Whitehurst Anniversary Celebrations

Derby Celebrates

Posted on 25 April, 2013


Time is of the essence for Derby in 2013. It’s 300 years since the birth of one of Britain’s greatest innovators, and the city will be working against the clock to introduce the rest of the UK and the world, to clockmaker, engineer and geologist - John Whitehurst. With perfect timing, it is also the 200th anniversary of John Smith, a former employee of Whitehurst’s company.


John Whitehurst was born in Congleton, Cheshire, in 1713. The son of a watch and clockmaker, he moved to Derby around 1736. Here, he made clocks, thermometers, barometers, and other philosophical instruments, and also pursued an interest in both engineering and geology. Derby has long been a hot spot of genius and invention, and at the same time that Whitehurst was making his name in clock making, Strutt was busy with his new stocking frame, and Duesbury was helping to establish an English ceramics industry.


The clock making traditions continue today in our workshops in Derby and Whitchurch. This has been helped by the fact that Smith of Derby acquired some of the other best known clockmakers in Britain - including the oldest clockmakers in the world, J.B.Joyce & Company of Whitchurch, responsible for some of the most iconic clocks in the world.


A number of events will be held around the City to celebrate these important times – including a special evensong service at Derby Cathedral on Sunday 28th April, 6pm.

As part of the service local historian Max Craven will speak and give further details of Whitehurst’s life.  


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