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Crowden & Keeves’ Hardware

March 8, 2024
by the gentle author

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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 favourite hardware shops

At General Woodwork Supplies

At M&G Ironmongery & Hardware

At KTS, The Corner

10 Responses leave one →
  1. Saba permalink
    March 8, 2024

    Those were some beautiful tools that would last four lifetimes, if not eternally. But, when I look at those big, heavy pots, I am so grateful not to have been a woman living back in the day when I most likely would have spent the entire time in the kitchen wielding those big pots and taking care of my twelve children!

  2. Mark permalink
    March 8, 2024

    I love these!
    Some of these items must survive!

  3. Marcia Howard permalink
    March 8, 2024

    Most of my life has just flashed by with all the items shown above, not necessarily originating from Crowden & Keeves, but identical looking and many of them still used regularly in my current kitchen and garden, some of which originated from my grandparents, but then used by my mother before coming to me. I still also have and still use some of my dad’s old tools – and he passed away in the mid 1960s. ‘Stuff’ was made to last back then!

  4. March 8, 2024

    As a collage artist and former commercial illustrator, my studio is absolutely REPLETE with
    archival clip-art books, on every topic imaginable. Images of hands, music, people, costumes, shoes and hats, flowers, travel motifs, furnishings, maps, plus the requisite “Hecks” book that covers every topic known to man or beast. Its a doorstop. My favorite thing to look for in any used book emporium are old out-of-print Dover publications, with even MORE clip art. How I would love to be able to walk over to a shelf, pull down this beautiful volume, and make copy prints of the images inside. Especially the page of keys, and the wonderful array of bird cages.

    While we are praising the makers of the tools, how about some applause for the skilled engravers who did such wonderful depictions of the wares? Hurrah and huzzah.

  5. Mark Byfield permalink
    March 8, 2024

    What a catalogue and what an Aladdin’s Cave.
    I absolutely love a hardware shop, I could spend happy hours just looking.
    Sadly A thing of the past.

    Thanks for your post my friend.


  6. Lydia permalink
    March 8, 2024

    What lovely pre-plastic tools, containers and such! Made to last but when they wore out and could no longer be repaired or repurposed, could actually deteriorate!

  7. gkbowood permalink
    March 8, 2024

    I saw many items that my Grandparents used and I still have. I saw even more that I want to buy now! What an excellent selection they offered and I would love to have a copy of the whole catalog.
    Thanks for sharing these images.

  8. March 8, 2024

    A huge range of interesting items – even for kitting out your ferret! I have a vacuum washing dolly and carpet beater that belonged to my grandmother and various tools from my dad that are equally old. They fit well in my Edwardian house. Hardware shops and ironmongers are fascinating places!

    I didn’t like seeing the snare wire though and am glad that they are now banned ( but sadly still found).

  9. Terry Kirkman permalink
    March 8, 2024

    Many years ago I acquired a Fellows and Bates Universal Marmalade Machine, produced by a Manchester firm, and I am still using it today. Each year when the Seville oranges appear in the shops, I buy several kilos to make enough marmalade to last throughout the year. These machines were manufactured in the late Victorian era as a labour-saving device. I wonder how many articles made today will still be in use over a hundred years later!

  10. Bill permalink
    March 10, 2024

    Wowza! Wouldn’t it be neat to find a treasure trove of this stuff tissue wrapped, in the original boxes! What fine metalware!

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