Earlier this year, the museum was very fortunate to be given a beautiful antique clock made here in Charlbury by James Street (1799-1836). The longcase clock with its decorative painted dial, signed Street, Charlbury, is a splendid addition to the collection. It has spent its whole life in Oxfordshire and was given as a wedding gift to the donor’s grandparents in 1948.
Charlbury has important historic associations with clock and watch making. The celebrated clockmaker Larcum Kendal was born here in 1719 (he has a blue plaque on his birthplace in Market Street). He was central to the development of a reliable chronometer which enabled sailors to accurately calculate their longitude at sea, thus saving many lives. The famous 18th century Quaker clockmakers Thomas Gilkes and William Harrison worked in the town, and James Street’s father, Richard, was also a Charlbury clockmaker. The museum knows of one other clock made by Street in the town but could there be another hidden away somewhere in Charlbury?