The Bulletin‘s editorial explains why the December issue is thinner than usual and that the editorial role has evolved beyond a single volunteer. Having been personally involved in the production of the December Bulletin, and taken professional advice, I can see that the role is enormous and that there are many stages and skills. It is capable of being organised in a more collegiate form.

First and foremost are our contributing authors, without whom there would be no Bulletin. We have some articles in the pipeline but more are needed. Please could would-be contributors send their articles to

The trustees envisage an editorial board (whose main task would be to peer-review articles) which might involve about six volunteers. The skill required is knowledge of dialling; we ought to be strong on that score! No technical IT capability is necessary. We also need desktop publishing skills. Currently Microsoft Publisher is used for typesetting the articles. Does anyone have experience of this software or the IT skills/interest to pick it up? Please contact me if so. I should also like to hear from anyone who can edit (as opposed to lay out) articles. There should be many in the Society who have relevant skills and I very much hope that sufficient volunteers will come forward.

I have examined the possibility of paying for the laying out but it is not cheap. Going down that route would mean that our financial/cost model would have to be examined.

The March Bulletin will be produced by the December team in consultation with John Davis. The whole Society will wish to join me in thanking this team. Beyond that the trustees will note the advice given by the December/March team and John Davis, and take into account the volunteers who wish to be involved before being too specific.

Frank King


Further to my September Newsletter report, all our administration pertaining to the Society becoming a CIO has been completed. The final accounts of the ‘old’ Society have been submitted to the Charity Commissioners and we await their removing it from the Register of Charities.

At the risk of (hopefully unnecessary for most members) repetition might I voice a final reminder that our new registered charity number (1155688) should be used in all future correspondence and publications? Many thanks.

Becoming a CIO completes the trustees’ agenda of ensuring the Society is fit for purpose in the modern world. This permits an increased focus on meeting our object – educating the public in the art and science of gnomonics. Initiatives in hand include extending our activities into schools, increased and enhanced website content, and a 2015 sundial design competition. The Society’s ‘output’ is dependent on members participation and cooperation: we have a dedicated and devoted band of volunteers, but more are always welcome. If you have an idea or would like to help we would love to hear from you.

Chris Williams



Plans for the next NASS conference are still very tentative, but it is likely that the conference will take place in June, two months earlier than usual, when we will gather on lovely Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. If your travel plans permit, consider including NASS in your journey and meet a great group of fellow dialists (or diallists).

Fred Sawyer



The new website has now been live for nearly six months: visitor numbers continue to increase and we had our busiest day ever when a link to one of our articles was picked up by a popular blogging site. This shows the power of the web and for those of you who are active in social media, please tweet (or Facebook, or Google +, or …) about our content.

It is now possible to look at the popularity of the various sections. There is considerable interest in the craft of dialling with Tony Moss’ Universal Multi-Dial and the BSS Horizontal Dial both very popular. Not everybody wants to make their own, however: the list of Consultants and Makers is also frequently visited. More cerebral sections – How Sundials Work and details of the Bulletins are also very popular, as is Bridol for people who want to explore sundials, whether as virtual tourists or for planning trips. The first two videos of Greenwich Conference talks, by Frank King and Jackie Jones, have been added to the site and have also both been very well-received.

Particular thanks to Tony Moss, John Foad, Frank and Jackie for their contributions.

Plans for the next period include updates to Bridol, a start at providing information about Mass Dials online (BriMDol!) and more practical and theoretical information about varied aspects of dialling. But none of this means we have everything we need so, as ever, dialling news and more substantial contributions are welcome. Many thanks.

Bill Visick


10 to 12 April at the East Midlands Conference Centre, Nottingham.
Next year’s annual conference will be held in the heart of England, to the relief, I dare say, of those who found travelling to Exeter or Edinburgh a challenge. The venue is the Orchard Hotel and East Midlands Conference Centre, run by DeVere Hotels on the campus of Nottingham University. Not, perhaps, as iconic a location as Greenwich, but more convenient in many ways as it is all under one roof. As in most previous years, the conference will run from the Friday evening to Sunday lunchtime on the weekend after Easter.

