About the British Sundial Society
Like all such things, it started in a small way. The idea of a sundial
society had been mulled over for many years by several people, until the
idea came to fruition in 1989. It was thought that maybe sundials could be
dealt with as a sub section of the horological fraternity as there was no
idea of the scale of interest. Early on it was known that there were several
individuals who were not interested in the antiquarian aspect but who were
actively producing new sundials, so a hands-on element was anticipated from
the start. Then, daringly, it was considered that if it were possible to
attract 30 interested persons, perhaps it could 'go it alone' as a fully
fledged society within its own right. Currently, the number of memberships
is now about 425.
Credit must be given to Dr. Andrew Somerville for getting matters off the ground and also the steersmanship of Charles Aked with his immense wealth of knowledge of matters, both sundial as well as horological. Sadly, neither of these founding fathers are with us but they did see the British Sundial Society hatch from an idea and their efforts put it on the right course. Now we can smile at the dilemma faced. It was envisaged that a Bulletin be issued two or three times a year of maybe a few photocopied sheets of paper, lest the fund of knowledge on sundials be too rapidly exhausted.
We now produce a full colour quality publication of 48 pages four times a year and have the embarrassment of asking authors to bear with us in the queue as so much material is coming forth!
Compared to some societies, our numbers are not great but two things stand
out: diversity of approach and the sheer enthusiasm of the members.
Sundials attract people from varied backgrounds: astronomical, military,
medical, artistic and craftsmanship to name but a few. Then there are the
meetings. Any society which can regularly attract about 15% of its
membership to a major conference, some from across the globe, certainly has
some driving force! Indeed, the name British Sundial Society is a misnomer
as almost a third of the members live beyond these shores.
And there are
the contradictions. In this computer age, information flies around the world
in an instant. How paradoxical that one of the oldest technologies has
combined with the newest to help in sundial design and also to spread the
word. Now our Society has reached its twentieth anniversary year and as our
age enters the new Millennium, we can look in both directions, at the old
and the new. More has happened since that now historic meeting in 1989 than
we dared to hope.
The Society became a Registered Charity in 1992 (Number: 1032530)
The Society is affiliated to the Royal Astronomical Society.