Cathy – being ever keen to raise the profile of horology generally – began to think of ways of publicising the profession. Why shouldn’t there be a little spot on the radio, a sort of, clock clinic or horology advice spot? Consequently, she approached the esteemed Judi Spiers of BBC Radio Devon with this idea. It was not too long before Cathy was on the afternoon show with her own spot. As Cathy attends and provides remedial work for ailing timepieces, the title ‘Clock Doctor’ was clearly appropriate.
This photo features Cathy and Colin Slade in the studio of Exeter FM during a Clock Doctor radio feature.
Express & Echo
The following article about me as The Clock Doctor appeared in the Express & Echo on the 8th July 2008.
Cathy McAnespie, possibly the first woman clock repairer and horology instructor in the country started out her career by accident but has never looked back.
I claim some pride in the knowledge that I am the first female horology instructor and clock repairer of my status and reputation in the South West; probably the Country!
I became a horologist literally by accident! Initially training as a dental nurse in 1996, I suffered from a severe back injury. Retraining as a horologist at St Loye’s College in Exeter, I completed the intensive course under the patient guidance of horologist/engineer Pete Mitchell and the late horologist/author Mick Watters. I met my wonderful and very supportive husband Steve who was also retraining at that time. In 2002 I became a fully qualified instructor working part-time at St. Loye’s attracting the attention of the media; becoming affectionately known as “The Clock Doctor”. Featuring regularly in many newspaper and magazine articles, I also appeared on television and had my own spot on BBC Radio Devon. One of the high points of my career was interviewing Michael Aspel and experts from the Antiques Roadshow.
In 2000 I established my own company “PrimeTime” in order to become an independent sole trader, opening my own small workshop undertaking customer/trade repairs. As a result of a larger customer base, I expanded into bigger premises before renting space in antique centres to sell my clocks and barometers.
Following the announcement of the closure of St. Loye’s I opened “PrimeTime of Exeter Limited” in December last year in Magdalen Road, St. Leonards aka ‘The Shopping Village’. It is a thriving community boasting friendly independent shops offering a warm welcome and good old fashioned customer service. As well as repairing and restoring clocks, watches and barometers, PrimeTime of Exeter is the only shop in the City dealing in a wide selection of both antique and modern stock. Since opening, I have been met with a positive and welcoming response by both customers and other traders. Loyal customers are key to the success of my business so I always out my work to a consistently high standard giving excellent after care service; something I feel is sadly lacking in a lot of businesses today. It is very rewarding to transform a broken, run down family heirloom through repair and restoration into a working timepiece/barometer that the customer’s family may not have seen working for a generation or more.
I am passionate about what I do; however, there have been some major challenges, not least being a woman in a male dominated profession coupled with overcoming my disability.
Motivation comes from being driven to make a success of my own business whilst maintaining the standards and quality developed over many years. I received no financial support initially, although latterly I have had nominal financial aid in relation to training my assistant Andy Hughes, a previous trainee of mine at St. Loye’s. I have received excellent professional guidance and support from colleagues and other instructors so will be very sad to see St. Loye’s finally close its doors at the end of July after a 70 year history. I owe so much to the high quality training I received, however I am delighted that my previous instructor and mentor, Peter Mitchell, will be maintaining a close link with my business.
The winning formula for a successful business is preparation by doing your groundwork and research thoroughly. Evaluate the area geographically and economically and obtain sound professional advice, including marketing. Above all network – do not try to do it ALL alone – and most importantly, always maintain a high standard and quality of work.
“Pictures courtesy of Express & Echo”
The following article about PrimeTime’s ‘Time For Remembrance’ horological archive web-site appeared in the Exeter Living magazine:
Featured in the ‘Express & Echo’ and on the ‘This is Exeter’ website
EXETER horologist Cathy McAnespie has come up with a timely idea to mark the centenary of the start of the First World War.
Cathy, who runs the PrimeTime shop in St Leonard’s, is creating a horological online archive called Time For Remembrance. She said: “The objective is to archive as many images of timepieces belonging to all those associated with all conflicts locally, nationally and internationally.
“The timepiece may have been worn by a great-grandfather in the trenches in WW1, saved the life of Tommy at the Somme been captured at Dunkirk, or be an image of the local church that survived the Blitz.
“We are inviting visitors to the site to post their pictures and grow the archive in order to compile the greatest compilation of timepieces associated with conflict ever archived.
“This is a unique concept, and driven not only by my love of horology but also in an awareness that fewer people seem inclined to ‘remember’ our heroes than used to be the case.”