Thursday, August 29, 2013

Clay tobacco pipe fragments from the Thames foreshore

Three unusually long pieces of clay pipe
from the Thames foreshore at Rotherhithe
Yesterday's pootle along the Thames foreshore between Surrey Docks Farm and the Hilton produced an awful lot of clay pipe, most of which consisted of small pieces of the shaft of pipes, some of which were very heavily weathered, but there were some bits of more interest.  A couple of the shaft pieces were unusually long.  Because most don't normally survive the battering of the Thames tides, they are usually only an inch or two long, but I stumbled across two that were over 6 inches long. One piece of a clay pipe shaft was decorated. 

I also found two pipe bowls, one of which was marked with a manufacturer's stamp ("EW").   I still haven't found who or when this stamp represents, but hope to do so shortly. I wanted to record them immediately before cleaning them up so that I had a record of them as they were when they were found and I hadn't washed my hands when I took the photos, so apologies for the poor quality of the shots, and the fact that my fingers and nails are glazed with mud!  I will take more photos of them when they have been cleaned.

As I posted yesterday, there's a small but helpful section about clay pipes on the Museum of London website and here on another of their pages.

Three short pieces of clay pipe and a
piece of decorated ceramic

Three pieces of heavily water-worn clay pipe,
where the shaft meets the bowl at the heel

My very dirty fingers holding the bowl of
one clay pipe to show the base of the heal,
marked EW (and again below)

A clay pipe bowl, with markings at the
base, either accidental or deliberate

A decorated piece of clay pipe shaft

A typical piece of unmarked clay pipe shaft with
the remains of the heal and the beginning
of the bowl

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