A clay pipe

These days smoking is regarded as a self destructive and antisocial habit but it wasn’t always so. Until fairly recently smoking was considered normal amongst men and many thought it beneficial to health. Of course, we now know that was a mistaken belief but relics of smoking are often found and we have several at Market Lavington Museum.

Clay pipes were very common items. There will be few local gardeners who have not turned up lengths of stem as they have worked their plots. Indeed, a few days ago a length of stem was left just outside the museum. Someone had found it and deemed it interesting enough to leave for us. If that person could identify where it was found, it would be more interesting to us.

This length, complete with broken bowl, was found in 1990 and given to the museum.

Clay pipe with bowl found at Palm Hose, market Lavington,

Clay pipe with bowl found at Palm Hose, market Lavington,

We think this one dates from about 1865 – certainly between 1850 and 1880. It was found in a wall crevice at Palm House on High Street, Market Lavington.

More recently, other pipes were found in a wall crevice at 13 High Street which was once the home of Alf Burgess, the photographer. You can click here to read about one of those pipes.

We wonder if the presence of old clay pipes in walls is just chance or whether they were placed in walls for some ritual or superstitious reason.

Any thoughts?

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