British Horological Institute

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The BHI was founded in the Clerkenwell district of London in 1858. A group of watchmakers joined together in an attempt to combat the large quantity of clocks and watches flooding into the country from abroad, and to raise the standards of British horology. The Institute grew rapidly and within a year it found permanent premises and started both a library and museum. it soon organised evening classes in watchmaking and clockmaking and set the first examinations in technical horology. Most of the famous names in horology have been associated with the Institute, Lord Grimthorpe, the designer of 'Big Ben', was president for 35 years, and the post has been occupied by many Astronomers Royal.

The British Horological Institute moved to their present premises at Upton hall in 1972. The modern BHI is run by a Council of members on a voluntary basis with a few permanent staff.

The museum has been in existence since the Institute was formed and has grown to quite large proportions. The museum is open to the public on certain days of the week so it is advised that you telephone Upton Hall to see when they are open. The library contains nearly 5000 volumes in a variety of languages, and a librarian is available to perform research on members behalf.

Membership is open to anyone with an interest in timekeeping in its many forms.

Venue Type:

Association or society

Opening hours

Please call for opening times

Collection details

Archives, Fine Art, Science and Technology

British Horological Institute
Upton Hall
NG23 5TE




01636 813 795


01636 812 258

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