Changing the time on Britain’s most prestigious clocks

This weekend sees the beginning of British Summer Time (BST), which was first established by the Summer Time Act of 1916 and we move forward to GMT +1. As every British household gets set to change the multitude of clocks around the house, we spare a thought for those tasked with winding forward some of the most prestigious clocks around Britain.

 Big Ben

The world’s most famous clock is the responsibility of the Clockmakers at the Palace of Westminster  – who have 2000 clocks to change throughout the Place and parliamentary buildings! Changing the time on Big Ben is not a simple process. It involves careful precision and split-second timing from the Clockmakers.

Take a look at the process here and watch this fascinating video…

Royal Liver Building Liverpool 

The clocks at the top of the Royal Liver building, Great George, are the largest clock faces in Britain. There are four of them positioned on the 295 feet high clock tower overlooking the River Mersey – with huge dials of 25 feet in diameter and 14-foot long minute hands! They are the world’s 16th largest clockfaces and were put in motion on July 22nd 1991, the precise moment that King George was crowned!

Britains Oldest Clock

The oldest still fully-functioning clock in Britain is the clock on the north transept of Wells Cathedral in Somerset. An astronomical clock, it dates back to between 1386 and 1392.

The Eastgate Tower Clock 

Situated in the Roman walled city of Chester and built to commemorate the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria, this impressive clock is built into the walkway along Chester Walls, above the city’s Eastgate entrance.  It is said to be the most photographed clock in Britain, after Big Ben.

Joseph Chamberlain Memorial Clock Tower, University of Birmingham 

Otherwise know as “Old Joe”, this is the tallest freestanding clock tower in the World at 100 metres! Built to commemorate Joseph Chamberlain, the first Chancellor of the University, it was completed in 1908.

More famous clocks from around the World…

Philadelphia City Hall in Philadelphia, US held the title of the tallest building in the world from 1901 to 1908 and has four clocks which are 8 meters in diameter.

Makkah Royal Clock Tower Hotel, Mecca, Saudi Arabia is the tallest clock tower and largest clock face in the World!

The Prague Astronomical Clock, Prague, Czech Republic attracts many tourists, who watch the famous moving figures of the beautiful clock. I watched this myself in a snowy January many years ago and it is lovely to see. Hard to believe that the clock was first installed in the year 1410!

Rathaus-Glockenspiel, Munich, Germany is a famous tourist attraction, built in 1908. It has 48 Bells and 32 life-sized figures who re-enact two stories from the 16th Century.

The Savious Tower, Moscow, Russia in Red Square was designed in 1491 and installed in 1625 and is part of the Kremlin walls.

Back to everyone in the UK… remember to put your clocks forward and enjoy the extra hours of sunshine!

Two new features for St Patrick’s Day

To celebrate St Patrick’s Day, we are pleased to announce two new features.

Our infographic, designed to help you share your research in a fun and exciting way with your family, can now be created in the national colours of Ireland.

So if Irish Infographicyou have a bit of Irish blood and want a fun way of showing your family members their Irish heritage, click here to create yours. It’s free to create and shows you statistics such as the average number of children per family, the most common surnames, the ratio of men to women and the average age of marriage.

We are also delighted to have launched a timeline of Irish History. The timeline shows the story of Ireland through it’s legal, political and religious events and we are grateful to the Irish Family History Centre in Dublin for their help in pulling the content together.

The Irish Family History Centre are an award-winning history and heritage company, who as part of the EPIC Ireland experience, showcase the unique global journey of the Irish people. Their experts help people research their Irish ancestry and they provide an interesting way for visitors to discover their family story and Irish heritage.

As a Twile user you can overlay this new Irish History timeline onto your own family history timeline, to see the lives of your Irish ancestors in the context of what was happening in the country around them. Your ancestors milestones will be alongside events such as the Confederate Wars and the Great Famine.

We hope that you enjoy these new features…happy St Patrick’s Day!

Related articles

Have you got a little bit of Irish in you? Take the Findmypast Quiz 

10 things you need to know when starting Irish Genealogy Research (Fiona Fitzsimons of the Irish Family History Centre explains everything you need to know)

 

 

Twile supports Legacy Tale’s Family Storytelling retreat

We are delighted to be supporting Legacy Tale’s Family Storytelling retreat, which takes place in St. George, UT in April 2017.

Legacy Tale work with families to reflect and capture their legacy.  Their storytelling retreat brings together mothers, daughters, sisters and grandmothers to record their life stories whilst having fun!

We like anything that makes recording your family story fun and Legacy Tale will be using Twile throughout the two-day retreat to capture and share stories.

