J.W.Stutter Ltd, Cutlers
Bryan Stutter brandishes his Stutter scissors
Bryan Stutter and his wife Sue have amassed a handsome collection of old cutlery, all incised with the name of J.W.Stutter – the company founded by Brian’s great-great-great-grandfather Joel at the boundary of the City of London in the eighteen twenties. Cutlers were one of the myriad small trades that thrived here for centuries, selling their wares for domestic use and also providing tools to other manufacturers based in the vicinity, yet today the only evidence of their presence is in the name of Cutler St, a narrow thoroughfare leading off Houndsditch.
In an idle moment, seven years ago, Bryan was searching for the name of his forebear upon the internet when he found a J.W.Stutter cabbage knife for sale on an auction site. Bryan bought it on impulse and began searching for more items with the J.W.Stutter name, and thus his magnificent collection was born – reversing the trend of time, by bringing back together as many of the items manufactured and sold by J.W. Stutter as possible.
Bryan’s grandfather was the last in the family business and Bryan remembers coming up from Palmers Green as a child to Bishopsgate with his father to visit the shop in 1955 and seeing the famous 365 blade pen knife that was displayed in the window. “He offered sixpence to anyone that could open and shut every blade without cutting themselves,” Bryan recalled fondly. Originally, the company were manufacturing cutlers employing a sheet metal worker, a carpenter, an ivory carver and a silversmith, but by the sixties they could no longer compete with imported cutlery and the business was sold, moving to Hackney, only to close finally in 1982.
“As you get older, you start remembering things and you become interested in history, but by then the people you could have asked have died,” admitted Bryan, who had all but forgotten the former family business until he found some of the company papers with his father’s will. “I just thought, ‘this is my family history,’” he continued, gesturing to his proud assemblage of cutlery that includes the set of dessert knives he and Sue received as their wedding present, “If my daughter or nephew wants it, I can pass it in to them, and if nobody wants it, it can all go back on sale on the internet…”
J.W Stutter in Bishopsgate in the mid-twentieth century, with the 365 blade penknife on display.
365 blade penknife produced as an apprentice piece and shown at the Great Exhibition. Bryan remembers this in his grandfather’s shop.
J.W.Stutter at 133 Bishopsgate in 1911.
J.W.Stutter (third shop on the left) at 184 Shoreditch High St.
The nineteenth century cabbage knife that started Bryan’s collection.
Detail of the cabbage knife.
Hip flask by J.W.Stutter
Detail of the hip flask.
J.W.Stutter Corn knife c. 1840
Victorian pewter teapot
Detail of the pewter teapot
Sewing scissors, c. 1890
Nineteenth century razors in a presentation case.
Detail of the cobblers’ tool
Victorian tackle retriever.
Set of dessert knives, mid-twentieth century.
Detail of the dessert knives.
Bryan & Sue Stutter with items from their Stutter collection.