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Clocks and Other Dynamic Objects

The Clocks conservation and making graduate and postgraduate programmes will prepare you for exciting opportunities in a variety of prestigious national and international institutes including museums, Royal Collections and private client work. Past students have worked in the Palace Museum, Beijing, the Handel Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, the Royal Collection, Naples, the Speelklock Museum in Utrecht and others. Students have undertaken conservation work on significant historical clocks by Edward Cockey, Breguet and Cellier. Students will be working in workshops at dedicated workbenchs and be taught historic craft practice via machine and hand tools and learn treatments and condition proposals, analytical laboratory work and preventative conservation, handling and storage. You will also have the opportunity to work on musical automaton clocks and re-creations. The Programme is recognised by the British Horological Institute and supported by the British Antique Dealers Association. Your tutors, advisors and lecturers are at the top of league in the art of clockmaking, restoration and conservation and include curating and scientific instrument specialists.

West Dean College Diploma (West Dean College Award), Graduate Diploma and Postgraduate Diploma (University of Sussex Award)

Historic Craft Practice

Through practical work you will establish and develop your hand and machine tool skills, learning a range of techniques used in historic horological manufacture.

Interventive Treatment

Here you will work on historic objects, carrying out condition and treatment proposals, followed by agreed treatments which may include the manufacture of new components.The range and level of complexity of work can be modified to suit individual needs.

Material Science

Through a lecture series, the properties of materials used in horology and conservation treatments will be explained plus an introduction to the analytical laboratory and instrumentation used in conservation.

Material Culture

You will develop an understanding and appreciation of the history and cultural context of clocks, and explore how they impact on treatment decisions and outcomes.

Preventative Conservation

You will develop a knowledge of preventative care which includes non-interventive practice, an understanding of environmental control, pest control, the moving, handling and storage of historic objects.

Entry Requirements West Dean College Diploma

A proven interest in horology, its history, technology and design, or a degree or other technical qualification, or experience in a relevant subject and related hand skills.

Entry Requirements Graduate Diploma

Degree or qualification at equivalent level to a second year of undergraduate study e.g. HNC, HND, DipHE and significant interest in conservation and the particular material you wish to conserve.

Entry Requirements Postgraduate Diploma

A good first degree in a relevant subject, or successful completion of West Dean’s Graduate Diploma in Clocks, or significant experience and
interest in object history, technology and design.

“My work has already led me to an exciting offer to curate an exhibition on Musical Clocks at the Handel House museum in London in collaboration with the Palace Museum in Beijing, the British Museum, the Royal Collection in Naples, the Speelklok Museum, and the Victoria and Albert Museum.”
Brittany Cox, Clocks

Professional Development Diploma in New Making or Conservation (West Dean College Award)

You will develop either a new making project based on historic practice using of a wide range of materials, and techniques both historic and modern or a continued advanced conservation project.

Entry Requirements

Considerable experience in a relevant industry or successful completion of the West Dean College Diploma (or equivalent) and the
submission of a project proposal and/or research project.

MA Conservation Studies/MA Design (University of Sussex Award)

All Postgraduate Diplomas at West Dean can be transferred into the MA Degree programmes, thereby extending the duration of study from one academic year to a full calendar year.Mid-way through the academic year (February), students on postgraduate programmes commence MA units in addition to the remainder of their Postgraduate Diploma.On successful completion of the full academic year (July), students will have finished their Postgraduate Diploma and completed a significant amount of MA introductory study. In July, students commence their major projects for the MA degree which involve a further 10-week period of full-time study with a final assessment towards the end of September.

Entry Requirements

Candidates registered on the postgraduate diploma in Conservation will have fulfilled the entry requirements for the MA, subject to the
negotiation of an appropriate MA project.

For further information about the MA Design please click here

Specialist Facilities

The programme is delivered in purpose-built conservation studios, seminar rooms and offsite, visiting clocks in contextual environments.
You will have your own dedicated workspace with storage for equipment and tools. The workshop is equipped with hand tools and
machine tools for the production and repair of clocks. There is an area for cleaning and testing completed work.

Programme Leader

Matthew Read MA

Before joining West Dean in 2009, Matthew built up a considerable reputation as a clock conservator in the UK and Europe. After graduating
from West Dean he worked at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich from 2000 - 2004 as a Conservator and Assistant Curator of Horology. This was
followed by five years as a self-employed conservator working on projects within the field of Conservation and Repair of Clocks and Automata.

Visits and Visiting Lecturers

Silke Ackermann: Curator of European and Islamic scientific instruments, arms and armour, British Museum.
David Thompson: Curator of Horology, British Museum.
Robert Wren: General Manager of Derek Roberts, Fine Antique Clocks.
David Rooney: Curator, Science Museum.

Programme Advisors

David Poole, FBHI: Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers.
Bill Bruce: a West Dean graduate, now a leading antique clock dealer and restorer.
Trevor Waddington: a retired Royal Navy engineer officer, he has run a clock conservation-restoration business since 1995.

Student work on clocks from private clients. Recent work has included conservation on Edward Cockey of Warminster’s Astronomical Longcase Clock; the Mantelclock by Breguet with significant historlcal provenance; and an important French Revolutionary Clock by Cellier.

For student profiles please click here

To view our conservation students blog please click here


Application forms and further information on how to apply click here. An admissions panel, including a programme tutor, will consider your application and if you fulfil the entry requirements you will be invited to visit West Dean for an interview and practical test with the programme tutor and another senior member of academic staff.

ENQUIRIES: Telephone: +44 (0)1243 818208 or 811301 Email: diplomas@westdean.org.uk

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West Dean College and Gardens are situated in South East England, six miles north of the historic city of Chichester and 12 miles from the south coast.

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