Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 133,382 pages of information and 211,458 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

James Dewsnap

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of Coromandel Works, Sidney Street, Sheffield. Also at 10 Falcon Avenue, London, EC1 (1922)

Ditto Address. Telephone 21313-4. Cables: " Portobello, Sheffield". (1929)

The Dewsnap family set up several cabinet-case businesses of varying size throughout the nineteenth century.

c1833 Thomas Dewsnap founded the first of his family's firms, remaining in business for over 40 years.

1841 James Dewsnap established his firm and became the most successful of the family, with a business that flourished well into the twentieth century. After establishing his business in Newcastle Street, he acquired substantial purpose-built premises called The Morocco and Cabinet Works which he partly sub-let to other firms as well as having showrooms in London.

c1849 Joseph Dewsnap started a similar business in Tudor Place.

1871 In the Census, Dewsnap was described as a master cabinet-case maker employing two men, three boys and four girls, two of whom were probably his daughters, Fanny and Mary, who lived at home and were described as cabinet-case finishers. He lived on Lydgate Lane in the more affluent artisan suburbs of Crookes, to the north of the town centre. His works were described as a warehouse, works and premises in Devonshire Street.

c1876 John Dewsnap, briefly in partnership as Dewsnap and Cooper, began his business around 1876, lasting for some twenty years.

Dewsnaps, made a wide range of boxes such as writing, cutlery, jewellery, travelling, dressing and razor cases. They could be further sub-divided into those who made the cases and those who fitted the interiors according to their requirements. Further still, the latter could be divided into those who made interiors for dressing-cases, 'fitter-up' and those who made the interiors for ladies' work boxes, "pine-workers". Cases would be fitted out with relevant equipment such as perfume and make-up bottles, brushes, nail files and scissors whilst the liners would cover the interiors with decorative materials according to the quality of the case. The cases were made from wood often inlaid with brass, mother of pearl, tortoiseshell or exotic veneers whilst the interiors were finished in leather, foil, or material.

1922 British Industries Fair Advert as Manufacturers of Fancy Leather Goods, and Cabinet Goods including: Fitted Workbaskets, Work Cases and Boxes; Cutlery Companions; Ladies' and Gents' Hussifs**; Needle Cases; Cases of Scissors; Students' and Attaché Cases; Blotters; Manicure Cases, Folding, Roll-up and Box Style; Dressing Cases and Dressing Rolls; Toilet and Brush Cases for Ladies and Gents; Jewel Cases and Rolls. Also Razor Stops and Cases; Ebony Trays and Trinket Boxes; Fitted Suit, Dress and Blouse Cases, etc. (Stand Nos. J.34 and J.49) [1]

1929 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Fancy Leather, Cabinet and Ebony Goods. Dressing, Shaving, Writing, Beauty, Shingle, Dance, Shoe Polishing, Pyjama, Shirt, Collar, Coathanger, Jewel, Darning, First-Aid, Manicure, Brush, Companion and Work Cases, Work Baskets, Hussifs, Travel Toilets. "Alluwant". (Stand O. P.58) [2]

Note: **

  • A Hussif (or 'Housewife') was a pocket sewing kit of either fabric or leather, that was usually carried by a soldier on active service. They were in use until about the 1950s, after which they were no longer part of standard issue.

See Also


Sources of Information

  • [1] Materializing Sheffield
  • Chambers English Dictionary
  • [2] Geocities