1573: Sir Frances Drake brings the first recorded cargo of tobacco to England from the New World.
1601: The East India Company forms and exotic imports including tobacco pour into the country.
1604: King James I publishes the pamphlet, A Counterblaste to Tobacco. He imposes heavy taxes on the product.
1613: More than 7,000 ‘tobagies’ sell tobacco, owing to its popularity. Domestic cultivation and smuggling increase in order to avoid high taxes.
THE FIRST COMPANY: 1619-1643
1619: King James I bans tobacco growing in England. He orders that all tobacco must come into the country through London and that tobacco pipes are to be made solely by a group of pipe makers based in Westminster, to whom he grants a Royal Charter.
1634: King Charles I re-incorporates the Company under the name of the Tobacco-pipe Makers of London and Westminster and England and Wales. This becomes a City of London Company, often meeting in the Painter-Stainers’ Livery Hall.
1642: Tradespeople are affected by civil war.
1643: The Company fails to pay annual rent due to the King and forfeits its Charter as a result.
THE SECOND COMPANY: 1663-1868
1660: With the restoration of Charles II, the Company is re-established and reorganised by the City of London.
1663: The Company is granted a Royal Charter of Incorporation but is still without a Grant of Livery at this stage. It remains solely concerned with tobacco-pipes.
1690: A Charter for regulating tobacconists and tobacco cutters is granted to the Grocers’ Livery Company.
1800s: By the 1800s there are no more than 200 ‘citizen’ pipe makers in London, many of whom are poor and lacking education. Around half of these pipe-makers were Freemen of our Company. As a result, the Company’s income - derived from membership fees (‘quarterage’) and apprenticeships - is very low.
1856: Act of Common Council allows non-freemen to trade in the City of London, effectively cutting off the Company's income.
1868: The Company closes.
THE THIRD COMPANY: 1954-PRESENT DAY
1954: Key members of the Briar Pipe and Tobacco Trades meet to revive the old Company. The name is changed to the Worshipful Company of Tobacco Pipe Makers and Tobacco Blenders, accounting for the wider tobacco trade.
1956: New Grant of Arms is designed by the College of Arms, retaining the old Company’s motto, ‘Producat Terra’ (May the earth provide).
1959: Members launch an appeal to raise money for charity. A benevolent fund is set up, with a focus on further education.
1960: A Plea for Livery is presented to, and duly accepted by, the City’s Court of Aldermen.
1990s: The Company raises more than £40,000 to purchase the entire contents of the defunct Broseley Pipe Works at Ironbridge, Shropshire, which was one of the largest pipe-making areas in the world before closing its doors in 1957 after 350 years.
1995: The fully-restored factory opens as a museum within the Ironbridge Gorge Museums complex, a World Heritage site. It offers a wonderfully preserved time capsule of working life in this historial, local industry. Also on display are the Company’s collection of tobacco paraphernalia and some 50 prints featuring tobacco pipe making.