The British Sundial Society

Promoting the Art and Science of Gnomonics since 1989


My main activity over the past three months has been working with Christine Northeast and Bill Visick to produce a normal-length Bulletin for March.

There is nothing like doing something yourself to discover exactly what is involved. I have to repeat what I said in the December Newsletter, but with even more admiration and awe, and stress just what a Herculean burden John Davis has shouldered for so many years.

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Astute readers will have noticed that the December Newsletter was missing from the archive in the Members Area. This was due to finger trouble by the webmaster: it is now in place and can be found here - apologies for the oversight.

The March Newsletter will be published next week to coincide with the arrival of the Bulletin.

The BSS is pleased to announce its quinquennial awards scheme for dials that have been made or restored between January 2010 and December 2015. The competition is open to all: amateurs, professionals, members and non-members.

Full details, including examples of previous entries, are available here and will be included in the forthcoming March Bulletin.

The BSS annual conference will, as previously announced, be held at Nottingham University on the weekend after Easter: April 10-12. The venue is actually a plush conference centre on the campus, so everything is within two adjacent buildings and, unlike last year, there is plenty of parking space!

Nottingham is the home of the Society’s library, a meridian line and several unusual sundials which we aim to show you. The conference runs from Friday afternoon to Sunday after lunch. The residential conference fee includes all meals and refreshments, including the traditional Gala Dinner on Saturday, so is excellent value.

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The accounts for the Society up until August 2014 are now available in the Accounts section of the Members Area. Members will need to log in to see this information: please contact the Webmaster in case of difficulty.

On the 20th. January over 120 pupils at Cheney School in Oxford learnt about the principles of solar time-keeping and ancient Greek and Roman dials, saw a demonstration of how they work and built their own hemicyclium dial – all within the space of an hour. The event, organised by the IRIS project as part of an ancient astronomy day, saw Chris Williams deliver a wide-ranging lecture on how the ancients told the time and the differences in their requirements for timekeeping and those we have today. An extract of the presentation, including various pictures of classical dials, can be seen here.

David Brown then took over, first demonstrating how shadows vary depending on the time of year and why a hemicyclium is more practical than a hemispherical bowl,

before each pupil was presented with a kit to make their own.

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