The Coventry Watch Museum Project...
consists of a group of people, many of whom were born and bred in Coventry, who are seeking to inform people about the history of watchmaking which was so important to the industrial development of the city. The Project is a company limited by guarantee and a registered charity.
Coventry has over the past few centuries been home to several industries of national significance. Watchmaking was first recorded in the city in the 1680s, but it was not until the 18th century that Coventry emerged as one of the main centres of the watchmaking industry in England. By the first half of the 19th century Coventry had even reached a position of national dominance. It was not however, to last - by the second half of the century cheaper factory methods in the USA and improved quality in Switzerland were rapidly eating away at Coventry's market share. All was not lost though, as the watchmaking industry helped developed a skill base that was to contribute to Coventry's rise as a centre of the motor car, motor cycle, aircraft and precision engineering.
In the short term, The Watch Museum Project tries to preserve artefacts and buildings and to carry out historical research. The group's long term aim is to see a working museum established where watches and tools would be displayed together with photographs of people, buildings and maps of the areas in which the work took place. There would also be the opportunity to see a watchmaker carrying out repairs and making replacement parts. An enormous leap forward was taken in December 2002 when the purchase of some cottages in Lower Spon Street was completed and The Project is now working towards converting the cottages and land into a museum. Some preliminary work is being done by volunteers but it is the aim to secure substantial funding to enable the major structural work to be carried out professionally.
Museum is open Tuesdays & Saturdays, 11am to 3pm
(Special arrangements can be made for organised groups & school parties