It has also built up a substantial museum thanks to items donated to the institute. That is one of the reasons the BHI is located near Southwell.
Coming to Nottinghamshire
The British Horological Institute was founded in 1858. In 1972 it relocated from its London home in Northampton Street, Clerkenwell, to Upton Hall in Nottinghamshire.
According to Viscount Midleton it was a decision down to space, building condition and money.
"It had been badly damaged during the second world war... during the blitz and by a V2 rocket. Although it had been repaired it hadn't been repaired enough. It was going to cost £150,000 to restore it ... so we sold it for £105,000 and purchased Upton Hall for £33,000."
However, the clock curator said, more than 30 years on, there is still some ill-feeling about the move.
"Some [members] have never been happy about it. There's a continued debate within the institute about whether we ought to be here or whether we move. But if we move to a city like Birmingham [which some members want] we might be able to buy a single garage for the price of this building.
"The money doesn't stack up. I think we'll stay here."
Passing on the tradition
For 120 years, the BHI has been training clock and watch makers.
It is a tradition that continues to this day with lessons at Upton Hall and also correspondence courses.
Latterly there has been a shortage of people becoming watchmakers but the institute has recently seen professional people, who might have lost their jobs in the recession, enquiring about the trade.
Traditionally it took seven years to become fully trained but the Institute allows people to learn in stages.
More than 200 are currently on the correspondence course.
The Institute opens to the general public three times a year - on the last Sunday in March, when the clocks go forward, one weekend in June and on the last Sunday in October, when the clocks go back but private tours can be arranged. For more information contact 01636 813795.
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