EDWARD JOHN DENT (1790â€“1853)
Location: No.46 King Street, renumbered No.43 King Street, now No.33 Neal Street;
A famous watchmaker noted for his highly accurate clocks and marine chronometers. Dent was apprenticed in 1804 to his grandfather, a tallow chandler but lodged with his cousin Richard Rippon (1767â€“1835), a watchmaker. He became fascinated by the watchmaking craft and switched his apprenticeship. He was employed by several of the leading watchmakers before entering into partnership with John Roger Arnold, a leading chronometer maker, in 1830. The partnership was dissolved in 1840 and he traded as E. J. Dent, London, obtaining the royal warrant in 1841. When he married at the late age of 52, his step-sons took his surname. Around this time he became involved in the manufacture of the dipleidoscope, the aneroid barometer and the marine compass. Dent won the tender for the clock to be installed in the tower of the new Palace of Westminster (now known as Big Ben), but died beofe its completion which was carried out by his stepson.
Sources: DNB; British Museum collection; www.dentlondon.com; V Mercer, The life and letters of Edward John Dent, chronometer maker, and some account of his successors (1977)