How to….. pages go live!

Hot off the Press!  Today we are at the CIfA conference in Newcastle to officially launch the HOW TO… pages of our website

Our stand at the CIfA conference – everything you want or need to know about pipes!

Our new HOW TO… pages take you through all the steps of what to do when you’ve found a pipe and want to know all about it.  Our pages tell you how to … get help with excavation, illustration and reporting, as well as how to…. identify the likely maker and place of production.

Our main HOW TO… page.

In addition to the HOW TO… pages there is also a useful glossary of pipe terms, which we will update from time to time

All our guidelines are also available to download as a PDF.

We hope that these pages will be helpful but if you can’t find what you are looking for, then don’t forget that you can always email us a question or query on NCTPA@talktalk.net

One of our Trustees – Harold Mytum from University of Liverpool – showing off the new HOW TO… pages.

You can also use our site to check out what digital resources we have from your area either through a Find by Location page or on our Resources page.  Keep an eye on these pages because we are adding to them all the time.

Now back to it – people to see, pipe queries to answer!

 

 

 

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Student Experience – Kevin

Over the course of the Historic England Project, we have been able to offer placements to some of the undergraduates in the Department of Archaeology at Liverpool University. The aim was to give the students an opportunity to work in a museum environment; a chance for them try their hand at the sort of tasks a museum curator might be expected to undertake on a day-to-day basis. This could be anything from re-bagging or boxing objects, to cataloguing and photography.

We thought it might be quite nice to let our students tell you, in their own words, what they thought of their time with the Archive.  The first student up is Kevin …

During my time with the Pipe Archive at Liverpool University I’ve learnt valuable skills within a professional setting. Working in a museum setting has always been a professional goal of mine, whilst here I’ve learnt more about the meticulous approach needed to succeed in such a field and feel more focused than ever to reach my goal.

In the Pipe Archive I’ve experienced the development of important databases, the archiving of large collections and the art behind photography. My favourite part of the experience was the photography, the art behind creating the perfect photo that captures everything important about the item in one sitting was a learning curve for me but one that I enjoyed attempting.

My item was a pipe, which had a hand wrapped around the bowl, it was nothing eccentric or special especially when compared to some of the French made pipes in the collection, but its odd shape and peculiar details made it a challenge to photograph. I had to move the object a number of times and there was a lot of trial and error on the lighting to find the perfect balance with the contrast.It was also important to make sure all elements of the pipe were on display and looked natural. Not only did this exercise help me learn a lot about photography itself, but it made me appreciate the craftsmanship behind the pipe itself – something I wouldn’t have thought about before my time here.

Clay pipe in the form of a hand holding an egg. This has a meerschaum wash and was made by Charles Crop of London (Green Collection LIVNP 1999.01)

Another challenging piece was a glass ash tray. In certain light it changed colour and during photography some parts became transparent. With so many points of light it was a huge test to photograph and present exactly what it was. This piece is so peculiar, but crafted so well.

Green glass ash-tray from the Cole Collection (LIVNP 2014.03)

I’m much more confident in my ability to work in a professional setting like this in the future. Working alongside the Curator, Susie White, who has an enormous passion for her work, has encouraged me to do the same.While pipes may not be my own personal passion I can now appreciate the skills and craftsmanship behind these pieces, their significance in understanding the past and just how important the Pipe Archive is in achieving this.”

Waifs and Strays!

Sudbury Hall in Derbyshire is a 17th century house built by George Vernon, which is now in the safe keeping of the National Trust.  Anyone who has watch the BBC’s Price and Prejudice may recognise it, as it was used for the filming of the interior shots.

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Sudbury Hall, Derbyshire

Next to Sudbury Hall is the Museum of Childhood with its reconstructed Victorian schoolroom and nursery filled with old toys and games.  The museum is currently rationalising their collection and came across a small number of smoking related items.  These didn’t really fit in with the childhood theme of the museum so they were looking for someone to give their waifs and strays a new home.  That’s where the National Pipe Archive stepped in.

In early February the Archive’s curator visited Sudbury and met Sue Fraser, Collections Manager, and Helen Subden, Collections Assistant, to pick-up seven objects for re-homing. It was a fun visit – it’s not every day you get to have a cup of tea in the butler’s pantry!  The Hall was undergoing some work in preparation for opening to the public over the half-term holiday, but it was still a beautiful building – if you’ve not visited before, you should!

