Press Release: College investment in specialist lathe for clocks conservation students

Students on the Conservation of Clocks, Diploma and Degree programmes at West Dean are to benefit from the installation of a new lathe. The emphasis at the college is on practical work, combined with theoretical and scientific study. Students learn the fundamental principles and techniques used in the past to make and repair heritage clocks and related objects. The advanced level of professional skills attained, gained by working on unique and often rare objects from acclaimed collections, is in demand by prospective employers and prepares them to work on culturally important objects. The purchase of the Schaublin 102 lathe was funded with the generous involvement of donors who support college's work, including a significant contribution by The George Daniels' Educational Trust which supports students training for a career in clockmaking and watchmaking.

"The acquisition of this piece of machinery and its accessories marks a coming-of-age for the clocks workshop," says Matthew Read, MA, ACR, Programme Leader Clocks Conservation Programme." The industry standard Swiss lathe embodies our aspirations for quality work and quality thinking and will be highly beneficial to students. We are grateful to our sponsors who acknowledge the role West Dean plays in training the craftspeople of the future and will put this equipment to good use as we continue to focus on giving students unique practical skills."

As a leading institution in clock conservation and restoration West Dean offers the opportunity to train in specialist workshops, equipped with the very best quality instruments to stand them in good stead as future professional conservators. All Diploma students at the college learn to make a clock in its entirety in their first year including turning, and wheel and pinion cutting for which they will use the new engineering tool. The new engineering tool will sit alongside an existing, smaller, lathe and will enable students to work on even more ambitious and technically challenging projects.

David Poole, FBHI, Chairman of The George Daniels' Educational Trust Advisory Committee says, "We are pleased to be able to help with this addition to the workshop at West Dean College and believe the new lathe will help students further focus on the essential practical skills required for clock conservation".

West Dean is one of the few colleges in the world which offers graduate and postgraduate study in a range of conservation disciplines, including Books, Ceramics, Clocks, Metalwork and Furniture. Qualifications include a Foundation in Historic Craft Practices, a Graduate and a Postgraduate Diploma, MA and a Professional Development Diploma, all validated by the University of Sussex.

West Dean graduates are sought after and many go on to work in some of the world's finest institutions, such as the Victoria and Albert Museum, National Maritime Museum, The British Museum and Imperial War Museum or set up their own professional workshops.

West Dean College awards scholarships to talented students. For information on funding and to view the digital prospectus visit


Notes to editors

  • West Dean College is part of The Edward James Foundation which also comprises West Dean Gardens, West Dean Estate and the West Dean Tapestry Studio. Charity No. 1126084.
  • Matthew Read is an Icon accredited conservator. He is a member of the Antiquarian Horological Society Council.
  • The George Daniels' Educational Trust is an Isle of Man Registered Charity No. 1096 and was established by the late George Daniels, pioneer independent watchmaker and inventor. The George Daniels' Educational Trust Advisory Committee acts as advisers to the trustees on all horological matters of the Trusts' work.
  • All photography is free to use for editorial purposes.
  • West Dean College is situated on the A286, six miles north of Chichester and within easy access of Portsmouth, Guildford, Brighton and London.

Media Contact Information

For further information, high-resolution digital images of filming opportunities contact

Irene Caswell, Senior Media Officer, +44 (0)1243 818301


West Dean College, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 OQZ