The Trust was gifted this large and heavy object back in 2019, discovered in Currie many years ago and it slowly made its way to a safe resting place in our Visitor Centre yard. Renovating the object has become a labour of love for one of our volunteers, but we are happy to say it now looks splendid and likely to survive another 100 or so years. So what is it?
Answer a Snuff grinder – well part of one.
It has taken some digging into the history of snuff milling to understand how it would have been used but you can read more about the fascinating snuff industry on this excellent website – https://www.stricklandgate-house.org.uk/the-story-of-kendal-snuff and see relevant images
I hope they do not mind us sharing this images – the sections circled are the relevant parts.
Or check out this lengthy old vhs video uploaded to youtube – 24.35 mins in until 27mins features an item like our snuff grinder – essentially the mortar to a pestle – if that makes sense.
There were a number of snuff mills in the Currie area the most famous being East Snuff Mill dating from around 1749. We cannot be sure which mill this grinder originated from or when it was made as all markings have long rusted away, just look at these before and after images to show just what a lot of work was needed.