Please refer to vkpipes.com when use this information
This famous picture above is perhaps the only broad known illustration to materials about John Redman LTD & British Empire Pipe Co. And the majority of sources doesn’t move usually far beyond a couple of sentenses: this company did really exist, it was located at this address and there is their former building. However…
However, this Edwardian building on Westland Place was only an annex and no actual manufacturing was located there. The principle place of business and offices were located in Whitecross Street 123/5/7, within 15 minutes of slow walking from Westland Place. Therefore, one of their series was named Whitecross – you may find it in the catalogue below. The building on Whitecross St. still stands there and you may see it on the picture below. The crossing street is the Fortune St., so we have got an explanation of another Redman’s brand name – Captain Fortune.
Indeed, many Redman’s brands bear such toponomical signs: the “Golden Square” series comes from the Golden Square located between the Lower John and Upper John streets, “Dr. John” is the most probably related to the abovementioned John streets. There are also Canberra road and Canberra House in London (which might inspire stamping of the famous Canberra pipes) as well as Canterbury House (Canterbury series). Burlington pipes named after the Burlington Arcade (see also H. Simmons). The majority of them are located quite close to the John Redman’s main office. No wide explanations are needed for the series Westminster and Kensington. And of course, some British imperial charm was added with names Aristocrat, Redman’s Royal, King’s Ransom.
John Redman (as it happened later to Eric Nording) was both a carver and an owner of a business of the same name. The first pipes were born in 1934, but personal efforts appeared soon to be insufficient, what inevitably led to emerging of the name John Redman LTD. Unfortunately, we don’t have artifacts, which could be unambiguously carried to the “pre-war” period. In the WWII years the company could hardly got to the list of lucky manufacturers, who received scarce briar from the state.
But by the end of 1950s John Redman’s firm offered a well balanced portfolio – from popular and practical “Captain Fortune”, “Dr John”, “Golden Square” to top graded Redman’s Royal made of best briar and almost without any stains (comparable to GBD Virgin, but the “Royals” were usually much larger and carved in their own unique style). And of course, we shouldn’t forget about qualitative and still affordable Redonians, Aristocrats and Canberras – a very strong middle (and upper middle) segment. More details, list of offered brands as well as presentation and gift sets can be seen in the catalogue.
It is known that in late sixties and later a part of the production was ordered from subcontractors, for example Blakemar Briars, and since 1992 trademarks of John Redman were taken over by Gerald Grudgings of Loughborough; this company wasn’t a top manufacturer, but many sources attribute the invention of the lovat shape to it.
As the conclusion we are proud to express our sincere and warmest thanks to Robert Deering, who worked for John Redman in 1960s and gave us a number of very important directions.
Below you may enjoy the catalogue of the John Redman Ltd products approximately from the 1960s. A very rare finding!