As well as being able to help by offering the surplus objects a good home, what has made the objects even more special from the Archive’s point of view is that many of them fill gaps that are poorly represented in our collection of pipes and other smoking related items.  So, the objects – what where they?

LIVNP 2017.01.01 – A giant ‘cadger’ pipe, with the bowl depicting a large glass building, probably the Great Exhibition building of 1851.  Pipes with this design were first produced for sale at the exhibition itself, but remained popular for years afterwards and were produced into the early twentieth century.  We have a number of cadger pipes in our collection but this one is unusual in that it has been decorated with coloured paint, although not amazingly well, it has to be said.  These large pipes were most likely to have been novelties rather than produced with the intention of being smoked, although it is evident from the staining in some examples that people have clearly tried!

livnp_2017_01_01
Decorated Cadger (LIVNP 2017.01.01)

LIVNP 2017.01.02 – A short-stemmed “cutty” pipe with the lettering MINERS PIPE moulded along the sides of the stem, which was the pattern name for this particular style of pipe.  This example hasn’t been smoked.  This is a common style of pipe that would have been produced by a number of the larger pipe making firms during the later 19th and early 20th centuries.

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Miners Pipe (LIVNP 2017.01.02)

LIVNP 2017.01.03 – A Bryant and May match box containing seven incredibly large matches.  These were called a Motor Match and were for “motor-car, cycle and launch lamps” and were first advertised in 1904.  It states on the box that these will “flame for 20 seconds and keep alight in the strongest wind”.  With heads this size, we are not at all surprised by that statement!

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Bryan & May “Motor Match” (LIVNP 2017.01.04)

LIVNP 2017.01.04 – This item comprises a group of 11 very long “safety” matches.

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Very long safety matches (LIVNP 2017.01.04)

LIVNP 2017.01.05 – A late Victorian or Edwardian novelty brass vesta case with a striker on one side.  It is a rather unusual shape – almost “tooth” or “tusk-like” – with a rather charming pig on the top.

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Pig vesta case (LIVNP 2017.01.05)

LIVNP 2017.01.06 – A silver vesta case marked with a Birmingham hallmark for 1912 and the maker’s initials JR.  This case has a panel ready for the addition of a monogram but it remains blank, so the original owner remains a mystery.

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Silver vesta case (LIVNP 2017.01.06)

Finally, LIVNP 2017.01.07 – A heavy non-ferrous metal cover for a large match box with silver coloured inlaid decoration in the form of a bird in a tree surrounded with other foliage.

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Inlaid matchbox cover (LIVNP 2017.01.07)

All of these items make a most welcome addition to our collections and we are very grateful to the National Trust Museum of Childhood at Sudbury Hall for passing them on to us.

In the Spotlight! A Royal Souvenir

Since the Queen has been celebrating her 65 years of reign this week, we thought that a Royal Spotlight item would be appropriate.

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Pipe and Royal Tobacco Packets in “home-made” presentation box (LIVNP 2012.04).

This pipe and its associated packet of tobacco is part of the Elkin Collection (LIVNP 2012.04).  The original box, if it had one, has not survived, but a “home-made” presentation box has been created from an old cigar box.  The pipe itself is a standard early 20th-century design and the packet of tobacco is now empty,  but printed in gold with the Royal Coat of Arms and the lettering FROM H.M. THE KING 31ST OCTOBER 1913, which confirms the Royal connection.

The label in the lid of the box reads:

This pipe & Tobacco was given to all the workmen who was employed on the refronting of Buckingham Palace which was completed in 6 weeks. When a dinner was given to all the workmen employed on the job & each one was presented with pipe & tobacco from his Majesty King George 5th.                                               31st of October 1913

It has been signed by S.C. Kesby.

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Typed label from the lid of the box explaining the contents (LIVNP 2012.04).

In 1913 a decision was made to re-face the front of Buckingham Palace and Sir Aston Webb was commissioned to create a new design for the façade in Portland stone.  The stone was prepared in advance and numbered prior to delivery to Buckingham Palace.  The actual re-facing work was carried out by Messrs Leslie and Co, under the direction of Mr Shingleton, the managing director.  The work was reported in the press and an article in the New Zealand Herald, on 28 October 1913 noted that there were over 1,000 workmen employed and that they were working by day and night.  It was also reports that the “old dirty facing of French stone was being hacked away till the workmen came to the red brick, and then the find new Portland stone will be put in place”.

