Open letter and request:
Charles Gretton c1648 – c1731
A notable and respected clock and watchmaker, a contemporary of Tompion, Quare, Clement, Stanton, Speakman and others, Master of the Clockmaker’s Company in 1700. Born in Claypole near Newark but moved to London to practice his profession, apprenticed Henry Sully and others and it is believed that he ran a successful business in Fleet Street, near Sergents Inn gate.
Who was he? Why is there not more written about him? Where did he learn his outstanding and innovative skills to produce such fine examples of spring clocks, longcase clocks and watches?
Where are his clocks and watches now? We do know that there are examples in museums (The Ashmoleum, Oxford, The British Museum and the V & A Museum in London, to name just three), but most are likely in private collections in the UK, Holland, Canada, the USA and even in Argentina.
Warner Meinen (Holland) and I (Vancouver Canada) have made it our business to find the answer to some of these questions. To research his life, his contribution to horology and his masterful timepieces. Yes, we plan to publish our findings with as much accuracy and in as high a book standard as is possible.
We are in the research and information gathering stage, which, if you have ever tried to write a book, will understand just how slow and difficult it is. So we are asking for your help. We know that there are many clocks and watches out there, and we need to know about them. If you are lucky enough to own a timepiece by Charles Gretton, or know someone who does, please contact us. Your privacy will be strictly respected and you may remain anonymous if you wish. But Charles Gretton and his work needs to be honored, after all, you purchased his work for very good reason. Help us share his masterful work by contributing information and photographs. We would welcome the opportunity to inspect any piece of his work, to detail its specifications and to take professional photographs.
As a first step, just email, fax or write with details of what you have, simple photographs to start would help, but are not critical at this stage. I predict that we will have plenty of time to fully detail each piece, and to photograph it.
Please take the next step and contact us, it will be greatly appreciated.
2515 Marine Drive
West Vancouver, B.C.
V7V 1L5. Canada
9431 CS Westerbork