Thomas Skidmore and Sons, Wolverhampton

I had been to get my flu shot at the local pharmacy, and as is usual these days they asked me to wait for fifteen minutes to make sure I didn’t have a bad reaction.

The waiting area obviously doubled up as an office for the duty pharmacist but was quite nicely organised with some comfortable chairs,  a computer playing a live stream of one of the ABC channels and soothing music on Spotify.

However the thing that caught my eye was the rather impressive nineteenth century safe still in use. I could see that it wasn’t a Thomas Perry safe like the one we have in Dow’s, but one by a different Black Country manufacturer.

I realised however that scrabbling round on the floor in a pharmacy waiting room was probably not on, so I contented myself with grabbing a quick picture of the makers plate:

Like the safe at Dow’s, it was an impressive wood effect steel safe.

Wear on the makers’ plate made it a little difficult to read but after a little bit of image massaging I came up with the following:

Which proudly reads

Thomas Skidmore • Bilston Road Wolverhampton

Nonconduction Fire and Thiefproof Safemakers

which is a claim that reeks of nineteenth century self assurance.

A little googling showed that Thomas Skidmore safes were as well known in the nineteenth century competing with Thomas Perry to supply Post Offices and bank branches throughout the British Empire.

While Thomas Skidmore went out of business in the 1920s, their safes are still well regarded, and a scan of various auction sites shows them continuing to command high prices – around £2000 (say a little under A$4000) for a good example in working order.

The pharmacy in Beechworth is in an old nineteenth century building. What I don’t know is how long a pharmacy has been on the site, but it’s probably a guess that the safe has been in use for as long as the business has been on site, if not longer.


About dgm

Former IT professional, previously a digital archiving and repository person, ex research psychologist, blogger, twitterer, and amateur classical medieval and nineteenth century historian ...
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