When the work was complete a special meal was given for all those involved at the King’s Hall at the Holborn Restaurant.  This too was reported on in The Times (1 November 1913), which tells us that men “came in their best clothes” and that a “substantial British dinner” was served.    It also noted that there was an “abundant supply of good ale”.  After the meal “pipes and tobacco were then passed round.  The packets containing the tobacco were ornamented with the Royal Arms in gilt, below which was printed “From H. M. the King, 31st October 1913; and the pipes were clays of special pattern.  Both packets and pipes were greatly appreciated as mementoes of the occasion”.

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The clay pipe of “special pattern” and the Royal tobacco packet (LIVNP 2012.04).

But who was S. C. Kesby, who signed the note in the box lid and, presumably, a recipient of this gift?  The only S.C. Kesby that can be found in the 1911 census is Sidney Charles Kesby, who was a 31 year old restaurant waiter living near the King’s Hall.  Given the unusual name, his occupation and where he lived, it seems likely that Sidney was one of the waiting staff at the king’s meal, who also received a pipe and tobacco as a souvenir of the occasion.

 

Pipes from the Thames, 10 years on!

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Part of the Jarzembowski Collection (LIVNP 2005.24).

This week’s blog entry is a combination of an update on the current Historic England project on one hand, and a nostalgic look back at an ongoing project,  the Jarzemboswki Collection (LIVNP 2005.24), on the other.

Back in 2005, thanks to support from the Worshipful Company of Tobacco Pipe Makers and Tobacco Blenders, the Archive was able to acquire a very substantial collection of clay tobacco pipes from Ed Jarzembowsk and his wife. The vast majority of the fragments had been collected by the couple from the Thames Foreshore from around Blackfriars and Queenhithe, but it also included a large of fragments from Salisbury that were collected following dredging work on the River Avon.

When the pipes came to us each individual pipe had been placed in a paper envelope on which Ed and his wife had painstakingly recorded where the fragment had been found, the date it had been found and any mark that was on it. Not only that, but they had also attempted to identify the maker from that mark, which more often than not was a moulded mark. These envelopes were then placed into a large number of lettuce boxes. This storage system worked fine until it came to transporting it half way across the country to Liverpool. By the time the pipes had reached Liverpool, most of them had jumped out of their envelopes. It was only thanks to the Jarzembowskis’ excellent record keeping that we were able to get the fragments back in to their correct envelope!

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One of the many lettuce boxes of pipes.

Clearly priority had to be given to getting these fragments properly marked and bagged. Therefore, this was our first mammoth task and in 2006 the first of a long line of volunteers set about marking, bagging and cataloguing a collection with an estimated 10,000 fragments.

Our position within a university environment enables us to offer training and research opportunities for students from the departments of archaeology, history and archives. Since the NPA employs a comprehensive cataloguing and indexing system that conforms to Museum Documentation Association standards, we are able to provide training for students who wish to seek future employment with the museum and heritage sector.  Large collections, such as the Jarzemboswki’s mean there is plenty of material for them to get their teeth into.  It’s a win-win situation – they get the training and we get some much needed help.

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Our 2006 volunteers hard at work in our old workroom.

Each fragment within the collection has been given a unique accession number and has been carefully bagged.  All of the fragments with stamp marks have been impressed for inclusion in the National Clay Tobacco Pipe Stamp Index, which is another very important project that the Archive is associated with – but that is a whole other story!

Once marked with their accession number and, having had any stamped mark recorded, the full details of that fragment including details of any attribution Ed and his wife were able to make, were logged onto an Excel table.  This table is both sortable and searchable.  Great progress was made during the initial push from our volunteers who managed to fully catalogue over 6,000 of the estimated 10,000 fragments.  We are very pleased to say that many of those initial volunteers have gone on to pursue careers in the museum sector and we like to think that their time spent with the Archive has helped them on their way. Last week, a new set of volunteers started working with us. 

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Our 2016 volunteers in our posh new labs – well, sadly not really our labs, but we get to use them!

These new volunteers are working on a number of our collections, one of them being the Jarzembowski Collection and it is hoped that this last push will see the catalogue of this group of pipes finally completed.  At that point we’ll be able to upload the catalogue to our website so that it is fully available for researchers.  Yes it has taken nearly 10 years – but sometime things are worth waiting for!

