Appendix 3: The Clay Tobacco Pipes

Contemporary pipemaking in Bristol

With the exception of the discrete dump of 19th-century material, the majority of the marked pipes (of which only twenty were retrieved) were found to be the products of makers who were living and working in the central (Broadmead/Lewins Mead) area of Bristol from the late 17th to mid-18th century. This corresponds to a peak noted in the documentary records of pipemaking apprentices taking their freedom (Jackson and Price 1974, 15-16). As noted below, pipes produced by the makers in question are commonly recovered during excavations in Bristol, and most of the same makers, from the mid- to late 17th century onwards, were also exporting pipes, largely to the colonies of North America and the West Indies (from which most of their trade was derived). It should also be noted that much of this earlier pipe material was recovered from dumped or levelling deposits, which may well have been imported onto the site from the surrounding areas.

Comparison with the large assemblage of clay tobacco pipe recovered during the nearby Cabot Circus excavations between 2005 and 2008 (Jarrett 2013, 215-37) shows almost all of the same makers represented, and a similar peak in quantity of fragments dating to the late 17th/mid-18th century. This earlier excavation also yielded evidence of widespread dumping/levelling deposits of 18th-century date (Boyer et al. 2013, 119).

The comparative dearth of pipes of late 18th century or later date is mirrored in the Cabot Circus assemblage, and from several sites within the city centre, including the earlier evaluation on the same site (Avon Archaeological Unit 2000; Mason 2013; Jackson 2002b, Jackson 2009 & Jackson 2004). Price quotes with caution the theory that the collapse of the Bristol pipe-manufacturing industry may have been largely the result of the American War of Independence, which would have seriously reduced Bristol's export trade, and would also have led to a dramatic increase in the cost of imported tobacco (Jackson and Price 1974, 17-20).

From about 1800 onwards, the numbers of recorded Bristol pipemakers gradually increased, peaking between the years 1810 and 1860 (Jackson and Price 1974, Figure 10). At the same time, the focus of the industry re-located to St Jude's, in the vicinity of the present study area, at the time one of the poorest quarters of the city, and which remained outside the official city boundaries until 1835 (Walker 1971, 11). The number of pipemakers recorded as living in the St Jude's area during the 19th century is staggering, and probably reflects a change in the industry, from very small-scale concerns, to slightly larger, but still family-run businesses, which also employed outside employees (see later for 26 Wade Street/8 Little Anne Street, and Jackson and Price 1974, 2-3). Price lists no fewer than fifteen pipe factories recorded in the trade directories for Great George Street between 1817 and 1921, and eleven or more factories on Great Anne Street between 1821 and 1873 (Price 2014), 3.3-6). Our own census research (Appendix 1) has revealed that, of a total population of around 180 to 260 souls (including children) living in the surrounding streets during the latter part of the 19th/early 20th century, the number of tobacco pipe makers varied between four and seven individuals per year.

The absence of later pipe material (with the exception of the known dump of pipes) is mirrored in the pottery assemblage (Appendix 2), which shows a similar decline in material of 19th-century date, and is probably to be explained by the fact that, being a heavily built-up area by this time, rubbish collection, even if only on the part of 'rag and bone' men and 'scavengers' was probably taking place by that time, and thus waste material of this kind would no longer be disposed of in situ. At least one 'scavenger' and several 'rag pickers' have been recorded amongst the inhabitants of the Wade Street area (see Appendix 1, census records). A newspaper article of 1836, quoted in the evaluation report for the present site (Mason 2013, 11) would also suggest that rubbish removal was being undertaken, at least on a piecemeal basis, by this date. 18

18. The article refers to the discovery of an infant's bones in an 'ash mixen' (rubbish heap) near The Swan With Two Necks public house. The article states that the mixen was 'constantly used by people in the street for the reception of rubbish and ashes, which are, from time to time, removed by farmers and masons, or any other person who chooses to take it away'. The bones were recovered by a John Sparks (see census records), who was scavenging in the mixen for 'rags and bones' (Mason 2013, 11).


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