Great that this has been announced on International Women’s Day too! For more information and to book tickets, take a look herecropped-main-logo-with-tagline

 

 

 

The technical challenges of running a growing startup

While we are constantly trying to add new features to your Twile timeline and family tree, I thought it might be useful to give some insight into how much time is spent simply ensuring Twile runs smoothly behind the scenes.

One of the things we love about building Twile is the close relationship we have with our customers.  We have always actively encouraged our customers to give us their feedback and reach out when we can help in any way.  And our customers clearly appreciate this level of conversation – something they very rarely get from other online brands.

The feedback we receive makes it much easier for us to build the features that customers want to use.  Pretty much everything we add into Twile has been directly or indirectly requested by our users.

Unfortunately, there is also a large amount of development work needed that doesn’t lead to shiny new features.  As Twile has grown (we’ve been around for nearly four years now), we’ve had to adapt many technical aspects of Twile to accommodate the requirements of our audience.  Who knew you guys could have 50,000 people on a family tree?!

And as we add new features to the app, we have to review its look-and-feel and layout, to make sure it still has the minimalist simplicity that our customers have told us they love.

Fortunately, we have a great team of developers who are experts in all of the above.  Every single piece of Twile that you either can or can’t see has been designed and built internally by Twile’s own developers.  We’re very proud of them 🙂

So, please keep your suggestions coming – we love to hear your feedback and we take on board every idea or request you send our way.  We have to spend a lot of our time maintaining the existing features and keeping Twile running smoothly, but we’re also working as hard as we can to add all of the features you’re hoping for.

And we have some very big features coming soon!

Twile present to the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions

This week, Twile’s Paul Brooks and Kelly Marsden attended a council meeting of members of ALVA – the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions – at Wembley Stadium in London.

As well as a great opportunity to rub shoulders with leaders of some of the UK’s leading tourist attractions, we had a chance to tour England’s national football stadium and sample some truly fantastic food!  We were made extremely welcome and are very much looking forward building on the relationships we started there.

ALVA represent some of the top UK attractions to Government, media and business and lobby for support for the sector, as well as providing valuable networking and knowledge-sharing opportunities for their members.

Twile were introduced to ALVA through our relationship with Pitch@Palace, the startup competition founded by Prince Andrew, the Duke of York.  The Pitch@Palace team felt there was a natural connection between Twile’s mission around family and history and the goals of ALVA’s members, which include museums, palaces, galleries and heritage trusts. All members have rich histories, perfect for viewing on a timeline.

We were delighted to have the opportunity to introduce Twile and look forward to long and prosperous relationships with ALVA members.

Twile is announced as one of Creative England’s Top 50 companies

Every year, Creative England reveals their CE50 – a list of the fifty best up-and-coming, innovative companies in the creative industries in England.  Twile are delighted to be one of this year’s 50!

The list includes some of the most exciting startups in the film, music, gaming and digital spaces.  It’s a very broad range of companies, reflecting and celebrating the success and diversity of British creativity.

CE_Live_2017_089

Creative England have supported Twile since we first launched in 2013 and it’s an honour to be among their top companies.  We’ve changed a lot since our early days and have evolved Twile into a uniquely innovative offering in the family history space – they’re still there supporting us as we grow and our place in the CE50 must mean we’re doing something right.

Read the interview with Twile’s CEO, Paul Brooks, in the Daily Telegraph this week: Three tips for launching a company in the creative sector

And read the full report here: Creative England CE50 2017

 

 

 

 

Our five highlights from RootsTech 2017

The Twile team were at RootsTech 2017 last week, at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, one year after we won 2 awards there in the Innovator Showdown.

Last year there was a huge buzz around Twile, because we were pitching in the competition and because we were introducing Twile for the first time to most people.  And the buzz was still there this time – RootsTech is such an exciting experience for family historians and we love being among such enthusiastic people!

Here are our five highlights from RootsTech 2017:

  1. Twile is now FREE for everyone
    On the first day of RootsTech, we announced we were dropping the subscription fee for Twile and making it completely free for everybody to use.  Needless to say, this was a very popular piece of news and we had a lot of new customers very excited to start using our family history timeline.
  2. Family history infographic
    We showcased our new family history infographic at RootsTech, allowing attendees to sign up and get their free “My Family In Numbers” chart, based on their FamilySearch or GEDCOM tree.  Get yours for free at: https://twile.com/numbers
  3. Innovator Showdown
    Five teams made it through to the final of the Innovator Showdown competition on Friday, 10th February.  Congratulations to Old News USA (1st), Qromatag (2nd), Double Match Triangulator (3rd) and Kindex with the coveted People’s Choice award! As one of last year’s winners, Twile were invited back on stage to give an update on what we’ve been up to since then.
  4. LeVar Burton’s keynote speech
    The keynotes are a big part of the RootsTech conference and the highlight for many was LeVar Burton’s speech on Friday morning.  The actor, best known for his roles as Geordi La Forge in Star Trek: The Next Generation and Kunta Kinte in Roots, gave a truly heartwarming talk about his relationship with his mother, his African heritage and slavery in the United States.
  5. The exhibition hall
    If you’ve never been to RootsTech, you’ll struggle to comprehend how big it is! More than 30,000 people visited the exhibition hall during the 3 days of the show and there was never a quiet moment on the Twile booth. We spoke with so many customers and made some fantastic contacts with exhibiting brands (big and small), forming the seeds of some really promising partnerships.

