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Crowden & Keeves’ Hardware

January 29, 2013
by the gentle author

Richard Ince proprietor of James Ince & Sons, Britain’s oldest umbrella manufacturers, showed me this catalogue published by Crowden & Keeves in 1930 which had been knocking around his factory for as long as he could remember. Operating from premises in Calvert Avenue and Boundary St, they were one of the last great hardware suppliers in the East End, yet the quality of their products was such that their letterboxes and door knockers may still be recognised in use around the neighbourhood today.

The umbrellas were supplied to Crowden & Keeves by James Ince & Sons

You may like to read about these other favourite hardware shops

At General Woodwork Supplies

At M&G Ironmongery & Hardware

At KTS, The Corner

8 Responses leave one →
  1. Pride in Work permalink
    January 29, 2013

    Thank you so much for posting.

    Wonder what we can do to enhance craftsmanship skills in our youth.

  2. Pamela permalink
    January 29, 2013

    What every house needs – a Monkey stropper! 🙂 Wouldn’t this store be wonderful to walk through?

  3. annie permalink
    January 29, 2013

    Wow, what an amazing collection of hardware!
    Ferret muzzles and bells, banister brushes, bone smashers….!

  4. aubrey permalink
    January 29, 2013

    As children we played in and around the area. The name was a part of our vocabulary although we didn’t take it’s spelling or function too seriously! (In fact not at all). And, as I remember, when we referred to the premises, we pronounced it as “crowd’nkeeves” all one word. Although it was a kind of local landmark, it had never really occurred to me that it was an actual enterprise!

  5. Gill Cork permalink
    January 29, 2013

    An incredible collection of hardware from times gone by. Some of them sound like instruments of torture what with monkey stroppers, horse scrapers, toilet clippers and stropping machines not to mention castrating irons – truly the mind boggles…..

  6. Paul Huckett permalink
    January 29, 2013

    As an antique dealer in rural Australia , I still see these types of things at clearing sales on older farms and homesteads and there is a thriving market in this sort of everyday collectable –people love the workman-like tools and kitchen gadgets of what is now nearly 100 years ago !

  7. Gary permalink
    January 29, 2013

    My father had an “Ironcrete” garden roller, the solid roller itself has survived and now forms part of a water feature in my garden.

  8. John Keeves permalink
    February 3, 2021

    As an Australian descendant of the founders of the Keeves part of the Crowden and Keeves enterprise, I was delighted to see this catalogue. Thank you.

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