The Livery Newsletter and Gazette Issue 30 Spring 2019 - Page 18

A Look at the Society of Snuff Grinders, The lunch was deliciously catered by Mark Grove his team at Cook & Butler and we cracked Blenders and Purveyors and along at a goodly pace. Our guests were admirably introduced by Liveryman Fran Morrison and our Principal Guest, Tim Wonnacott gave a Charles generous and January 2019 saw the launch of our colourful new snuff handkerchief, designed by Past Master Miller very humorous reply to which I responded initially to include both our Company’s first and current coats of arms. These handkerchiefs are given to guests at by drenching poor to Tim a glass look of water - he was our dinners, together with a box of snuff. So it seemed the right moment take in a closer at the history very kind about (sorry Tim!). I was behind one of the treasures belonging to Past Master Richard Tranter - a it ceremonial enamel and very gilt pleased snuff to show off the newly found Livery Grant box used by the President of the now-defunct Society of Snuff Grinders, Blenders and Purveyors. of The Arms Society and Letters Patent which have been missing for also had strong links with our own Company through (amongst others) Past Masters John Singleton of many years - our whose Clerk companies tenaciously were sought them members. out, and Singleton & Cole and Roy Bridgman-Evans of Fribourg & Treyer, founder the new Immediate Past Master, Chris Allen, and his IPM, Mark Gower-Smith have funded a beautiful re- In 1962, the UK exported 56,000 pounds of snuff. By Labour MP Marcus Lipton were given scrolls by presentation and they are now resplendent in frames 1963, it was estimated that half a million Brits were President Mark Chaytor (Wilsons of Sharrow) “for carved with tobacco leaves (or close to); Sandra also taking it – more than at any time since World War outstanding services to the cause of snuff taking”. located a huge banner not seen since 1985 and Angus 2 – and increasing numbers of women were joining Other honorary members included the writer Frank Menzies, Clerk to the Master Mariners and never shy the snuffers’ ranks. So in 1963 the UK’s 12 leading Muir and actors James Robertson Justice and Patrick of a challenge saw to it that it was displayed on the manufacturers and retailers decided to create the Allen, himself an associate of Fribourg and Treyer. Quarterdeck. Society of Snuff Grinders, Blenders and Purveyors. By 1972, the Society was reduced to ten members, Whilst all this was going on, apparently biblical- The first President, Vivian Rose of G Smith & Sons but the market was still worth £500,000, with tins style downpours were being had all over London at 74 Charing Cross Road, was a Liveryman of our costing up to eight new pence. One long-established - oblivious to all that drama we ended our lunch Company. He defined the Society’s aim as being “to tobacconist on Liverpool’s Stanley Road was still and trooped back to the quarterdeck where Coffee, inform the public of snuff 's fascinating history and selling up to three pounds of Fine Irish every Cigars, and Cognac awaited us (I did mention that the romance of its production and use.” A glittering fortnight, although he admitted it was half of what he our Livery enjoyed dining on the High C’s..) and inaugural dinner was held at London’s Savoy Hotel had been turning over just a few years earlier. Many which seemed to hit the mark – Liveryman Jemma on 19 March 1963, at which the many guests enjoyed of his customers were women who worked in the Freeman had kindly provided the torpedo cigars a special snuff “tasting”. dusty sack warehouses in the district. and had had them placed in souvenir tubes with our Crest emblazoned on it. Several of Jack us also sported The interest in snuff-taking continued throughout In 1973, Devon motorway ganger Pope became a Britain’s limited first edition Livery Smoking hat - originally the Swinging Sixties. By the end of the decade the known Snuff Champion. He was conceived as title a sort of a shooting hat, serves its after most exotic blends of Attar of Roses, or carnations, awarded the and silver cup by it the Society purpose as a “team” of the 19 twenty wallflowers and hyacinths, could cost up to 17s 6d sampling so 75 well different snuffs hat, in 2 that minutes seconds ordered, but one remained by the close of the day! an ounce, with G Smith & Sons’ coffee and brandy- without sneezing! Thank you to the Master Mariners for allowing us the flavoured “Café Royal” appearing in the Guinness Fribourg Treyer’s famous bow- of the & venue, to Tim for 18th being century a perfect Principal Book of Records as the world’s most expensive snuff. use fronted façade at 34 Haymarket still exists (as does Guest, and for everyone attending and giving my Tailors were making bespoke suits with special the brand), although the business closed in 1981. year such a special start. pockets for snuff boxes. G Smith & Sons, established in 1869 and once Several personalities were made honorary members described as the “last snuff specialists in London”, of the Society. In 1966 at the Cheshire Cheese in closed in 2011. Singleton & Cole, founded in The Master Fleet Street, musician Acker Bilk was presented with the 1860s, was sold to Cavenham Foods in 1966. a silver snuff box by then President Mr J D Skelsey Wilsons continues in the snuff business as Wilsons & (Singleton’s). In 1970, novelist Kingsley Amis and Co (Sharrow) Ltd. 18 3