My name is Simon Allen, I am a Director of The Clock Work Shop and I am a professionally trained Antiquarian Horologist. This is otherwise known as a Clockmaker who specialises in the repair and restoration of Antique Clocks.
As a child, I loved to take things apart, trying to understand how they would work. My most notable memory of this was at my grandmother’s house near Halstock, Dorset, when I must have only been about five years old. Her Hoover had stopped working, so I asked her if I could have a look at it to see how it worked and try to fix it, she obviously thought that she’d humour me and leave me with it to have a look at. What she didn’t expect was to find me half an hour later with the Hoover in what must have been at least 200 pieces!
Some years later, I moved to Dorchester where my step-father taught me the basics of how to mend clocks and then sell them in order to make some extra money, in addition to my mundane Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 job. I really enjoyed getting the clocks working and became more and more interested in pursuing this passion as a career.
I then wrote to the major players in the industry and subsequently got the opportunity to go and work for who I considered at the time to be the number one retailer in the world of antique clocks, Gerald. E. Marsh. Gerald has since become a true friend and is a great inspiration to me. He started at the very same shop aged 15 as an apprentice to Geoffrey Bell who founded the shop in 1947. He went on to buy the business in 1972 and help many people build a number of the best private clock collections in the world until in 2014 he sold the company.
Gerald took me on as his final apprentice and in my time at the shop, under his leadership, I made sure I learnt everything that I possibly could. I was the first apprentice to be approved for the George Daniels Educational Trust Scheme, which really was an honour. Since then, I have specialised in good quality English, French and Swiss antique clocks. I have completed specific training in platform escapements, watchmaker’s lathes, engineer’s lathes and replacing damaged pivots in clocks and watches. Also bluing, silvering and polishing.
My training was invaluable and I certainly wouldn’t be where I am now, without the knowledge I have gained from the help that everyone gave me along the way.