Many of my antique collections have come from my father’s side of the family since his sister saved everything. However, this is one collection that I get to thank my British mom for saving and shipping to the United States. Her father, grandfather AND great-grandfather were builders.
I have some fond early memories of my grandfather, Fred Chick. I remember the smell of his tools in his small, brick, detached garage (which he pronounced “gar-ridge”). I remember nailing scraps of wood together and making unrecognizable, unusable objects that he praised highly.
Here he is, pipe in hand, enjoying himself at his local pub in the early 1960s.
His father, George Chick, built these homes in the Leckhampton area of Cheltenham, England.
These simple homes would be called duplexes in America but are called “semi-detached” in England.
My mom had her father’s tool box refinished for me as a Christmas gift one year. It held this panoramic view of homes that he built in the 1940’s close to the Cotswold village of Stow-on-the-Wold.
The old box also held a few of the tools that I love so much. Mom actually shipped over many more and for now they are stored in totes.
This large plane is being measured by one of his folding rulers. An early version of our current “retractable” measuring tapes?
My favorites are the planes with varying profiles used for molding and trim. His mother, Emily, had 14 children and not only did his father build homes to support them but also made cabinetry and coffins. His mother, by the way, also ran a laundry out of their home. I suppose they had lots of little hands to help!
Tool loss and theft was probably as much of an issue back then as it is now. Men had metal stamps made with their names so that they could mark their tools. This plane bears his name and what I believe is a cancelling stamp made over the name of a previous owner.
Size marks such as this “1 IN” were also stamped into a tool.
I also enjoy handling these metal tools, some of which were made by Edward Preston & Sons, Ltd. in Birmingham.
It is not surprising that my mom went on and married a builder – an American, though. I know that my dad and his father-in-law had lots to talk about regarding the history of the trade and the differences between both sides of the pond. In fact, a business that I have in addition to my auto repair shop is a modular home business here in the Lowcountry, Headwater Homes. I only wish my father and grandfather were around to talk with. Mom has some memories but it’s not like firsthand experience. However, I am so very grateful that she saved these “tools of the trade”.