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Leigh & Co Workers, Portchester

Brief Description

Workers posed in group from Leigh & Co, Tobacco Pipe, Whiting & Putty manufacturers, Portchester, about1890.

Subject Date

About 1890


Copied by: Dine, Derek
Hampshire County Library


Hampshire Library and Information Service


Hampshire Library and Information Service

Full Description

12 workmen posed with their tools and a dog in front of the firms sign. The man sitting in the centre is holding a mould for a very long stemmed pipe popular with French fishermen. Among the names of the workers are Harry Goodall, his father Thomas Goodall, Henry Baker and Frank Meatyard. Frank Meatyard did a moonlight run with the clay pipes around Hampshire and Sussex. Pipes were sent off to various railway stations in the area. Frank would then set off from Portchester with a light wheeled, horse drawn cart carrying a full load of pipes. He would sell out by the time he reached Havant, so he collected a fresh supply from the railway station and travel through the area covering as far as pet worth, Midhurst and Chichester. He always did the journey at the full moon as there were no street lights to guide him and it would be a week before he returned to Portchester.The firm began in 1840 when Henry Leigh from the west country set up a factory behind the old village pound in East Street for making clay pipes. The business later moved to Castle Street and became Leigh & Co. The firm prospered and built up a flourishing business, both locally and also exporting to the continent. The goods for export to Europe were packed in sawdust filled barrels and shipped from the nearby Paulsgrove Quay. Locally horse drawn vans and carts distributed the goods. Originally the pipes were plain and virtually flat but later became highly decorative.The pipes were made by carefully preparing clay, then rolling it into the rough shape of the pipe to be moulded and then placing them in groups on the dozening board. The pipe press was loaded and closed. The excess clay is then forced out between the moulds and trimmed off. The pipes were then left to dry on a rack before being placed in saggers for firing at a temperature of about 900 degrees centigrade. The form turned to putty making and distemper products when the demand for pipes dropped. The original moulds and tools for clay pipe making were presented to the Museum in Winchester. The factory was later situated on the Wicor Industrial Estate.References:1. Palmer, Oonagh. 1998. Around Fareham, p. 47-48.2. Crouch, George T. 1982. Story of Portchester, p. 393. Montgomery, Alan. 1984. My Goodness! My Portchester!, p. 14-15.Copy photograph of a photograph.


Portchester, Fareham Borough, Hampshire


business, work, pipe, whiting, putty, mould, sagger, street, East Street, Castle Street, quay, Paulsgrove Quay, industry, Wicor Industrial Esate

Name Subject

Henry Leigh, Henry Goodall, Thomas Goodall, Frank Meatyard, Henry Baker, Leigh and Co

Content Type



Fareham Library

Local Ref




Object ID/Record ID


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