The watchmakers of Waterford

Richard Whatmore tells the story of a beleaguered band of Protestant revolutionaries who fled capture in their native Geneva in order to set up an unlikely community of watchmakers on the southern Irish coast

William Petty, 2nd Earl of Shelburne and British prime minister from 1782–83, was instrumental in the Genevan exiles’ move to southern Ireland. (Getty Images) 

This article was first published in the July 2012 issue of BBC History Magazine 

In the early hours of 1 July 1782 a boat left Geneva. It carried many of the men who had been ruling the city since a popular revolution swept the old regime away on 5 April.

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