BOOKREVIEW: Severs: Stokesley's Clockmakers (North Yorkshire UK)

Fortunat Mueller-Maerki

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BOOKREVIEW

Clocks from Stockesley (North Yorkshire, UK)


Stockesley’s Clockmakers, by David F. Severs. Published 2009 by the author, Northallerton UK; paperback, 139 pages. 15x21 cm; No ISBN number. 36 plates (mostly color photographs), Glossary, Index. Text in English. Limited numbered edition of 250 copies. Available from the author (dsevers@btinternet.com) or borrow from the Library & Research Center at the National Watch & Clock Museum.

This book is the ‘sister volume’ to the two books by the same author, written in 1998 and 2008, about the clockmakers of Northallerton, a midsize town in North Yorkshire (UK). In the course of his search for surviving locally made longcase clocks in the region around Northallerton, the author became aware that there was also a clock making tradition in the smaller town of Stokesley with about 500 homes some 16 miles to the north east..

Building on the files assembled by local historian Beryl Turner, who despite lacking horological knowhow had assembled biographical information on local clockmakers, the author over the years was able to identify eight Stokesley clockmakers in the 18th century and 16 in the period of 1800 to 1880.

The bulk of the book (117 out of 139 pages) discusses the biographical detail of these 24 clockmakers and provides a written and pictorial documentation of whatever surviving examples of their work the author could find. As in the author’s earlier books the emphasis is on recording the known and documented facts by quoting historic documents and showing images of the surviving clocks.

While this type of book appeals to only a limited number of readers, to those who have a desire or need to learn about the historic clockmakers of Stokesley (North Yorkshire, UK) the information is most valuable. This reviewer wishes there were as many of these kinds of authors covering the USA as there seem to be in Great Britain.

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Fortunat Mueller-Maerki. Sussex NJ March 5, 2009

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