Germander Speedwell 


The Speedwell Collection of Pictorial Pipe Bowls

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.


See the collection displayed in the Alcove of Curiosities, starting at 12:35 in this video:


Many thanks to Heather of Dawnmist Studio - - for identifying several of these. Any further information is welcomed - contact [email protected]










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: Could this be Napoleon, and Nelson? ; 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 pipe on the first row has the words 'WESTERN ALLIANCE', and its double-sided figurehead shows a bird on the right side and a lion on the left. Behind the figurehead are some half-obscured letters which may be FR / ITAN. The alliance it refers to may be that of Britain and France (represented by the lion and what could be the French Imperial eagle), possibly during the Crimean War, for the quality and detail of this pipe suggests it's from the second half of the 19th C.




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.

These are all makers' marks.  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 possible pipe makers.

The symbols on the spurs include flowers, circles, leaves, clovers, hearts, and crowns with initials.


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.


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.


Tower Bridge, with the Prince of Wales' feathers on the other side. Probably designed to commemorate the opening of Tower Bridge in 1894. The Prince of Wales symbol may relate to a Prince of Wales pub that the pipe was made for, or it may be because the Prince and Princess of Wales were at the opening of the bridge.