In the Spotlight! Wellington Pipe

In the Spotlight this week is a clay pipe depicting the Duke of Wellington (1769-1852), but in a far less flattering pose than we are used to seeing.

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The Archive’s pipe of the Duke of Wellington, produced by Dumeril of St Omer, France (LIVNP 2013.05.02).

Wellington, or the ‘Iron Duke’, was a leading military and political figure of the 19th century and considered to be one of the greatest commanders of all time.  He was primeminister twice and was a leading figure in the House of Lords until his retirement in 1846.  He was also Commander in Chief of the British Army, a position he held until his death in 1852.  So what could be going on with this caricatured pipe?

The pipe depicts Wellington in uniform complete with epaulettes, which have been picked out in gold enamel.  Wellington’s head forms bowl of the pipe, with black and white enamel for his eyes and eyebrows, and pink enamel for his lips.  But the stem socket behind his head is formed by a soldier “thumbing his nose” at Wellington in a rather disrespectful manner, whilst holding a pipe in his left hand!

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The soldier “thumbing his nose” at Wellington.

 

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Front view of the pipe showing the black, white, red and gold enamel. 

The reason for this mocking soldier can be found in Fairholt’s Tobacco: Its History and Associations, published in 1859. Not only does Fairholt illustrate the pipe, but informs us that “the late Duke of Wellington, towards the close of his life, took a strong dislike to the use of tobacco in the army, and made some ineffectual attempts to suppress it.  Benda, a wholesale pipe importer in the city, employed Dumeril, of St. Omer, to commemorate the event” (p185-6).

fairholt-1859
Illustration of a Wellington pipe from Fairholt (1859, 186). Notice that the soldier “thumbing his nose” is holding a pipe in his left hand.

What Fairholt was referring to is General Order 577, which was published in the London Illustrated News on 29th November 1845 (page 339), and read:

“The Commander-in-Chief has been informed, that the practice of smoking, by the use of pipes, cigars, or cheroots, has become prevalent among the Officers of the Army, which is not only in itself a species of intoxication occasioned by the fumes of tobacco, but, undoubtedly, occasions drinking and tippling by those who acquire the habit; and he entreats the Officers commanding Regiments to prevent smoking in the Mess Rooms of their several Regiments, and in the adjoining apartments, and to discourage the practice among the Officers of Junior Rank in their Regiments”.

In 1900 Herbert Maxwell published an account of Wellington’s life and he noted that this “counterblast” was about as effective as that of James I’s in 1604, but he goes on to say that “for a while tobacco-stoppers, carved in his likeness, became very popular” (Maxell 1900, 124).

The example in our collection is part of the Pollock Archive and has been allocated the accession number LIVNP 2013.05.02.  It is in pristine condition and has clearly not been smoked.  Detail on the pipe has been picked out in black, white, pink and gold enamel. On the base of the pipe is a rectangular relief stamped mark reading DUMERIL LEURS & CO A ST OMER.  There is also an oval stamp with the letters H*M.

Dumeril’s factory was founded in 1844 in St Omer, France (Raphael 1991, 108), and by 1851 their pipes were being advertised in The Times:

TO WHOLESALE DEALERS in, and EXPORTERS of FRENCH, Plain, Fancy and Enamelled CLAY-PIPES. Bronzed Statuaries, &c – Messrs DUMERIL, LEWIS and Co., manufacturers, St. Omer, France, inform them that orders are received at their office, 9, ST Mary-axe, City. (The Times [London, England] 21 Nov. 1851: 4. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 19 Oct. 2016.)

It has not yet been possible to trace Benda, the importers referred to in Fairholt’s account (1859, 185), but the implication from Fairholt’s reference, is that they were one of the “wholesale pipe” importers” that were being targeted by Dumeril’s 1851 advertisement.

Given that we know Dumeril’s factory was not founded until 1845, and that Fairholt not only reported on the pipe but illustrated an example in 1859, we can date the introduction of this pipe design quite closely to between 1845 and 1859.

References

Anon, 1845, ‘Naval and Military Intelligence’ London Illustrated News, 29 November 1845, 339.

