Thomas Till & Son/s

Thomas Till and Son/s Online Museum

Victorian steampunk and gaslamps fantasies;

Both of us love anything Victorian/Edwardian so collecting Thomas Till  is a natural  extension to our other interests. When I was a teenager I used to buy Victorian petticoats to wear as skirts. I would wear ankle boots and maxi coats. I hated modern  furniture so bought old chests of drawers and would set about revamping them myself. Those were the days when you could still buy large sepia family framed photographs for pence. I wanted the things that most people didn't. As one of my friends said at the time, I was born in the wrong era.

I have been lucky enough to live in a three storey Victorian house and an old Victorian school in the past.  I have lived in modern houses and hated them with a passion. I have tried to do minimalist in an attempt to keep on top of all the household chores but I feel quite depressed when I am not surrounded by my collections of things.

Fortunately, my husband and I share a love of the same era and he too has collections of 'things'. We are lucky enough to live in an old post office which has a Victorian / Edwardian feel but we do recognise that ripping out the new rewiring and replacing with gas lamps is probably a bit impractical. Not least because we don't have mains gas here so we would probably have to use oil lamps!

One of my biggest problems over the years was finding crockery and dinner services that fitted in with the look I really wanted but everything was always so modern or a really bad reproduction. For a time I was able to form a mixed collection of embossed white ware but it didn't really fulfil what I was looking for.  My husband  also had a collection of plates and crockery that he had picked up in charity and second hand shops over the years. We both reduced our collections but we are still storing too much in boxes since finally moving the vast contents of two homes into one!

We have seen the Post Office on historical maps dating  from at least 1870. The building was also a general stores and small farm. The house, now modernised with double glazing and other 20th Century 'improvements' is being restored to a more sympathetic version of it's Victorian roots.

For us, Thomas Till and Son/s represents everything that is wonderful about Victorian/Edwardian living and the social history of the Till family shows all the disappearing family norms of the time such as extended family members living in the family unit, close family members marrying - possibly for convenience where children are involved. Drawing up a family tree is proving very difficult when we have to work out how to show that Delicia Till died but her widowed husband married Delicias aunt and took on her son as stepson/nephew and she became stepmohter to Delicias daughter/neice. This wasn't an isolated incident in the Till family and during the days of little or no welfare this was probably an acceptable way of securing a future for a widowed parent. It should also be remembered that 'missing' husbands and fathers in the census returns may be due to service in the Crimean or Boer Wars or death from the many diseases that were commonplace in the 19th & early 20th century. Unfortunately this information is difficult to check if there hasn't been a name in the census returns connected to the widow or widower. The detective work continues!

 

 

 

 

 

Post House Tales & Victorian Living

 

 

Shop Till you drop.....or how we got started....

     So how did our collection of Thomas Till begin? Well, one day, while shopping in Stornoway, (the main town on the Isle of Lewis) we  spotted a platter in the window of a charity shop - a simple flow blue border which we later found to be the 'Venus' pattern. The single platter turned out to be a substantial part of a twelve place dinner service including dinner plates, salad plates, side plates, soup dishes, gravy boat and two tureens. We were delighted to be able to buy the lot for the princely sum of just £30.00!

     We looked up Till & Sons on the internet and quickly found that there was very little about the manufacturer, the products they made and hardly anything about Thomas Till as a man. What we did find, however, was a set of three graduated platters in the Venus pattern advertised on the internet. We saw this as a sign - or should I say an excuse to spend lots of money (!) - and our passion for all things 'Till' was established.

     We invested in a book that listed twenty different Till patterns. What fun would it be to have an example of each?! Well, today we have discovered over eighty  named patterns - not to mention the pattern variations, the un-named patterns, the art & lustrine ware, majolica and my favourite handpainted items. We believe we have established ourselves as serious collectors now that we have filled every available space.

     We have paid pence for some items and many pounds for unusual or more desirable Till items. For us, the joy is owning as many different patterns and forms that Till & Son/s produced. Eventually we hope to have an actual museum where people can come and see our collection properly displayed instead of having just a few cabinets brimming with all things Till. 

     Are we obsessive about our collection? Just a little bit....

     Hope you enjoy our site. Please remember the site is being continually updated as we find out more information. All enquiries will be answered and we would love to hear of any new patterns or different variants that you may have, e.g. you may know of a colour that we are not aware of.

     Very Best Wishes,   Mike & Christina

     P.S. I am interested about the actual history of Thomas Till and his family. I am including a section on everything I have found out about anyone directly linked to Thomas Till. If there is anybody who has any information on Till & Son/s e.g. company or personal photographs, etc, that may be of interest to me I would love to hear from you.

Christina

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