September / October 2009

This edition of the SHPC Gazette is in honor of
William Ashton Taylor

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009 - 7:00 PM or meet at 6pm
Bertucci's or Chinatown?? at Cobb's Corner

Club Info & Events

Details of the August and Septembers Meetings
Not too much to report from the August meeting, pretty much just business as usual. Besides, it was so long ago now I can hardly remember that far back. September was a different story. For the past four or five months Neil and I have been stopping in to C.B Perkins Tobacco at Cobb's Corner for a smoke before dinner. Neil smokes his pipe and I'll have a cigar. Rick started joining us as well and in September practically the entire group of active members showed up. Ok, so I'm exaggerating a little but we did have about eight members huddled around the center seating area. It was great! Now if we could only get them to carry some quality pipes and tobacco. Prebaka, the owner is a great host and always makes us feel welcome. Stop in an join us.

2009 Club Pipe Reviews....... by Greg Spanier
I am the lucky recipient of one of the early club pipes. I mailed the check a week ago, or maybe less, and it arrived today. It is absolutely beautiful. The blast is knobbly but not too much so, and the color is an awesome kind of burnished reddish brown. The mouthpiece is the kind that resists digging in of teeth but still feels comfortable and smooth. I'm not sure of the name of the material, but it's the good kind! The fit is perfect... the slit is horizontal when the pipe is vertical, and the stem comes back at you centrally (not so easy to achieve all this in a bent, I feel.) The stem inserts smoothly but positively, and the join is nice and even. The bore is straight, and you can see the bowl from the place where the mouthpiece inserts. It passes a pipe cleaner easily first time every time, with the stem fitted, of course. The hole is circular and smooth, and right at the base of the bowl so I could smoke virtually to the last shred (like they say you should when breaking in, I believe.)

When smoking, the pipe feels very comfortable in the mouth, nicely balanced, and the bowl feels good in the hand. I used Mangy Dog, the bowl half filled, and the smoke was delicious; no trace of harshness or wetness. It was a perfect way to spend some time late afternoon with a cup of tea outside sitting at the picnic table reading the paper after work.

Oh yes, and it came with a lovely soft leather bag.

I hope you all enjoy yours as much when it arrives!

Best, Greg (aka Sterling)

William Ashton Taylor
Below is a letter from Bill Taylor's daughter and son announcing the passing of their father.

I found this letter on an online message board. and could have easily posted the link for and sent people to directly however, some of the conversations that took place after this letter was posted were totally disrespectful to the memory of this legendary pipemaker. Nothing was said against Bill Taylor, just more of that incessant bickering between board members that seems to happen all too often. Can't we all just put our feelings and opinions aside for a few minutes to honor this great man's memory.

I believe the letter was meant to be read by anyone who knew Bill or owned one of his pipes. I feel everyone should have the opportunity to read it without being subject to the ridiculous board banter that detracted from it's importance.

Dear Friends,
Following the communications of this week, it is with deep regret that we must inform you of the sad news that Bill Ashton-Taylor passed away at approximately 11:40am GMT on Wednesday 16th September 2009, shortly after a visit from Nicola in hospital. He’s condition had been heavily controlled and the medical team assured us he was in no pain.

We understand that this may be upsetting news to many of you who knew our father throughout his lifetime of hand crafting high quality and unique smoking pipes. We believe he brought pleasure and joy to many people through his craftsmanship, his enthusiasm for keeping the art of pipe smoking alive and mostly his infectious charm.

Pipes & Tobacco News & Info

We Bid Farewell to Pipesmoking's
Consummate Gentleman
I was saddened to hear of the recent death of legendary pipemaker William "Bill" Ashton Taylor. From everything I've heard or read Bill had been sick for some time and had been involved in an auto accident.
I was fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to meet Bill on a few occasions, twice at his annual Thanksgiving time trunk show at Peretti's of Boston and once at the 2004 Richmond Show. Bill always wore a smile and seemed genuinely happy to meet and talk with you. After chatting with him a for a few minutes you felt as if you'd known him for years. The last time I saw him at Peretti's we got to talking about England and my hopes to get across the pond in the next year or two. He told me that if I ever made it over to be sure and stop by Thatcher's in Essex for a pint. He was there ever day from 4-6. I'm just sorry I never was able to take him up on his offer.
He began his pipemaking at Dunhill's then moved out on his own. Bill's pipes have always been held with the highest regard and I'm proud to own both an Ashton and a Taylor Made that I personally watched Bill press his his name into. He was indeed the Consummate Gentleman and his absence will be felt by pipesmokers across the world.

Read the Ashton Story by R.C. Hamlin

Other News & Information for smokers:

Websites Worth a Look

UPCA's New Blog
In an effort to facilitate communication among clubs that are members, we have started a UPCA blog. If you care to brag about your club and tell other clubs what you are doing, you can post it to the blog. We also invite you to write for the blog either on a regular basis, if you care to, or whenever the mood strikes. Check out our blog to see what we have already.

New Pipes from Michael Parks
There are new pipes available in the Catalogue, and the Pipe Galleries have been updated with recent completions.

This Month's Tobacco Raffle
In honor of Bill Ashton Taylor we'll raffle off two tins of Ashton tobacco. An English and Aromatic blend.

Ashton Tin - Consummate Gentleman (50g)
A proper English mixture composed of only the finest Virginia, Maryland, and Burley tobaccos with a pinch of Latakia. The result is a remarkable blend that is medium-bodied and traditionally English in character

Ashton Tin - Guilty Pleasure (50g)
This Glorious mixture of Cavendish, Virginia and Carolina Burley carries an irresistible aroma of vanilla, mango and exotic citrus.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has passed on concern and kind words over the last few months and most of all to the many dedicated Ashton pipe smokers who have supported our father and shown their appreciation for his work. We know it meant a great deal to him to receive your praise and it was always his honour to provide his products to such an appreciative community.

Particularly those enthusiasts that hold large Ashton collections and those who took the pilgrimage to Essex, UK to visit our father in his natural habitat, the factory in Romford and the barns at the bottom of our garden. We know that he had as much pleasure from your visits as we can only imagine you had from seeing the birth of Ashton pipes from Briar to a treasured Ashton.

From our father’s time at Dunhill and making the worlds smallest pipe to the conception of the Ashton Magnum (quite the opposite), our father has made many memorable and momentous contributions to the
history of pipe smoking. He has built up the name from a hobby in our garden shed in the early 1980s to a global name of quality and we are very proud of this.

You are probably already aware that our father’s love of “tapping the admiral” over his lifetime had led to his terminal disease of cirrhosis of the liver. The recent car accident was as a result of this declining condition rather than an unfortunate accident, which contributed to his recent rapid deterioration. We would ask that you consider any information you receive in light of what you already knew of our father and your memories of him. We would appreciate if you could remember him for the pleasant times you shared, the excellent work he produced and the quality name he represented rather than any contention you may have or are likely to experience.

As mentioned before Jimmy Craig is the only person we are aware of that carries on our fathers traditions in crafting pipes the “Ashton” way and this can only be verified by you, the pipe community as you experience his work. We hope that Jimmy will continue our fathers legacy, as the art of crafting smoking pipes is now a very rare skill indeed. We hope that you agree that the quality of Jimmy’s work is indeed that of our fathers, we certainly know our father was very proud of the work that Jimmy was producing for him over the last year or so.

For those who still own the pipes our father produced with his own hands, we hope your treasured pipes are even more precious too you now and we trust you will enjoy them for many years to come. We know that
our father would be honoured by your thoughts when smoking them.

Our warmest regards and thanks to you all
Nicola and Spencer Ashton-Taylor

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