time by counting the last five seconds from 9.55 to 10 o’clock on his watch, which he had previously set close to Greenwich mean time, so the pips were introduced as a way the announcers  could give the listeners an accurate time check This was done by a land link from Greenwich and the broadcasting station and the six pips as we know them, was made available to the country. The method of time signalling by the six pips is now almost universal and every time signals noted by horologists , should remind them of the of the man whose business life was entirely spent in encouraging people to appreciate correct time keeping.


Jan 29 2017

The Cottage by John & Alec

it sounds strange, does it not,
that a cottage could be lonely?
harken, while i set the plot
to this sad tale but true.
the grip of winter, tight as death
closed around its walls
and froze them with its icy breath.
a chilling tale, but true.
its wooden ribs of sturdy oak
stood well against the strain.
tho’ they shivered, not one broke.
a stirring tale, but true.
once, when the storm was at its height
a stranger came inside.
he blessed the place and slept the night.
a moving tale, but true.
next day the stranger left at dawn
and took his company.
he left the cottage more forlorn.
a hopeless tale, but true.
when next we see this lonely spot
it’s in the grip of spring.
brighter shades to paint the plot
colourful tale, but true.
a diamond on a green baize table
it used to be the pond.
of what is spring not capable?
a sparkling tale but true.
but tho’ spring brings new hope for most
the cottage knew the worst.
it gained from spring less than it lost.
a sorry tale, but true.
with wet walls gone green with moss,
toadstools in the kitchen.
the ruined cottage grieved its loss.
a fungal tale, but true.
the pond was choked with glass green weed
(the diamond lost its sparkle)
bushes, brambles, noxious breed.
a jungle tale, but true.
decayed, decrepit, disrepair,
distraught, disused, discouraged,
dismal,disparaged, deep despair.
disastrous tale, but true.
the cottage viewed with rheumy eyes
its man forsaken limbo.
in this tale the cottage cries.
a tearful tale, but true.
and then! a voice! a laugh! a cry!
those long forgotten sounds.
the cottage sighed a gentle sigh.
well, stranger tales are true!
for there, standing at the door
was the stranger, wife and children
they went inside to explore.
a happy tale, but true.
the stranger showed them all around.
They loved the place at once.
he showed them where he slept, so sound.
the stranger’s tale was true.
the cottage rooms were filled with laughter,
and no one seemed to notice
joyful tears fall from the rafter.
a magic tale for you….


Jan 13 2017

Frank Hope-Jones The Cheshire Man Who Gave Us The Pips (Part Three)

The business grew and moved again to 32-34 Clerkenwell Road which served the business until 1940. Mr.Boswell left the Syndicate in 1899 and in 1901 it went into voluntary liquidation. Frank Hope-Jones took over its assets and was determined to carry on alone. His first job when he found himself in sole control of the Synchronome business in 1901 was improve his business and to improve his clock system. He did this by his lectures, his press activities and more particularly his energetic interest in the main subject of accurate time-keeping and the establishment of public clock systems.

Frank Hope-Jones in the company of  William Willet and T.D. Wright were instrumental in persuading the government to introduce day light saving. Willet’s original proposal was to advance time in 20 minute stages but  T.D Wright wanted a full hour advance. The first daylight saving was instituted by the Germans during the war, this country followed on May 20th 2016.

In 1913 he invented the Homophone so that Watch and Clockmakers could listen on a simpal crystal receiver to time signals that were sent out from the Eiffel Tower


Dec 12 2016


Frank, who was apprenticed with the Thames and Mersey Marine Insurance Company left his post and became employed by his brother Robert in the Hope-Jones Organ Company. It can be understood that because of Frank’s close association with his brother in his hobbies, his works, inventions and experiments would have given him considerable insight into electro-magnetic theory and actions and there  also happened to be an apprentice in the organ workshop named named George B. Bowell who had ideas of applying electro-magnetism to what was originally named  a self – winding clock

The organ company went into liquidation  and Frank Hope-Jones  and Bowell were getting together to design and make an electric clock. They had by 1894 already made their first models  and taken out their first patents the following year. They then moved to London and found a workshop in the old building  of Turnival’s Inn. In 1897 they moved again because of limited space, this times to rooms in Victoria Street Here was founded the Synchronome Syndicate Ltd. The word Synchronome was devised by another elder brother, Kenyon Hope-Jones, who was a classical scholar and later a priest


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.