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Author Topic: Clay Pipes  (Read 14472 times)

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Offline Leofwine

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Re: Clay Pipes
« Reply #31 on: May 30, 2013, 21:10:32 »
Thanks for the info snodlandmalc
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Offline snodlandmalc

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Re: Clay Pipes
« Reply #30 on: May 30, 2013, 19:52:15 »
Leofwine ,I can`t find all my notes but here goes:
the main group of pipes found all appear to be made by the one maker, namely George Birchall, he wasn`t a local man but appears to have originated from Rainford in Lancashire probably born about 1780, he then moved to the Borough of Westminster (London) which had a large clay pipemaking community to join a pipemaker who also came from Rainford (can`t remember his name!) probably as an apprentice. He is first recorded in Chatham in 1798 working from premises in Richard Street where he remained till 1840. He then disappears from the records either through death or retirement.
His son Charles (born 1806) is then recorded as a pipemaker, still at the Richard Street premises until 1853 when he suddenly died. Two years later in 1855 a William Birchall is recorded at the same premises working as a clay pipemaker, where he remained until 1867. I am not sure of the relationship of William to either Charles or George.   
According to the Clay Pipe Society the Birchall's became a dynasty in the pipemaking industry of the 19th century. Members of the family had businesses from Greenwich to Dartford, Maidstone and right down to Devon.

Offline snodlandmalc

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Re: Clay Pipes
« Reply #29 on: May 30, 2013, 15:55:46 »
Thankyou Sheppeybottles, I have never come across any pipes from the island! The only one I dug on Sheppey came from Chatham and was from the same maker as this group, G.Birchall!  It`s strange but I have never found an attributable local pipe on a local council tip, they are either plain or from London or France. Plus municipal dumps date from a later period.
You are right, my first thought was that it was a tip, which did get me excited as the bottles would have been quite early, sadly when I saw the ground I realised straight away this wasn`t the case.
As to the subject of wasters, I did consider this but Birchalls kiln at this period was quite a long way away from this site, near where Debenhams is, so why would hehave dumped them there? Plus there was no other evidence of manufacturing. I will give more details about the Birchalls in my reply to Leofwine.
I don`t know when the allotments were first established, but there must be at least fifty years of cultivation which would probably destroy some evidence. Although Jean did say that when she first took over her allotment, the area in question was not used and was all overgrown and was given to her by the council for no charge as long as she 'sorted it out'.

Offline Alastair

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Re: Clay Pipes
« Reply #28 on: May 30, 2013, 14:40:17 »
Extremely interesting collection that, Snodlandmac. If it was all or mostly discovered in one place but if they are all from the same company and have seen no use then I'm with sheppeybottles in that they were wasters, i.e. ones that didn't survive firing in the kiln. This was common in pottery/porcelain manufacture and the sites of the old potteries could be identified by the 'pot heaps,' the huge piles of kiln waste.
This being the case, then the kiln is very close by.
Thanks for posting

Alastair

Offline kyn

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Re: Clay Pipes
« Reply #27 on: May 30, 2013, 13:33:14 »
Of course I will, Fort Pitt School may be interested if the items can be shown to have come from men stationed there?

Offline snodlandmalc

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Re: Clay Pipes
« Reply #26 on: May 30, 2013, 00:34:21 »
Well done smiffy, the right hand foot path crosses exactly where her allotment was and as far as I can judge, the area where the pipes were found is on the right hand side of that path. We will never know for sure but it could support my theory that it was an informal area that soldiers assembled in after walking up from barracks or the forts before attending services at the cemetery.
I did wonder if they used that area for temporary military camps and perhaps that was where the camp fires were, but cannnot find any mention of it being used for that.

Yes Kyn, it makes my local collection look pretty feeble as well. I am a bit concerned as to what will happen to them as Jean, the lady who collected them sadly passed away recently. I know she was willing to let them go to a local museum if they wanted to display them, so if you hear of anything, let me know.

Offline smiffy

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Re: Clay Pipes
« Reply #25 on: May 29, 2013, 22:58:32 »
I'm not sure if this has any relevance, but comparing an old map with a newer one it can be seen that there were two footpaths running through the site before the allotments were there.

