Friday, 29 June 2007

The Daglish clockmakers of Alnwick

Have you seen a Daglish clock? I did once - many years ago on a family holiday in Northumberland when our children were still young, we visited a nearby National Trust property and in the team room we saw a grandfather clock with the name "Daglish, Alnwick" on it. We didn't take a photo - and I have never seen another!

I was recently I was in touch with Peter Fenwick, a clock enthusiast who lives near Alnwick and who had owned a Daglish clock - but had recently sold it. The picture on the right (which appeared in the February 2002 edition of Clocks magazine) is of Peter's clock - you can just about see the name of Daglish on the dial.

The Daglishes made fine clocks, mostly grandfathers with brass or painted dials, many of which survive - but most of which are owned privately by collectors and rarely appear for sale.

During the 18th and 19th century, there were three generations of clockmakers called Joseph Daglish who lived and worked in Alnwick, Northumberland.

The family apparently had Scottish origins and are described as "dissenters" or nonconformists. The first Joseph Daglish arrived in Alnwick some time before 1740 - he was married to Ann Forster in that year. They had two sons, Joseph (1749-1798) and Robert (1753-1807), and both became clockmakers. Joseph succeeded his father, whilst Robert remained a journeyman all his life. Robert junior also had a son Joseph (1775-1843) who took over the business on his father's death. Over a hundred years of clockmaking under the Daglish name.

As far as I know, the youngest Joseph did not marry and had no children. He appears in the 1841 Census, living with his sister Ann, also unmarried - so I believe that the clock business ceased when he died.

Some Daglish clocks clocks are described in the book "North Country Clockmakers of the 17th, 18th and 19th Centuries" by C. Leo Reid (1925). A grandfather clock had a "face decorated with pictures of old English warships and at each corner there is a painting of admirals, one of which is Nelson". Another had a dial showing "old English figures painted with two pheasants and vase, in each corner flowers".

I would be very interested in any information about this clockmaking family - and to know the wherabouts of any Daglish clocks or to see any photos. Maybe we will have to pay a return visit to that National Trust property to see if we can find the clock that we remember seeing all those years ago!

Details from the book "Clock makers of Northumberland and Durham" by Keith Bates (1980). Other information supplied by Peter Fenwick.


Susan Taylor said...

Hi, just doing a bit of research on our grandfather clock, when you popped up.
We have a Daglish of Alnwick grandfather clock which we have had for 25 years.

Sally Anderson said...

I have just acquired a lovely cottage style Joseph Daglish 8day oak longcase clock with a Richard Hipkiss false plate dating it to C1809 It is running very well striking well on its bell The case needs a good clean and has suffered woodworm over the years. The case hood has a very fine cut fret between the swan neck pediments. The hands including the seconds and date are brass and appear original. The painted dial depicts the 4 seasons of farm workers with a windmill to the arch. the arabic numerals are of tumbling format with 15,30,45 and 60 minute markings. the face needs a clean with just general grime but no damage considering age.
K Anderson