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One British Thing: Clay Pipes

  • Beverly Lemire
Abstract

The clay tobacco pipe is a “British thing” distinct to its time, but that is a partial provenance. Although many thousands have been unearthed in Britain or described in British archival records, the pipe is also evidence of early globalized trade, imperial ventures, and material translation across cultures. Its Britishness is contingent. This small relic accompanied complex enterprises where a new-style masculinity arose, new racial categories were framed, and a new sociability took root.

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1 For example, Will, Bob et al. , “The Archaeology of the Tolbooth, Broad Street, Stirling,” Scottish Archaeological Journal 30, nos. 1–2 (2008): 79159, at 111, 116, 134–36; Ruairí Ó Baoill et al., “Excavations at Gordon Street and Waring Street, Belfast,” Ulster Journal of Archaeology 64 (2005): 106–39; see also the Society for Clay Pipe Research, http://scpr.co/, for detailed examples of pipe-makers, the trade in pipes, dating of objects, and archaeological findings.

2 Norton, Marcy, Sacred Gifts, Profane Pleasures: A History of Tobacco and Chocolate in the Atlantic World (Ithaca, 2008), 11.

3 Games, Alison, The Web of Empire: English Cosmopolitans in an Age of Expansion, 1560–1660 (Oxford, 2008), 125; Lorimer, Joyce, ed., Sir Walter Ralegh's “Discoverie of Guiana,” Hakluyt Society, Third Series, 15 (Aldershot, 2006), lix.

4 Lemire, Beverly, “‘Men of the World’: British Mariners, Consumer Practice, and Material Culture in an Era of Global Trade, c. 1660–1800,” Journal of British Studies 54, no. 2 (April 2015): 288319.

5 Thirsk, Joan, Economic Policy and Projects: The Development of a Consumer Society in Early Modern England (Oxford, 1978), 111.

6 Roome for companie, heere comes good fellowes […]. (London, 1617); A merry progresse to London to see fashions by a young country gallant [… ]. (London, 1615); The mercenary souldier (London, 1646).

7 December 1678, ref. no. 16781211, and February 1679, ref. no. t16790226-18, Old Bailey Proceedings Online, accessed 29 February 2012, http://www.oldbaileyonline.org; Zahedieh, Nuala, The Capital and the Colonies: London and the Atlantic Economy, 1660–1700 (Cambridge, 2010), 198208.

8 Parent, Anthony S. Jr., Foul Means: The Formation of a Slave Society in Virginia, 1660–1740 (Chapel Hill, 2003), 6166; Goodman, Jordan, Tobacco in History: The Cultures of Dependence (London, 1993), 164–89.

9 Berg, Maxine and Clifford, Helen, “Selling Consumption in the Eighteenth Century: Advertising and the Trade Card in Britain and France,” Cultural and Social History 4, no. 2 (2007): 145–70, at 146.

10 Klooster, Wim, “The Tobacco Nation: English Tobacco Dealers and Pipe-Makers in Rotterdam, 1620–1650,” in The Birth of Modern Europe: Culture and Economy, 1400–1800: Essays in Honor of Jan de Vries, ed. Cruz, Laura and Mokyr, Joel (Leiden, 2010), 1734, at 28.

11 Klooster, “Tobacco Nation,” 17; Thirsk, Economic Policy and Projects, 6, 111; see also the Society for Clay Pipe Research Newsletter 3 (July 1984).

12 Bailey's Western and Midland Directory … (Birmingham, 1783), 32, 193, 195, 365, 366; Wakefield's Merchant and Tradesman's General Directory for London, Westminster, Borough of Southwark, and twenty-two miles circular … (London, 1789?), 71, 141, 233, 281, 283, 287, 380.

13 Fox, Georgia L., “Interpreting Socioeconomic Changes in 17th-Century England and Port Royal, Jamaica, through Analysis of the Port Royal Kaolin Clay Pipes,” International Journal of Historical Archaeology 6, no. 1 (March 2002): 6178, at 61.

14 Norton, Marcy and Studnicki-Gizbert, Daviken, “The Multinational Commodification of Tobacco, 1492–1650,” in The Atlantic World and Virginia, 1550–1624, ed. Mancall, Peter C. (Chapel Hill, 2007), 251–72, at 256.

15 Lemire, Beverly, Global Trade and the Transformation of Consumer Cultures: The Material World Remade, c.1500–1820 (Cambridge, 2017), 223–29.

16 Stephen Hornsby, with cartography by Hermann, Michael, British Atlantic, American Frontier: Spaces of Power in Early Modern British America (Hanover, 2005), 100; Nash, Robert C., “The English and Scottish Tobacco Trades in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries: Legal and Illegal Trade,” Economic History Review 35, no. 2 (August 1982): 354–72, at 356.

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Journal of British Studies
  • ISSN: 0021-9371
  • EISSN: 1545-6986
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-british-studies
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