Offline sheppey_bottles

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Re: Clay Pipes
« Reply #24 on: May 29, 2013, 22:45:55 »
Wow, what an interesting find Snodlandmalc, I bet you thought there must have been an old dump with that amount of pipes. I find it strange that they are all from the same company and maybe they could be wasters that were dumped in that area long before it looked like what it does now. Of course you should be able to tell if they were used pipes by the inside condition of the bowls, if they are burn free then obviously they had no use. I would love to hear of your finds in the future re these pipes and what was the name of the company by the way. All the best and thanks for sharing the story of these pipes, SB.

Offline Leofwine

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Re: Clay Pipes
« Reply #23 on: May 29, 2013, 22:11:35 »
I'm not sure I can explain that concentration, but I'm interested to note the 'fluted' design on many of the bowls as we found a number of those in the upper cinder/ash layer whilst excavating the Belvedere guardhouse.  I notice you give them a date of 1830-60, but do you have any information on the maker by any chance. I noticed that there were a number of very similar design made by a couple of Gravesend makers, also dated to the same period, suggesting it may have been a fairly widespread design.
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Offline kyn

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Re: Clay Pipes
« Reply #22 on: May 29, 2013, 21:41:03 »
Wow that puts my collection to shame!  I would be interested in finding out why so many were found in one place!

Offline snodlandmalc

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Re: Clay Pipes
« Reply #21 on: May 29, 2013, 19:49:41 »
About 18 months ago I asked for any information on the history of the ground between City way and Boundary Road, specifically relating to the allotments there. The reason for the enquiry was that I had just seen the clay pipes an old friend had found on her allotment.
Having collected clay pipes for over 45 years and found very few local ones I was surprised to see such a hoard of Chatham made pipes. I worked out there was over 160 different pipes, surprisingly only two pieces fitted together and all were made by the same maker. The big question was, why was a majority of the pieces found in one small area 15' x 25' ?
Due to ill health she was giving up the allotment, so I only got one quick visit there. I dug a couple of holes in the area in question but apart from another broken bowl and a couple of pieces of stem found nothing else. The lack of broken glass or pottery ruled it out as a refuse dump. I also found no evidence of there being a kiln there. I also checked with the clay pipe society and the nearest record they had of one was on the Chatham Maidstone Road.
I walked the other allotments and found nothing at all, so the mystery continues! My only other theories are that they were either thrown out from Fort Pitt Hospital, but that seem's a bit too far away.
As her allotment is bordered on one side by the fence of the military cemetery, and the pipes date roughly from 1830-60, was this a muster point for troops to have a quick smoke before they went on parade for services, perhaps related to the Crimean War.   


Offline sheppey_bottles

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Re: Clay Pipes
« Reply #20 on: May 29, 2013, 17:08:52 »
Thank you snodlandmalc, because the town name is in a scroll you cannot read the first part and I googled that town in the past but got no result, brilliant, I now know the background to what I have. As you said there is a Sphinx with the name Egypt underneath, on both sides below the castle.

PS.. I know it is naughty but...If you ( or anyone else) should ever come across a Sheppey pipe I would love one for my collection of local bits...Please :)

Sorry kyn, I forgot to say thankyou for posting those pics for Greyuncle. :)

Offline kyn

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Re: Clay Pipes
« Reply #19 on: May 29, 2013, 11:51:15 »
Thank you both for your comments :)

Offline snodlandmalc

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Re: Clay Pipes
« Reply #18 on: May 29, 2013, 11:01:13 »
Sheppey bottles, the castle in question on your pipe is Enniskilling. The pipe is thought to commemorate either the Inniskilling Fusiliers or its earlier incarnation the 27th foot, who won the battle honour 'Egypt' for their part in the defeat of the french at Alexandria in 1801. There should also be a small sphinx on each side of the pipe. 
With regard to Greyuncle's second pipe, I dug one many years ago at Murston and I think I read somewhere that the design was thought to refer to the city coat of arms for London. 

Offline sheppey_bottles

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Re: Clay Pipes
« Reply #17 on: May 28, 2013, 21:57:13 »
I am afraid I cannot help with that crest but can say that a local pipe maker would often make pipes with regimental details on them for the local boys, also town crests were put on pipes. The trouble is, that pipe could have been made anywhere and found its way into a dump when a soldier came to town. I have a pipe that was found in a filled in dew pond dump on Sheppey that has a picture of a castle on both sides and the word 'Skilling' and 'Egypt' in relief also. When I first took it out of the ground and saw the castle my first thoughts were Queenborough but the words totally rule that out...drat!!. Thanks for the pictures Greyuncle, pictures of old clay pipes are always nice to see.

 

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