This film is part of Free

The Clay Pipe Makers of Broseley

Like something from the days of Sir Walter Raleigh - the clay tobacco pipe makers of Broseley in Shropshire.

Amateur film 1938 9 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for Media Archive for Central England


Before the rise of the cigarette one of the only ways to smoke tobacco was in a pipe made of clay. Broseley in Shropshire, one of the birthplaces of the industrial revolution, specialised in this process. Demand was high, partly because they broke so easily - the long 'churchwarden's' pipe, which is seen being made here, was particularly fragile. But by 1938, when this amateur film was shot, the ancient craft was on its way to becoming a museum curio.

The filming location is likely to be the works of William Southern and Company. The firm was the last to operate in the town of Broseley with sporadic production carrying on into the late 1950s. The Southern works on King Street survived long enough to be turned into a working museum known as the Broseley Pipe Works.