Hot off the Press! Today we are at the CIfA conference in Newcastle to officially launch the HOW TO… pages of our website
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.
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
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!
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.
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 2017.01.02 – 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.
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!
LIVNP 2017.01.04 – This item comprises a group of 11 very long “safety” matches.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Since the Queen has been celebrating her 65 years of reign this week, we thought that a Royal Spotlight item would be appropriate.
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.
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”.
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.
If it is not too late – Happy New Year! We’ve been a bit quiet on here lately and you may have thought we were not up to much, but things have been very busy. Back in November the Archive was invited by the Académie Internationale de la Pipe to give a paper at their conference, which was being held in Japan at the Tobacco and Salt Museum in Tokyo. This was the perfect opportunity, and setting, for us to present a report on how the Historic England project that we have been working on has been progressing, and to highlight some of the Archive’s collections.
The whole smoking culture in Japan is very different from here. The pipes look completely different – called Kiseru – and the tobacco is also very different, being incredibly finely shredded.
As part of the conference we were very lucky to have been given the opportunity to visit a traditional kiseru maker in Tsubame.
He makes his pipes out of metal. The basic pattern is cut out of metal and then the maker painstakingly hammers them into shape. In order to help us understand the process he had a series of different stages of the process laid out for us. Gradually the pipe emerges from a flat piece of metal into a full formed pipe.
The whole process is far too time consuming for him to show us the production of a pipe from start to finish during the short time we had with him, but he did allow us to film him at work (see the video below). This gave a chance to get a feel for how it was done.
Some Kiseru are made completely out of metal, but others have a metal bowl and metal mouthpiece section, with a simple bamboo stem in between. We have two such examples in the Archive’s collection.
The first example is from the Cole Collection (LIVNP 2014.03.099). This pipe has not been hand crafted as the examples we saw in Tsubame, but has been cast. Both the bowl and the mouthpiece have intertwined animals. The stem is made of bamboo.
The second example is from the Orlik Collection (LIVNP 2016.13.01). This pipe also has a bamboo stem and but this time the bowl and mouthpiece are made of silver, which has been engraved with flowers.
Since we have been back we have been working hard on the Archive website; putting up lots more pages with even more pipe information. There is still more to come and now we are back, regular posts will resume.
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.
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!
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).
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 TheTimes:
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.
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.
It is all happening in the Archive today! Not one, but two volunteers are now beavering away to try and get more of the Archive’s collections available to the wider world. Today was the first day for our latest recruit, Diana, who started working on the Jacques Cole Collection (LIVNP 2014.03).
Jacques was a briar pipe man and his donation provides the Archive with a valuable resource for the study and understanding of the briar pipe industry in both Britain and France. The collection includes briar pipes from the likes of Charatan, Comoys, Ropp, and Lecroix, to name but a few, as well as smoking ephemera – such as ashtrays, lighters, snuff bottles, tobacco pouches and tobacco jars.
The element of the collection that Diana is working through at the moment, however, is the paper archive which includes a small library of pipe and smoking related publications, but also a large collection of correspondence relating to Jacques’ life as editor of the magazine Tobacco, and the newsletter Pipeline.
This is certainly going to keep us all busy for some time to come as the entire collection comprises some 34 boxes of material. However, one gem from the collection stood out today, which is the source of today’s blog post. Jacques had a note book in which he started to record useful pipe-related terminology – a sort of glossary – and this included an interesting take on his definition of “cash” and a “cheque” from the perspective of a pipe collector!
You can find out more about the Jacques Cole Collection on our website (http://www.pipearchive.co.uk/briar/cole.html). We will keep you posted on progress as we slowly work our way through the cataloguing of this and other collections, so don’t forget to follow this blog in order to receive notifications of our updates.
This week’s Spotlight object is a copy of the By-Laws of the London Company of Tobacco Pipe Makers, which is dated 1800.
For many years the organisation of the pipe making industry in and around London was in the hands of an incorporated company of tobacco pipe makers. The company came under the jurisdiction of the City of London authorities and was able to present its freemen to the City Chamberlain for admission to the freedom of the city. This basically meant that they were entitled to trade within the city. Unfortunately, very little is known about the company or its origins as few records survive but what is clear is that there were in fact three distinct companies of tobacco pipe makers, with their roots going back to the early days of the pipemaking at the start of the seventeenth century.
The first company came in to being in 1619 under James I, who granted a charter of incorporation to the “Master Wardens and Society of Tobacco Pipe makers of Westmynster”. This was a short-lived organisation, their Patent being officially surrendered in 1621, although they appear to have continued functioning in some form until the mid-1620s. The second company was formed in 1634 when a charter was granted to the “tobacco pipe makers in the Cities of London and Westminster”. This was, once again, revoked a few years later in 1639, although the company appears to have lingered on until about 1642. The third company came into existence in 1663 when Charles II extended the charter to pipe makers in the cities of London and Westminster as well as the Kingdom of England and the dominion of Wales. It is the third company that regulated pipemaking in and around the capital for the next two centuries and this is the one that the document in the Archive collections relates to.
The document is entitled Extracts of the Bye-Laws of the Worshipful Company or Society of Tobacco-Pipe-Makers of the Cities of London and Westminster, Kingdom of England and Dominion of Wales, made on the 23 March 1738, and approved, allowed, and confirmed by the then Lord Chancellor and Two Chief Justices. This particular copy, however, was clearly printed in or after 1800 (the date is at the foot of the document) and it is signed by Thomas Phipps, Clerk. These extracts deal with the rules relating to apprenticeships.
These regulations limited the number of apprentices that a master pipemaker could take and state that any new apprentice within 20 miles of London had to be presented to the Master and Wardens of the Company before being taken on, or within a month of starting. They also stipulated that any children of a pipemaker must be formally bound as an apprentice from the age of 14 and that pipemakers were prohibited from hawking their wares about the streets for sale. An apprenticeship was normally for 7 years, with the apprentice being eligible to set up his own business and trade independently when it was completed at about the age of 21.
These regulations shed a fascinating light on the way the trade was run and the restrictions that applied to pipemaking families in terms of employing their children or selling their wares. They show how regulated commercial life was during the eighteenth century and provide insights into the ways in which pipes were manufactured and distributed from the workshops.