Phil – Clock Curator at the Black Country Living Museum email

I dont know why Im posting this email I received up – I hope its not vanity.

It is vanity.

I get quite a lot of feedback like this on the blog and I assure you it is well received. It takes quite a lot of time to produce the articles and I make an effort to actually do something that people will learn from and be encouraged by. People should learn manual skills. We are built to do that, not sit in front of computers all day (as I am doing at this moment). Now I dont think Im teaching Phil much as you cant do what he has done without some considerable skill. For that reason alone I am flattered that he read the articles and found enough in there to keep going for a couple of hours reading. 

Many of the things I explain on the repair and reason articles are as much as to remind people that getting stuck in is something they should be doing, as they are to get people interested in clocks and understand it a little more (and value!) what they are custodians of. Nobody gets cremated with a clock. Yet. Yes. 

Phil is a museum curator volunteer of their clocks and obviously spent some time writing to me so I thought it would be complimentary to publish the email as he mentions some stuff about the Museum he works at. I may well visit but probably not as its far too far and I could be mending clocks or sitting on the motorway – tough one. Anyway Thanks Phil.

He didnt ask me to plug his workplace or big him up or any such thing but I found this website online which I assume is his. Its got 20 clocks. Oh and 250,000 people visit a year so its not a knackered old shed with 20 clocks and some guy on the gate asking for £175 for a family ticket if your girlfriend in pregnant. Thats my shed. Anyway Im handing over to Phil now.

Hello Justin,

My name’s Phil and I’m a retired Chartered Engineer and now volunteer clock repairer to the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley, West Midlands.

I stumbled across your website and blog this evening, and spent two enjoyable hours reading a few of the stories! Keep up the good work, I’ll visit the site again and read more soon. I must say I am amazed at your energy and enthusiasm. You must work all hours, sometimes at your own expense, which is very creditable in this day and age.

All the clock repairs I do are as a volunteer, but the Museum reimburses me for any parts and materials I have to order (I use Cousins UK). I’ve been doing this work for about three years, one day a week. I’m completely self-taught, and I’ve now repaired or restored around 20 American, German and English clocks which are dotted around the Museum. Every week I start the day by going round, winding them all up and setting or regulating them, then I go to the little workshop in the basement and carry on with the particular clock I’m working on. Some have taken me 30-40 hours to restore, possibly more. Many of them had clearly been donated to the Museum because they didn’t work, and a large proportion had suffered some very crude previous ‘repair’ work. In the process I have learned a huge amount, supplemented by reading a lot of books by the likes of TR Robinson, Donald deCarle, Eric Smith and Laurie Penman.

Can I conclude by wishing you and your business continuing success, and thank you again for the blog.


Kind regards,


Phil Harris


Another one came in today I just found. This blog really does help people and that makes me very happy indeed.

We discovered your website when googling how to replace the gut on a grandfather clock (it snapped at 3am with an almighty crash!).
The help was invaluable and I have replaced both bits without any difficulty and, more importantly, with confidence.
Thank you
Kind regards