Horology Taster Course

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Horology Taster Course
6-9 April 2020
Duration: Four days

To apply for a fully funded place, please complete our application form

Starting with the design and calculation of individual components, use hand tools and participate in practical demonstrations of machine tools to build a working model of the beating heart of a clock - an ‘escapement’. This course is intended as a precursor to full-time study at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation. Find out more about the FdA Historic Craft Practices - Clocks

Course description

Delve into traditional clockmaking processes, starting with the design and calculation of individual components, and progress to manufacturing them using hand tools and by participating in demonstrations of machinery including metal-turning lathes and milling machines.

In this introductory course, you will become familiar with a range of keystone horology skills, including accurate marking and cutting/drilling of material, filing flat and square, riveting, metal turning and cutting gear wheels. Using jigs you will make a strip-pallet recoil escapement such as those seen in many American production-era clocks, and you will also be introduced to a range of finishing techniques for brass, in order to personalise your escapement model. 

Based in the College’s clocks workshop, the course includes an introduction to the great makers of horological history, as well as the material and mechanical theory that underpins all horology. By working with the clocks course leader, you will gain an insight into what it is like to be a full-time student at the college, and be introduced to the extensive teaching collection that is available for study.

Course materials

All materials and hand tools required to make your escapement model.

What students need to bring

  • Please wear sensible clothes and sturdy covered footwear (no open toed sandals) for working in a workshop. 
  • Apron or a workshop coat is advised to protect clothes.

Additional information

All students will be provided with standard safety spectacles, so if you wear prescription glasses you may want to consider buying your own safety prescription glasses, as you must wear safety glasses when using machine tools.

Read more about studying horology, clocks and related objects


A bursary is available to fully-fund places for prospective students on this taster course. Applicants will be selected based on their ability to demonstrate an interest in pursuing horology.

The bursary application deadline is 14 February 2020

Bursary application form
FdA Clocks Course at West Dean College of Arts and Conservation

FdA Craft Practices - Clocks

Equip yourself with skills to work in the clock making and repairing industry by acquiring practical and technical skills, the theory, principles and techniques used in historic horological manufacture.

Our practice-led Foundation Degree gives you the opportunity to develop meticulous craftsmanship skills within a heritage crafts environment and apply them to create contemporary or traditional work.

If you are interested in the FdA Historic Craft Practices - Clocks do also register for our Open Day on Saturday 8 February. 


Find out more about the FdA Craft Practices - Clocks


Malcolm Archer

Subject leader and short course tutor

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.

Tim Hughes

Subject Tutor, Clocks (and Related Objects)

Tim Hughes MBHI, clock maker, trained at West Dean College and works as a clockmaker and scientific instrument restorer, and as external consultant at Bellmans Auctioneers. He has received several awards, including the Trustees' Prize while at West Dean College and a QEST Scholarship. 

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.