Anyone flying in should know that the nearest airport is East Midlands.
At the time of writing, the final costs still have some unknowns, so we are not able to quote firm prices, but are confident they will be less than some recent years. I sincerely hope to be able to get firm prices and a booking form out on the Society’s website within a few weeks – probably around the time you receive this newsletter. I also intend to email everyone who attended either of the last two conferences. Please note that the venue demands an immediate deposit of 50% so it is important to establish accurate numbers and to take payments early.
As well as needing to know how many attendees there will be, it is not too soon to invite submissions for talks. Nobody should imagine that they are too inexperienced or unmathematical to give an interesting talk. You will find the experience rewarding and I know everyone loves hearing from new speakers. Please let me know as soon as possible a little of what you would like to talk on, to help plan the conference programme.

Chris Lusby Taylor



We would like to welcome to the Society a number of new members: Tom Phillips from Cambridgeshire; Robert Holloway from Australia; Stephen Minoprio from Suffolk and John Story from Berkshire.

It is with sadness that we have to announce the death of Paul Candy, a long-standing member of the Society.

Jackie Jones



First, I must give my thanks to all of you who have so kindly let me know of your new discoveries As a result of all you’ve sent me and a certain amount of foraging on my own part I have now got more than 250 new names of makers but, perhaps in some ways more importantly, much new information. Many entries have been added to and several have been completely rewritten. So I’m well on the way to producing the first draft of an updated version of Monograph No. 2, published in 2007.

Now is the moment when I’m seeking help! Do you know of any dialmakers active before 1920 that I am unlikely to have heard of? Have you noted an error in any of the entries in Monograph No. 2 – or could you add a further fact. Please don’t hesitate to tell me. I look forward to hearing from you.

Jill Wilson





We had a very good day at the Newbury meeting and the sun shone again. I had been provided with copies of Mike Cowham’s new book on the Quadrant and quite a few were purchased during the course of the day. It was probably our best day of sales for several years.

Elspeth Hill



The BSS library collection, held at Bromley House Library Nottingham, continues to flourish, and we are grateful for the donation of a number of books and assorted works from the estates of two former members, Dick Chambers and Anthony Eden.

Mr Eden’s daughter, Alexandra Boscawen has asked if she could convey the following message:

I am so pleased that some of my late father’s books will be available to other sundial enthusiasts via the British Sundial Society Library.  He had a mind that was fascinated by not only mathematics and engineering matters but also philosophy and the natural world.  He was an early computer enthusiast and drew up programmes for the proper placement and markings of a number of sundials across the country.  In his retirement he learnt brass founding in order to construct his own heliochronometer, having made all the relevant calculations for its construction and placement.  Sadly he died before he was able to complete the project, but had greatly enjoyed the research, practical skills and good companionship he encountered from both academic experts and more general fellow enthusiasts in all these fields.  Whatever else he gave his daughters, it was the automatic reaction to look up at buildings in order to look for the sundials.

Bromley House remains a safe and secure environment for our books to be stored and is open to all BSS members. It is a pleasure to confirm that the library’s future is secure and has the full support of the trustees. I am particularly grateful to the Chairman and Secretary for the personal support I have received from them over a range of issues.

Please take the time to visit the library if you are visiting Nottingham or the East Midlands. It is a charming place, full of character and history and, of course, holds the largest accessible collection of sundial works in the country. As next year’s Conference is in Nottingham I will consult with the Organiser to see if the library might be included as a visit for those who are interested.


