The Pat Oliver Collection of Clocks


28th September 2022

We are very privileged to have been instructed by Pat Oliver, a longstanding client, to sell his entire clock collection in our forthcoming Horological Auctions on Thursday 27th & Friday 28th October 2022.  Pat is passionate about Horology and there are many outstanding clocks in the collection, but the stand out lot must be the only Lantern Clock generally acknowledged to have been made by Edward East, Clockmaker to Charles I of England (lot 1378)

We asked Pat to write a short biography about his lifetime and passion for Horology which is printed below.

I was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland in June 1942.  Leaving school at the age of 15 an apprentice motor vehicle mechanic, which never materialised.  I drifted on in different employments for a few years.

My parents, as times were hard, for extra income had stalls at Camden Loch, Bermondsey Market and also Brick Lane selling antiques and bric a brac.  As time went by I became interested in antiques and drawn into antiques myself.  One day I purchased an old silver pocket watch, which was not working, I then had the idea of learning how to repair watches and clocks, which I began to appreciate.

In the 1970s I was living in Essex and I often took pocket watches into a clock/watch repairers in Coggeshall.  I offered to help out at weekends, for no pay, unfortunately my offer was not accepted.  About this time I saw the BHI correspondence course which I started for about a year.  Then I noticed there were courses offered by the government better known as TOPS.

When I saw an advertisement for the government opportunity training scheme (TOPS), unfortunately, these courses no longer exist.  Upon application I was told I the scheme was for unemployed people only.  So this made me not eligible as I was employed.  I explained I would give my notice in at work and apply to go on the scheme.  The reply was I still was not eligible as I had given up my job and not made redundant or sacked.  Even so, I kept persevering and still carried on applying to go on the course.  Eventually they relented due to my determination and gave me the opportunity to attend a skill centre at Slough on a full time residential course lasting for one year.  I obtained a 1st class pass for watch & clock repairs in theory and practical work.  I understand this pass was equivalent to the old City & Guilds. 

After finishing the course I was employed by Rotary watches.  Eventually, I returned back to London and worked outside of the trade for a while but I continued to take a heavy interest in clock and watch restoration.  I went to evening classes and also at weekends I had stands at well known antique fairs including Brunel and Birmingham Clock & Watch Fairs. 

After a time I had the opportunity of opening a small clock and watch workshop, as my father-in-law had some workshop space in a property he owned.  He saw how hard and committed I was to horology and the trade in general.  So there I began my career of working on my own, being self employed.  During this time I attended Hackney College giving myself day release to attend the Watch & Clock repair course.  Eventually, with work bench experience and Hackney College papers I obtained the MBHI.

Later on my dear father-in-law gave me the opportunity to buy the freehold premises where I opened my shop as the 'Hendon Clock Centre'.  I managed to expand my repair and restoration and also went onto sell antique and modern clocks.

Over the years I also had stands at the popular Watch & Clock Fairs and other antique markets. 

My wife and I managed to build up our much loved varied clock collection.  Consisting of everything to do with Horology from low quality to high quality, from miniatures, carriage clocks, bracket clocks through to longcases.  This has taken us over 35 years plus I was collecting even before my wife, Jackie, and I met.  I am now 80 with various health problems and we feel it is time to slow down and allow others to enjoy our much loved clocks.

The above is just a small part of my life in the world of horology.  Within our journey Jackie and I have met many interesting people, been to some lovely places and homes, celebrated many wonderful occasions, such as Westminster Abbey for the laying of the Harrison stone and the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich where we had luncheon and many more fond memories.  We have also had a lot of fun and made many friends within the trade of horology. 

We have bought many clocks which have been so large we had no idea where they would go. Somehow the clocks told us where they wanted to be and soon settled into our home quite comfortably.

My parents introduced by two brothers and sister into the antique world.  My sister dealt in vintage clothing and my brothers had an antique and bric a brac shop.  As a family we loved and appreciated antiques and still do.

Pat Oliver



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