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Tobacconist's sign showing an army officer smoking a Churchwarden's pipe, Europe, 1801-1880

Standing outside a tobacconist’s, this carved wooden and painted army officer smoking a pipe would certainly have attracted the attention of potential customers. At a time when the numbering of houses and business premises was often absent, highly distinct shop signs were often the easiest way to locate them. Customers might, in this case, have been directed to ‘the sign of the smoking soldier’. Churchwarden tobacco pipes are characterised by their long stems and were often made from clay.

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Glossary: shop sign

Use broadly for signs identifying places of business.

Glossary: churchwarden pipe

tobacco pipes with long stems, measuring up to and over 40 cm