The following books from the collection of Anthony Eden are offered for private sale to BSS members.  Offers matching those on well known second-hand book sale sites or higher should be sent to Postage at £3 per item (£1 for pamphlets) should be added to your bids.  Closing date January 5, 2015

Sun-Dials and Roses of Yesterday, by Alice Morse Earle, Methuen, 1902.
Queen’s College Dial: a short description of the sun-dial in Queen’s College Cambridge, by G C Shepherd.
Cambridge Sundials, by Alexis Brookes & Margaret Stanier.
Sundials: A Simplified Approach by Means of the Equatorial Dial, by Frank Cousins, John Baker, 1969.
Ye Sundial Booke,  by T Geoffrey W Henslow, London, 1914.
Oxford Sundials, by Margaret Stanier,  Appeal Office, Somerville College, Oxford.
Sundials: Their Theory and Construction, by Albert E Waugh, Dover Pub. Inc, 1973.
Time Measurement: catalogue of the collection, by F Ward, HMSO, 1966.
Midi au Soleil: Comment realiser un cadran solaire, by Jean Fulcrand & Pierre Bourge, 1978.
Catalogue des Cadrans Solaires du Musée de la Vie Wallonne (2nd ed.), by Henri Michel, 1974.
Sundials Old and New, by A P Herbert,  Methuen, 1967.
La Mesure du Temps dans Les Collections Belges, (exhibition catalogue) Brussels, 1984.

The Astronomical Clock, Hampton Court Palace, by Brian & Heather Hellyer, HMSO, 1973.

Time Measurement: Historical Review (Science Museum reprint series), by F Ward, 1970.

Cadrans Solaires de Paris, by Georges Camus & Andree Gotteland, CNRS Editions, 1977.

Les Cadrans Solaires: Histoire, Théorie, Pratique, by Rene Rohr, Editions Oberlin, 1986.

Sundials & Timedials: a collection of working models to cut out and glue together, by Ger ald Jenkins & Magdalen Bear, Tarquin Publications, 1987.

Les Cadrans Solaires, by Jean-Marie Homet, Ch. Massin.

The BSS Bulletin Quinquennial Celebration reprint No 89.1 & 89.2 & 90 and the BSS Bulle tins 93.2 (June 1993) – 98.3, vol ii (Feb 99) vol 15(I) (March 2004) with Authors and Titles Index 1989-2001 are available to a member free of charge for collection from SW London or for payment of postage.

Nick Orders


The next photographic competition will take place in the 2015-16 year, with the results being announced at the 2016 Conference. Reminders will be included in the September and December 2015 Newsletters, with entry forms and a copy of the rules also being circulated at the same time.

Ian Butson



Judging by the number of dials both registered and bought and sold, the clockmaker Thomas Grice would appear to have worked amazingly hard for his every so far known signed dial is dated 1705. Each one also has exactly the same motto – Seize the present moment the evening hour is nigh. Interestingly, considering the number of his dial plates that turn up in sales catalogues and on ebay, this is not a motto listed by Mrs Gatty. It is, however, a translation of one she does include – Carpe diem, hora adest vespertina.

The metal used has been variously described in sales listings as bronze, brass and, astonishingly, in one instance even lead! Brass seems the most likely material and the remarkable similarity in appearance of all his dial-plates, even the small number of square as opposed to round ones, and the lower than the expected early eighteenth century quality of the inscribing, leads inevitably to a certain conclusion.

Thus, it seems more than likely that his name has been used by a late nineteenth or early twentieth century mass-producer of ‘antique dials’. Indeed ‘Jardinique’ uses a ‘Thomas Grice’ dial as an example of an early 20th century dial with a ‘spurious date’ linked with a maker’s name.

Now another doubtful maker’s dial has turned up also dated 1705! David Pullen’s signature and this date have appeared on a dial-plate for sale on eBay. Other dials with his signature are known, one dated 1712 and another 1734. It has been suggested that these too are likely to have been made more recently; again in the late nineteenth or early twentieth centuries.

All this made me wonder, was there anything special about the year 1705? Queen Anne was on the throne, but nothing stands out as particularly significant. The victory at Blenheim was one year in the past, Ramillies one year in the future. Edmund Halley’s suggestion that a certain comet, last seen twenty-three years earlier might well return in 1758, would hardly warrant Grice’s choice of motto. And in any case, if the date of 1705 on these dials was fictitious, why was this year chosen by the more recent makers rather than one with some historical connection? Any suggestions or further information on dials (or clocks) ‘signed’ by either of these two would be welcomed. (My thanks to John Davis for alerting me to the David Pullen sale item that set me musing.)

Jill Wilson



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