Fairholt, F. W., 1859 Tobacco: Its History and Associations: Including an Account of the Plant and Its Manufacture; with its Modes of use in all ages and Countries, London, 332pp.

Maxwell, Herbert, 1900 The Life of Wellington: The Restoration of the Martial Power of Great Britain, Vol 2, London, 513pp.

Raphael, M., 1991 La Pipe en Terre, Editions Aztec, France, 285pp.

Oswald’s Mark Index

Adrian Oswald (1908-2001) was, arguably, one of the founding fathers of post-medieval archaeology in Britain and his early publications not only laid the foundation for modern clay pipe research but also placed the study of pipes firmly at the centre of this new discipline.

In 1938 Adrian, who had studied history at Oxford, became archaeological assistant for the City of London’s Guildhall Museum.  He was one of the first to recognise the significance of the capital’s post-medieval archaeology.  In a radio broadcast in 1950 he said:

“Early one autumn morning in 1947 I stood on a bombed site at Cripplegate in the City of London and saw our workmen, excavating on the site of the ancient house of Neville’s Inn, thrown out from cess pits of the time of the Great Fire, quantities of clay tobacco pipes with pottery of all kinds.  So began my curiosity in this subject.    Such was the humble beginning of my researches and now, three years later, my house has clay tobacco pipes dotted about all over the place, my letters on the subject go to all parts of the world and piles of manuscripts begin to paint the picture an old, almost forgotten industry”.

He also said:

“a clay pipe can talk confidentially to me and can nearly always tell me when it was made, often where it was made and sometimes who made it”.

Using his wide knowledge of post-medieval artefacts Adrian used stratigraphic groups and sequences to establish reliable typologies for pipe bowls.  His interests extended to include the social and economic background to the industry.

Following his retirement in 1964 he brought together his wealth of knowledge in Clay Pipes for the Archaeologist (BAR, British Series No. 14, Oxford, 1975), a seminal work which stands to this day as a standard reference work for all those interested in the study of pipes.

One of Adrian’s many research projects was his mark index.  This index pulls together all the examples Adrian could find of marked pipes.

The mark index is grouped in a logical way, as is only to be expected of something that Adrian did. It is arranged in alphabetical order by surname and then Christian name (for example AA, BA, CA, DA …..  AB, BB, CB, DB…. Etc.). For each set of initials there is a typed “index” page that gives details of each example such as possible maker, provenance etc. This page is typed on an old fashioned typewriter so Adrian could add more examples as he came across them.  There is then a series of drawings of these examples to accompany each “index” page.  The sheets of drawings, or tracings are then often either loose drawings that have been stuck to an A4 piece of paper, or a sheet of tracing paper that he could then add to. Each surname initial is bundled together either held together with a paperclip or kept in a plastic packet.

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Bundles of index sheets and accompanying drawings.

 Adrian’s drawings, by his own admission, were not the best, and they were often roughly traced from publications or photographs and were intended to give an indication of the bowl form rather than be an accurate depiction.  In 1991 Adrian gave the National Pipe Archive access to his mark index and a copy was made and bound in four volumes for the archive’s use.  These were later accessioned with the number LIVNP 1997.08.01-04.

Adrian continued to update his lists and indexes and produced a steady stream of publications until 1997, when failing health forced him to stop.  Following his death in 2001 the majority of his books and files were deposited for safekeeping with Richard Le Cheminant in London.

In 2014, following Richard Le Cheminant’s death, Adrian Oswald’s paper archive was transferred to the National Pipe Archive, in accordance with Adrian’s long term wish.  We are therefore in the fortunate position of having the original manuscript of the mark index together with all of the updates since 1991 (LIVNP 2014.01.192).  These updates include moulded marks, French and Dutch marks as well as groups of pipes that fall into broad types such as “heads”, “transport”, “advertising”, “floral” and “societies” etc.

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The “index” sheet for the section on head pipes.

 

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The sheet of head pipes.  Each pipe, or group of pipes, is numbered.  In this case 1 to 13, which corresponds with the type “index” sheet at the start of this section.

 As part of the present Historic England funded project we made a start on digitising this mark index.  To date we have scanned the first part of the alphabetical list – A to F – which we hope to get live on the website within the next few days.  Time permitting, and within the confines of the current project, we are hopeful that we will be able to  not only digitise more of the mark index, but also some of Adrian’s other invaluable resources.  So watch this space!