Titel: Kendal Brown: The History of Kendal's Tobacco and Snuff Industry
Author: J. W. Dunderdale
First published: 2003
I paid: €16.00
The author James William Dunderdale completed this book about 1980, but never published it himself. In 2001 the text was handed over to Anne Bonney by Mr. Dunderdale's daughter. Anne Bonney decided to publish it, after adding some information and bringing it up to date.
The book tells the story of the three big snuff companies of Kendal: Samuel Gawith & Company, Illingworth's and Gawith, Hoggarth & Company. It starts with the introduction of snuff to the British isles and how Kendal became the snuff center of the world.
The book contains that much information, that it is a little hard to read sometimes. Nevertheless, I kept on reading and I was rewarded by a vast of information. It would go much too far to try to summarise it here. The reader gets details on all the three companies, their founders, staff and connections to each other. For example, Mr. Dunderdale tells, how Dr. Rumney started with a medical snuff for himself, ending up with blending his famous snuff for a large group of customers. Dr. Rumney's snuff became Illingwoth's, before it turned to Singleton. After a big fire, it was bought by J. & H. Wilson before it closed down.
The history of the other two companies is similar. Founded by a single person, they were lead by family, were transferred forth and back, had a close relationship to each other and so on.
Different snuff types are described, including the Kendal Brown, of course. The interested reader will find a lot of details, nice pictures and some lovely anecdotes. I personally got a vague picture of how the town may have been those days and what makes the snuff producers what they are today.
I can nothing but recommend this book to those, who are interested to take a closer look at the famous snuff labels. For me, it is simply unbelievable how the author got all this information and how much time he had to spend on his book he never published himself. He died in 1996, 16 years after the original version of the book stops, and never seeing his book being printed. The style of writing is impressing. Even though, the sentences are very long and the amount of information is overwhelming, Mr. Dunderdale accomplishes to give a picture of 'The History of Kendal's Tobacco and Snuff Industry'.