Conservation of Clocks and Related Objects

FdA Historic Craft Practices – Clocks

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The next Open Day will take place on Saturday 4 February 2017. Learn more

Awarded by University of Sussex
Duration: 2 academic years (each 36 weeks) full time

Equip yourself for a career in horology. You will learn the practice of conservation - restoration through new making and working on historic objects. Through practical exercises you will establish and develop your hand and machine tool skills, learning the fundamental principles and techniques used in historic horological manufacture. This hands-on approach equips you with the necessary technical and practical skills that lead to a career in the profession. As the programme develops, you will work on a range of historic clocks. This bench-based activity is integrated with theory and professional practice. You will learn how to combine and use this knowledge when making treatment decisions as a professional practitioner.

You can expect
• To develop excellent practical skills through object-based treatments
• To learn the principles and techniques of historical horological manufacture and repair
• To work on historic objects

Learning environment
• High tutor: student ratio
• Workshop access 8.30am-10pm, 7 days a week
• Interdisciplinary environment
• Teaches students to understand and apply Icon's Professional Standards in Conservation
• Visits from specialists from the heritage and private sectors
• Visits to museums and active links with heritage bodies


Graduates go on to work as makers, repairers, restorers, teachers or advisors, or as conservators. There are many areas of specialism within the profession.


"I recently decided to return to my roots in heritage. The West Dean Diploma in Conservation - Restoration of Clocks is a key step in that journey. The decision to come here was a carefully researched one. Its reputation is first class, the focus on applied bench skills complemented rather than repeated previous training.

The experience has exceeded expectations. The facilities are excellent, the tutors awesome, the scope limitless.

The first year teaches technique. We make a complete clock, to a high standard. My clock has been presented to expert horological audiences in the BHI and AHS. The second year is about the repair of historic clocks, they are chosen to suit our needs, but the variety and quality is superlative."

Jon Columbo, Diploma in Conservation of Clocks

Entry requirements

Formerly West Dean College Diploma (University of Sussex award) An interest in horology and good general education combined with a desire to attain the appropriate level of hand skills. The FdA will appeal to you if you are aiming for employment in the trade, further study or are an international student.

English language: CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference for Languages) level B2 or IELTS 6.0 or above.


You will work in our specialist Clocks workshop with access to a well-equipped analytical laboratory. Collaboration with other conservation specialisms also makes for a uniquely enriched learning environment.

The on-site Art and Conservation Library puts thousands of specialist books and journals within your reach and you can access specialist databases in the IT suite.


UK/EU Fee: £13,140 pa
Students have the option to pay fees in instalments by term, 2 weeks in advance of term start date.

Application deadline for 2017 entry: 1 March 2017.

Funding available, find out about funding here.


Matthew Read (MA ACR)

Programme Leader, Clocks and Related Objects

Matthew Read is a leading voice in the development of conservation within clocks and automaton. An experienced practitioner and accredited conservator in the field of Horology, he originally trained at West Dean College. He has worked at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich as a Conservator and Assistant Curator of Horology. This was followed by five years as a self-employed conservator working with clients from the Museums and Heritage sector including the National Trust.

Malcolm Archer

Malcolm's extensive experience in private practice, as well as the heritage sector/museums, lies behind his in-depth understanding of the profession. He brings a comprehensive knowledge of traditional craft skills, theory and contextual history. He also has an interest in new and innovative ways of applying conservation to mechanical objects.

Program advisors

Geoff Allnutt - J E Allnutt & Son

Tobias Birch - Montpellier Clocks

How to apply

If you are interested in applying for this course or would like further information please contact admissions either by enquiring online or calling the number below. To make your application you will need to download and fill out our application form.

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