Displayed here is Germander Speedwell's collection of decorated clay pipe bowls, all personally found on the Thames foreshore, and most dating from the 18th and 19th centuries. Click on each image to enlarge.
Many thanks to Heather of Dawnmist Studio - www.dawnmist.org - for identifying several of these. I am slowly getting around to identifying more of them; any further info is welcomed - contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last updated March 2020
FACES AND HEADS:
FREEMASONS AND OTHER FRATERNAL ORGANISATIONS:
HEELS AND SPURS WITH MAKERS' SYMBOLS:
FLOWERS and PLANTS:
HANDS AND CLAWS:
A knight, several Turk's heads, two African characters, the second one a tiny delicate miniature - probably a child's bubble pipe.
The pipe with the cross-hatched glove also has the initials 'T W' on the front of the bowl, identifying the maker as William Tennant of Newcastle.
The pipe bowl to the right of this is one side of a probable Oddfellows pipe - see more below, under Freemasons and other Fraternal Organisations.
1st row: an exquisitely detailed horse's head heel, two similar but much cruder versions, one by maker W.T. Silk, and a hoof.
2nd row: the pipe with the horse and crescent moon has the wording 'White Horse' / '& Half Moon', and will almost certainly be from the White Horse and Half Moon public house in Borough - more info here. The maker is W. King, Borough. Two dog adorned pipes, the first beautifully rendered with even the dog's ribs shown.
3rd row: an eccentric frog and fish bowl, probably French made.
4th row: a swan, an eagle (Napoleonic?),
5th row: a fox and grapes, and heels in the shape of animal hooves.
1st row: Nelson, presumably?; a badly worn pipe with the enigmatic remains of figures
2nd row: the first pipe has the symbol of hope on one side and justice on the other - does anyone know what this pipe might relate to?
The second pipe, with the figure in chequered breeches, commemorates the Battle of Culloden in 1746. The figure on this side is the Scotsman, with his round shield and downturned sword, and the words 'I BUT DISTURB'. The other side, which is missing on this broken pipe, shows the Duke of Cumberland, with his upturned sword and the words 'I VICTORY GAIND'.
3rd row: this pipe, with Britannia on one side and a figure appearing to hold a document on the other, commemorates a Bill of Rights passed in 1820-30, repealing clauses of the Magna Carta. The text on the bowl is: KING AND CONSTITUTION MAGNA CHARTA BILL OF RIGHTS
The text on the full stem is: LEWIS MANUFACTURER NEW ST, HORSLEY DOWN and the maker's initials on the left and right of the spur are S / L. This is likely to be Samuel Lewis; Horsley Down was a previous parish/sub-district on the south side of London Bridge in Southwark.
The first row are masonic pipe bowls, with symbols like Solomon's Temple, the all-seeing eye, the plumb line and other mason's tools.
In the second row is a probable Oddfellows pipe, with the symbols of the hand and heart, symbolising 'giving with the heart', and the pipe with the initials RAOB is from the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes.
The ship's prow below left has a double-sided figurehead: a parrot on the right side and a lion on the left. The bowl also has the word 'ALLIANCE' and the maker's name, 'W. STERN'. If anyone knows what this is all about, do get in touch.
This clay pipe is from the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. You'll also note at the bottom of each side the word 'EGYPT' above a sphinx, referring to an earlier military campaign. Along the stem are the maker's details: 'HILL . LATE . DUDMAN' and 'PLUMSTEAD' refering to John Hill who is thought to have taken over Henry Dudman's Plumstead pipe workshop in the 1890s or by 1900.
A basket pipe; tree trunks; a thorn pipe; dotty pipes; a scaly pipe; pipes with intricate patterns and vines.
The heel stamps are all from Dutch pipes; the first three depict respectively a windmill, a milkmaid, and the six stars from the arms of the city of Gouda. Those with initials or numbers surmounted with crowns can all be linked to a short list of pipe makers.
CROSS-HATCHED / LATTICED DESIGNS:
A harp, a heart, a shield, a glove... The glove, and probably also the heart, were made by William Tennant of Newcastle. Perhaps these pipes came from the many Newcastle colliers that brought coal into London via the Thames.
COMPLETE WORKERS' CLAY PIPES:
These intact examples, all found on the Thames foreshore, are workers' pipes, designed for smoking while at work, rather than at leisure.
The first, curved pipe, is unusually elegant for a worker's pipe. The Cork pipe is a more common find; note also the shamrock on the heel. The other pipes are unmarked, but each is slightly different in design.