A group of 19th century clay tobacco pipes from College Street, Bury St Edmunds

Monitoring of groundworks for an extension at the rear of 40 College Street, Bury St Edmunds has identified an assemblage of clay tobacco pipe fragments which will shortly be published in the Society for Clay Pipe Research Newsletter.

The tobacco pipe fragments were collected from two intercutting refuse pits, likely to be of early Victorian origin, and are all of English manufacture, with some probably produced locally, whilst others come from elsewhere in East Anglia and possibly London. Nineteen of the tobacco pipes carry makers’ marks and many are decorated.

A selection of the pipe bowls from College Street

The photo above shows a selection of the pipe bowls. These are briefly described from the top. Clay tobacco pipe bowl stamped GOODWIN & SON IPSWICH

  1. Type OS24 bowl (1810–40) with the initials FA moulded in large serif letters on the sides of the spur. The bowl is decorated with narrow ribbing and has leaf-moulded seams.
  2. Another type OS29 bowl (1850–1900) with a particularly ornate design. The lower half of the bowl is divided into scalloped panels that extend along the stem, terminating at a ridge. Some of these panels include ropes or garlands. The upper half of the bowl is divided by vertical ridges into eight panels, each of which contains a design of roses, thistles and other flowers.
  3. One forward drooping type OS29 bowl (1850–1900) is divided by moulded ridges into two tiers of shield-shaped panels.
  4. This pipe is similar in form to a type OS24 (1810–40) but the style in which it is decorated suggests a later date. The mark is moulded in relief on the sides of the spur but is not quite legible, due to poor moulding. The lower half of the bowl is decorated with fine, vertical ribbing and the upper half has alternate broad and fine vertical ribs. The definition of the design is poor and the seams are pronounced, suggesting a worn mould. Assuming that the mark does read ER, this pipe was possibly made locally by Elizabeth Reffell.
  5. A type OS29 spur-less bowl with an ornate moulded design with six pronounced ridges infilled with repeated chevrons made up of tiny dots. The lower part of the bowl has a long-stemmed rose on either side, with two concentric triangles that extend a short distance along the stem. Incuse moulded maker’s mark of TAYLOR / YARMOUTH on the sides of the stem.
  6. A bowl moulded into the shape of an acorn, with an ornate spur. The upper half of the bowl has leaf-decorated seams.
  7. Two OS15 bowls (1840-80) have the initial JG on the sides of the cylindrical spur and a shield-shaped stamp on the back of the bowl marked GOODWIN & SON IPSWICH.

Pottery, glassware and other items from the kitchen were also recovered, all dating to the nineteenth century. The range of ceramics includes not only kitchen and tablewares, but also other receptacles such chamber pots and inkbottles. The remains of two colourful transfer printed wares which have borders impressed with the alphabet are examples of nursery tablewares. One showed a young newspaper boy selling folded up copies of ‘The Times’, the other a pastoral scene of a barefoot young man carrying a basket and holding a staff who is crossing a stile.

Transfer-printed newspaper seller

Transfer-printed youth crossing stile


Heard, K, forthcoming, ‘A group of 19th-century pipes from 40 College Street, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk’, Society for Clay Pipe Research Newsletter.