The British Sundial Society

Promoting the Art and Science of Gnomonics since 1989

An unusual submission to the 2020 BSS Sundial Design And Restoration Awards from the team at Tool/Toy Project.

This is the Circadian Yardstick, part of a collection of instruments made by Tool/Toy Project in 2019 for the Oslo Architecture Triennale. The collection consists of a set of objects designed to slow down the daily domestic routine by encouraging regular playful interactions with the Sun in the home. The devices engage the senses, encouraging various ways to listen, touch, watch, meditate, navigate and dance with the sunshine and its effects. 

The Circadian Yardstick works by measuring the length of the shadow of a pin (gnomon), which in turn indicates what our bodies are doing according to our circadian rhythms at various times of the day – from peak alertness to an enhanced sense of smell. By intellectually connecting our internal cycles to those of the Sun, the yardstick encourages the user to live in harmony with both.
Read on for full description and more pictures.

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I’m sorry to say that the 2021 Solar Data Card included with the December Bulletin contained a number of inaccuracies, all due to an oversight by me and in no way reflecting on the accuracy of the information kindly provided by Fiona Vincent. Apologies to her and to members for the mistake. A corrected version will be included with the March Bulletin and is provided here as a PDF which can be printed on a single sheet of A4 and folded to provide a two-sided A5 “card”.

BSS Zoom Event

In lieu of our 2021 Conference we plan to host three talks via Zoom on 17 April 2021. They will start at 17:00 BST and expect the entire event to last about 90 minutes. This time of day should suit those living in any time zone from the west coast of North America to the Middle East.

The speakers will be Fred Sawyer (President of NASS), Roger Bailey (sundial designer and former Secretary of NASS) and Woody Sullivan (Professor Emeritus at the University of Washington and instigator of the first sundial on Mars), all of whom are well known to those who attend our Conferences. We shall provide titles for the talks in the new year. Meantime, Fred has promised that there will be no equations in his talk!


If you would like to attend please email You will be sent an acknowledgement and, later, a formal Zoom invitation. The event is free and open to anyone.


Many people have become very familiar with Zoom over the last few months but if you have managed to avoid it so far and would like some help, please read on for guidance on both its use and how to install it, kindly provided by BSS member Mike Faraday, as well as an offer of 1:1 assistance from Frank King.

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Another submission to the 2020 BSS Sundial Design And Restoration Awards, this time from our Patron Sir Mark Lennox-Boyd.

The Voss Obelisk
Pair of declining reclining slate dials with a third information slate
Burlington Slate dial plates with gold-plated bronze gnomons
Dial plates are approximately 40 cm square
Design and delineation:
Mark Lennox-Boyd
Dial Plate Cutting:
Ben Jones
Fabrication by John Huddlestone.
Portuguese Granite cut in Portugal and supplied by Lantoom Quarry, Cornwall
Hidden metalwork:
John Huddlestone
Mark Lennox-Boyd and Ben Jones: ‘The Voss Obelisk, Time for Evermore’, BSS Bulletin 31(iv) 12-16 (December 2019).

BSS Sundial Design And Restoration Awards 2020

There’s still time to enter the competition, so for those who have been creating dials during lockdown now is the time to share! For more information, see details of the competition.

Frank King has submitted details of five dials to the 2020 BSS Sundial Design And Restoration Awards

These five very different dials were made over the last five years

Read on for more details of each of these dials.

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Submitted to the 2020 BSS Sundial Design And Restoration Awards by Louise Smail, trustee for the Old Parsonage Building and coordinator of the sundial project:

The Didsbury Parsonage (The Old Parsonage) is a Grade II listed building, next to what was the original village green of Didsbury. The building and gardens were left to the citizens of Manchester by Alderman Fletcher Moss in 1919. Through the Didsbury Parsonage Trust it provides a thriving community hub for the people of Didsbury and beyond, in a locally significant and picturesque setting.

The original stained glass sundial in the Library of the Old Parsonage was designed by the then owner, Alderman Fletcher Moss. This sundial went missing at some unknown time before the Second World War. Using archive evidence, including photographs, John Carmichael constructed full-size working drawings including a rendering of the intended replacement sundial on acrylic. He incorporated his own design of a demountable gnomon which is held in place by two magnets. Any accidental knock results in the gnomon falling harmlessly to the ground without damaging the glass. It can be replaced in a matter of seconds. Unlike the original which had white painted glass between the hour lines, the replacement has clear glass that was frosted (sandblasted) on one side. This creates the darkest optimum shadows. Fuller notes are provided separately.

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