Also in 1999, my wife kindly took me on a
bus tour of Guatemala. We had a certain amount of time hanging round bus
stations with not much to do, so I thought about a question which comes
up in the British Sundial Society from time to time "Why are garden
sundials so awful and what on earth can be done to improve them"<
I first got interested in sundials in the
1970s. For a long time it was just a hobby, making a few painted
wooden sundials formyself and some of my friends. One of them told
me about the British Sundial
Society, and I suggested at an Annual General Meeting that an Award
Scheme should be set up, and was invited to join the Council to set
up the first one.
Later, I became interested in the Internet in connection with my job,
and set up Sundials on the Internet,
which has since become one of the leading information sites on sundials.
One of my other interests is cycling, and in the early 90s I rode on
2 of the trailblazing rides of Sustrams,
a cycling charity in the UK which subsequently got a large National
Lottery grant to build the National Cycle Network. They asked their
supporters whether they had any special skills, and I told them of my
sundial interests, and was asked to design a sundial for the Witham
cycle path from Lincoln to Washingborough.
This was my first public sundial commission, and was a very interesting
project, carried out under very adverse weather conditions.
1999 was a very special year - I was asked to design a large sundial
for the City of London, and I had the idea for an innovation in the
design of horizontal sundials.
The Worshipful Company of Tylers
and Bricklayers is one of the ancient City of London livery companies,
with a history going back over 500 years. They wanted to give a present
to the City of London to mark the Millennium. I designed a polar
sundial standing on a plinth of exactly 2,000 bricks. It is located
on the riverside walkway (Paul's Walk) outside the City
of London Boys School and very near to the Millennium
Footbridge In the top picture on this page, you can actually see the sundial as a small grey rectanngle just above the river wall on the right margin of the picture
One of the big problems for people buying a sundial is "How to set them
up correctly". My idea was to make this part of the process easy, by annaging
a slotted gnomon to cast the shadow. When the sun is directly overhead
at noontime, a line of light will shine through the slit for a few minutes.
Then, all you need to know is the exact time of noon at your location.
It was fairly simple to produce a website
to give you this information for every day of the year for a given latitude
It took two years to get the first brass Spot-On Sundial
into production. They are now made to my design in India, imported in
bulk into the UK, and sold from there all over world. In 2004, we produced
two larger brass sundials, one for the Bicentenary of the Royal Horticultual
Society. We also produced a small polar dial, repeating the design of
the Blackfridary sundial on a smaller scale.
More recently, we have produced Spot-On Sundials in
steel. . These have proved very popular for the larger garden, for
schools and for public open spaces.
The latest project, which we hope to show at the Chelsea Flower Show in
May 2006, is called the Skywheel - more details later.
to this website since 1 June 2001 -
Website extensively revised in May 2006