The BHI Barrett Silver Medal

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A Short History

In 1872 the Turner’s Company in London offered to sponsor an annual award for BHI students. The ‘Turner’ Silver Medal, as it became known, was first awarded for ‘horological turning in metal’ and later for ‘excellence in mechanical drawing’  but awards were temporarily suspended in 1914, for the duration of the First World War, and again in 1940 for the duration of the Second World War. Thereafter, the award seems to have been forgotten. Certainly by the mid-1980s it had become a distant memory and its principal purpose, as an award for students, had been usurped by the BHI Bronze Medal.

The ‘new’ BHI Silver Medal was introduced in 1986 – and first awarded in 1987 – to fill a perceived gap between the Bronze Medal, which was for people starting out on their horological careers, and the Gold Medal, which had always been awarded infrequently in recognition of extraordinary achievements in horology. The catalyst had been the Institute’s failure to recognize the work of Cecil Clifford on the frictionless magnetic escapement with the award of the BHI Gold Medal.

In 1991 the silver medal was re-designated the ‘Barratt’ Silver Medal, in honour of the late D.W.Barrett, Managing Director of Smiths’ Industries Clock and Watch Division.

The 2005 (Revised) Criteria

The criteria for the award have been reviewed on three occasions, the last being in 2005, following work done on behalf of the Council by Dr K Lloyd-Jones.

The Standard

The award is for outstanding, but not necessarily extraordinary, development or achievement in any field of horology, or related to horology.


The award may be made only to members of the Institute.

The Authority to Award

The authority to award the Medal lies with the Council of the Institute.

The Decision to Award

An award need not necessarily be made each year but the possibility of making an award should be considered annually.


2015     Alan Midleton FBHI

Contribution to research and publications, leadership and curatorial work at the BHI

2015     Jim Arnfield FBHI

Contribution to horological invention and construction, and education

2013     David Thompson FBHI

Service to the history of horology and curatorial work at the British Museum

2011     Roger W. Smith FBHI

Dedication to and successfully continuing the finest traditions of English watchmaking

2010     Robert Bray FBHI

Innovative design and successful use of modern manufacturing techniques

2008    Jonathan Betts FBHI  

Historical research and curatorial care and conservation of horological artefacts

2008     Project 150 Clock

The medal was awarded for the design and construction of the 150 clock. The contribution of the members of the 150 team was recognised by the award of individual certificates

2007     Dr John Robey PhD

Horological historical writing and research. Support for horological publication

2005     Don J. Unwin

Construction of replicas of famous clocks and support for amateur clockmakers

2000     Ron Rose FBHI

Services to horology and to the South London Skeleton Clocks Project

1998     John Wilding FBHI  

Contributions to horology and stimulus to amateur clockmakers

1997     David Poole FBHI  

Horological excellence and services to horological education

1996     Michael Harding FBHI

Known world-wide for manufacture of high quality clocks of unusual design

1995     Remy Waelchli FBHI     (Switzerland)

Improving standards of watch repair. Responsible for the ETA training programme

1995     David Penney FBHI

Horological illustrator. Formerly editor of Antiquarian Horology

1994     Dr Philip Woodward DSc FBHI

Contributions to precision horology

1993     Theodore (Ted) Crom FBHI     (USA)

Author and historian. Collector of horological tools

1992     Derek Pratt FBHI   (Switzerland)

Restoration and construction of precision and complicated mechanical watches

1991     Anthony G. Randall BSc FBHI

Work on the détente escapement

1990   Henry B. Fried FBHI   (USA)

Author. Instigator of horological teaching in New York

1990   Richard Good FBHI

Writer, historian and designer

1989   Peter B. Wills FBHI

Development of the dynadromic pendulum

1988   Martin Burgess FBHI

For his many achievements in horology

1988   Peter Haward FBHI

For his many achievements in horology

1987   Cecil F. Clifford BSc FBHI MIEE

Recognition of his invention (in 1938) of the frictionless magnetic escapement


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