The British Sundial Society

Promoting the Art and Science of Gnomonics since 1989

The British Sundial Society is pleased to announce its sixth awards scheme for excellent sundials. The only requirement is that the dials must have been made or restored between January 2016 and December 2020; otherwise this is an open competition.

Entries in the form of one or more photographs and a brief description are invited from amateurs, professionals, members and non-members, from the UK and overseas. Awards (in the form of certificates) will be made for new sundials and for sundial restoration projects, and for entries from juniors, schools and other youth groups.

Please send entries to Doug Bateman in the form of emails and attachments. Entries must be submitted by 31st December 2020.

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For obvious reasons it has not been possible to run the Photo Competition at the Conference in the normal way. Instead, the entries can be seen at the link below and members are invited to vote for the winners as described in the June Newsletter. Don’t leave it too long, the deadline for voting is 18th. July!

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We regret that due to Covid-19 the April 2020 conference in York cannot be held. The Society’s next conference will be held between 16-18 April 2021 in Exeter. Further information on the Exeter conference will be posted later in the year.

Anyone interested promoting the BSS can now purchase T-shirts with the BSS logo. They are made on demand by BSS member Martins Gills through his “Cat in Space” online shop. Various logo versions, shirt colours and sizes are available. Use this link for direct access to the collection: Martins has kindly provided the discount code “BSSoffer” which can be used during the checkout process and provides a reduced price of £13.70 including all taxes and shipping.

You may also be interested in this list of BSS books and publications.

Photo by Caroline Kearsley

Frank King has sent in this photograph of two BSS members taken at the Installation Dinner of the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers on 28 January. Earlier in the evening, Joanna Migdal had been installed as the new Master of the Company and she is seen here sitting in the Magisterial Chair. The material from which her dress is made is decorated with clocks and watches. At the end of the Dinner, Joanna made her inaugural speech as the new Master. Frank was invited to reply. He is wearing the number two dress of ‘The University Bellringer and Keeper of the University Clock’. This unusual Cambridge post dates back to the 15th century. Oxford doesn’t have an equivalent and one wonders how they ever ran to a timetable. Frank mentioned a number of notable sundial makers who have been Masters of the Clockmakers’ Company ranging from Elias Allen (1636) to Joanna Migdal (2020). You can hear Frank’s speech below.


A new edition of Jill Wilson’s Biographical Index of British Sundial Makers (BSS Monograph No.12) has just been published. Updated and greatly expanded since the second edition of 2007, it gives details of almost 1900 dial makers working from the 7th to the 20th century, and includes the heyday of British scientific instrument making. Not only is it essential for conducting research into dial making, but it is also a good read, with some fascinating snippets. Arranged by centuries to emphasise changing styles and to show associations between dial makers of their period, it is complemented by an appendix covering sundial makers in London guilds, with a visual representation of master-apprentice relationships mentioned in the text.

The Index is A4 size as before and now has 240 pages. It costs £18.50 plus postage and packing which is £4 for the UK. To order or enquire about postage to other destinations, please contact Elspeth Hill.