Following a Horology Degree at Birmingham University, Kelly has been working with us at Smith of Derby since July of last year. We asked Kelly about the last 6 months and her time in the turret clockmaking industry after completing her degree.
“I’ve been with Smith of Derby for 6 months now. I heard about the role through a LinkedIn post which highlighted the company’s apprenticeship scheme, which I think was during National Apprenticeship week. I sent Jane an email describing the experience I’d acquired and then came for an interview following this.
I think what appealed to me about a career in horology was that I would be continually problem solving. In other lines of work you I guess you can hit work fatigue, but with clocks there are individual puzzles to be solved, there are quirks to each piece you are working on, and then there is the satisfaction of putting the puzzle pieces back together. Then with turret clockmaking there is an added dimension because you are making or restoring clocks that will be visible in a public space, for many people to see.
Pictured: Kelly works on the restoration of the Twaites & Reed Cage Clock from Turvey Abbey Monastery.
I do like working with smaller clocks. During my degree we didn’t really work on anything bigger than a Granddaughter clock, but these larger clocks, they are often much older and more beautiful as a result. There’s the added benefit too, of the individual parts being larger. You can’t lose the pieces on a large clock, whereas you can be on your hands and knees for days looking for a small part when working on watches.
“With clocks there are individual puzzles to be solved, there are quirks to each piece you are working on, and then there is the satisfaction of putting the puzzle pieces back together.”
Pictured: The quarter disks for the four dials gilded by Kelly and stored before being fitted to the Hodge House dials, Cardiff.
Undertaking a degree in horology was a great experience. A useful exercise our lectures would set us is to give us a clock that they knew had a fault, and our task would be to try and work out what the fault was. This has been really helpful in recent months in the real world of clockmaking as I can look at a stopped clock and I can know what the problem is. It’s great being able to rule out different sections of the clock to get to the point of diagnosing the problem and then being in a better place to fix it.
Of projects I’ve worked on in recent months, a standout is probably the work we did for Hodge House in Cardiff. A skeleton dial, without any numbers, it was the first finishing and gilding work I’d done on a major project. We were slightly up against it, time-wise but everyone chipped in and it was a great thing to be a part of.”
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