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Thread: Drew & Sons Picadilly Circus Straight Razors

  1. #11
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    We know they produced some of the goods, and designed some of them too, but I have no specific knowledge on the razors, and don't use one myself. The extent of John Drew's business interests seems to have been wider than the shops, we know he cast bronzes, but I have never heard he was involved in manufacturing steel products.
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  3. #12
    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    Quote Originally Posted by MartinDrew View Post
    Neil, yes the main problem was the confusion of the generations, and that dates back at least two years when I noticed it in a thread on a silver collectors group. Since then it has been repeated and so I was just trying to set the record straight. No criticism was intended. I have seen stuff from the company appearing on the Antiques Road Show and more and more at auction, which is great as it shows they produced quality stuff, but the credit should go to John Drew rather than Samuel Summers Drew.
    Totally understood Martin! I must say that the Samuel Summers Drew & Ernest Drew london assay mark was confusing me a bit - now all is clear, thanks!

    Regards,
    Neil
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  5. #13
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    Almost certainly Sheffield made. I have seen many razors struck with the names of various London retailers of Piccadilly, Strand, Regent Street, Bond Street, Fleet Street et al - yet virtually no razor-makers were extant in London at this sort of time (despite the cutlery guilds having originated in London). Probably made by one of the Sheffield 'Names' - all top quality as you would expect from top shops.

    Incidentally, the phrase 'Foreign' (OLD English 'forreyn') on cutlery (C. 1650's) originally meant 'made outside London' - not necessarily outside England - as London was deemed the only place that fine cutlery could be made in Britain! (source: Moore - Table knives and forks, Shire Books.)

  6. #14
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    You might as well send them to me. I will dispose of them properly. They are faulty because you bought a set that was not made in the order of the week. They just don't work right if they are sold in a set that is out of order.

    Just kidding.....Nice set! One day I will find a seven day for my very own.

  7. #15
    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    Quote Originally Posted by blueprinciple View Post
    Almost certainly Sheffield made. I have seen many razors struck with the names of various London retailers of Piccadilly, Strand, Regent Street, Bond Street, Fleet Street et al - yet virtually no razor-makers were extant in London at this sort of time (despite the cutlery guilds having originated in London). Probably made by one of the Sheffield 'Names' - all top quality as you would expect from top shops.

    Incidentally, the phrase 'Foreign' (OLD English 'forreyn') on cutlery (C. 1650's) originally meant 'made outside London' - not necessarily outside England - as London was deemed the only place that fine cutlery could be made in Britain! (source: Moore - Table knives and forks, Shire Books.)
    Yes - we already established that they were the vendors, not the makers.

    All London cutlers guild members had their own cutlery markings too - if the London "dagger" did not appear, it wasn't made in London.

    Regards,
    Neil
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    Martin Drew, Do you remember where "Drew and sone" was written on in Upper Audley Street, Mayfair? I be interested in checking it out.

  10. #17
    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    Looking back at this old post, it is apparent that the was razor made by Wilkinson & Sons of Pall Mall, London, England - the 'W' under the Royal Warrant crown shows this. Briefly, the company was founded in 1772 by Henry Nock as a gun-making venture making flint-locks, Nock becoming gun-maker to the King George III. When Nock died in 1804 his son-in-law - James Wilkinson - took over the company. James Wilkinson started to produce bayonets (hence the 'Wilkinson Sword' brand) and in 1824 his son, Henry, took over the business and moved it to Pall Mall. In 1850 the company was known as Wilkinson and Sons. They were appointed Royal Sword and Gun Makers to Queen Victoria. Wilkinson retired in 1858 at which point John Latham took control and in 1889 the company incorporated and became known as Wilkinson Sword. At first other people made straight razors for them and they branded them as their own, but towards the end of the 1800s they began making their own straight razors.

    Regards,
    Neil
    Last edited by Neil Miller; 05-14-2013 at 01:33 PM.
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  12. #18
    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    I'm still not convinced about the start date for this firm.

    As far as I can make out, Samuel Drew and Diana Drew (nee Eatwell) had two sons: Henry Drew b 1821 and John Drew, b 1824.

    John Drew married Mary Drew and they had five sons (Edward, Samuel S., Francis, Henry and Albert) and four daughters (Marian, Ellen, Edith and Jesse Mary).

    According to the 1861 census John Drew (same wife, same children except Albert, Henry and Jesse Mary who were born after that date) was a contractor, builder and shopfitter employing 160 men.

    If the company was formed in 1844, then the occupation would have been different and furthermore John Drew would have had no sons - his eldest son Edward was not born until 1853.

    Records show that at one point the company was 'J. Drew & Son" which means a date post 1853. This catalogue is from 1885:

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    It later became J. Drew & Sons, which is where the abbreviated form of Drew & Sons must have come from. Only John Drew and Samuel Drew are mentioned in a document dated 1882:

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    The hallmarks belonging to Drew & Sons are all registered to Samuel Summers Drew and Ernest Drew (both were silversmiths and brothers, as it now turns out), being an SSD over ED inside a shield and going back through several incarnations to a registry date of 1887.

    It appears that John Drew withdrew from the firm in 1901:

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    So it appears to me that the firm started later than 1844 - maybe a long time after that date.

    Regards,
    Neil
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    Did you find out what happen to the company by and chance who it was sold too?

  15. #20
    Senior Member blabbermouth
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eeggman View Post
    Did you find out what happen to the company by and chance who it was sold too?
    Nope.

    I did find out that Samuel Summers Drew left the company in 1909

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    This left the company in the hands of Samuel's brother Ernest Drew and Samuel's son, John Summers Drew. They registered a silver mark in 1914:

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    I am not sure if Ernest had any children. Born in 1860, he would have been thinking of retiring himself in the next decade or two. John Summers Drew did have a son - Charles Edward Summers Drew, born in 1908. However, he seems to have chosen another occupation, for we find him listed as working as Assistant Keeper of the Public Records Office in 1930:

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    As for Drew & Sons, there is a record of a change of name to Drew & Sons (Picadilly) Limited in 1900. In 1973 The Department of Trade published a list (as they always do) of companies that would be struck off the register in 3 months time, among which was Drew & Sons (Piccadilly) Ltd.:

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    I am supposing that means that accounting records had not been submitted for some time - probably for the companies agreed returns period. Companies House shows that Drew & Sons (Piccadilly) was indded dissolved as a company.

    It looks to me as if they just petered out. Maybe they worked from the silversmiths in Upper Audley Street for some time, or he just bought their left-over stock when they stopped trading. It's annoying that the silversmith's name was not given.

    Regards,
    Neil
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