And Twile appeared on Utah’s KSL News as the exhibition was getting set up:

RootsTech 2018 is on 28 February – 3 March and Twile will most certainly be there!

Did you visit RootsTech this year?  Please add a comment below to tell us what your personal highlights were.

 

 

Twile at RootsTech 2017!

The largest global genealogy conference in the world – RootsTech – is finally here and we are delighted to be in Salt Lake City to be a part of it again.

The Innovator Summit kicked off the event today, reminding us of our experience in the Innovator Showdown in 2016, where we came away with two awards, including the coveted People’s Choice (read our previous article here).

Are you visiting RootsTech this week?Here are 10 reasons you should come and see us on booth #332 & 334.

10 reasons to visit the Twile booth

  1. It’s now completely FREE for everyone!
  2. You can create a FREE personalized infographic of your family history
  3. We can show you how to get the rest of your family interested in your research
  4. You could win a $200 Amazon gift card
  5. We’ll show you how to import your FamilySearch Tree
  6. We have free balloons for your kids!
  7. We’re on the way to the restrooms
  8. We’re from England…we might be related!
  9. We have cute British accents
  10. Our flights have cost a fortune (we’re from the UK)

Twile demonstrations

We are also doing several demostrations of Twile, so come along and find out more:

Thursday 9th February 

  • 2.30pm. Not just about records –  Kelly Marsden, Co-founder of Twile – at the Findmypast booth
  • 4.40pm. How to create your family infographic – Paul Brooks, CEO of Twile – in the Demo Theatre

Friday 10th February 

  • 2.30pm. Not just about records – Kelly Marsden, Co-founder of Twile – at the Findmypast booth

Saturday 11th February

  • 12.40pm. Turn your FamilySearch Tree in to a Twile Timeline – Paul Brooks, CEO of Twile – in the Demo Theatre
  • 2.30pm. Not just about records – Kelly Marsden, Co-founder of Twile – at the Findmypast booth

We look forward to seeing you!

 

 

Twile is now FREE for everyone

We are really happy to announce that – as of today – we have removed the subscription fee for using Twile and our family timeline is now free for everyone!

When we started Twile, our vision was for it to be used by all family members, who would share and collaborate on their family story. We feel that our subscription fee was getting in the way.

This is why it is now free to do everything on Twile:

  • Build your family tree
  • Share and collaborate with family
  • Add unlimited milestones and photos
  • Import from FamilySearch
  • Import and merge multiple GEDCOM files

Whilst we will no longer be charging customers to use our core product, we clearly do need to make some money. We are planning to introduce some optional add-ons in the future, which will enhance the Twile experience.

We realise there are many concerns within the industry about privacy and we want to take this opportunity to assure our customers that we will never sell their personal data.

So Twile is now free for you and all of your family – go ahead and build an awesome timeline of your family story, together!

“Name That Baby” competition to teach children about family history

Here’s an update on the project we’re running at a local school, to help introduce children to their family history.

In this week’s lesson we held a ‘name that baby’ competition. The children brought in old photos of themselves as babies so their classmates could guess who was who.

Children playing name that babyParticular focus was given to their nose, eyes and ears as they made their decisions and they were reminded that personal facial features are often similar to parents and grandparents – I asked them all to think about who they looked like most in their family and some interesting discussions began.

I had set homework in the previous lesson for the children to write a story about a family member. As our discussions moved on, they added this information to the Twile timeline – again, they all had wonderful stories to tell.  One story in particular was very moving so we asked the child to tell the rest of the class what she had learnt:

‘My 2 x great grandparents from Belfast, Ireland met during the sectarian troubles. My 2 x great grandad was Protestant and my grandma was Catholic. They were in love but were unable to be together because it wasn’t allowed and they would have been in a lot of trouble if they were found out. During the civil conflict they decided to move away to England where they could be married. They did get married and raised their children in England, which is why I live here today.’

The time flies by when I am in the school and it is so great to see how much fun the children are having. Over the next few weeks I am looking forward to discovering more family stories and some of the children are even making videos.