[ John Brumfit, nineteenth-century City of London cigar merchant. ] Autograph account books ('Journal' and 'Cash') from the firm's foundation in 1864, with explanatory letter from the founder's grandson K. F. Brumfit, and trade letterhead.

John B. Brumfit, nineteenth-century City of London cigar merchant [ subsequently John Brumfit Ltd
Publication details: 
London [ John B. Brumfit, Cigar Merchant, 86, King William Street, City. ].Journal: 1864-1870. Cash Book, 1864-1872.
SKU: 19917

For more than a century the firm of John Brumfit Ltd of the City of London was one of Britain's leading cigar and tobacco merchants, its reputation international. The firm was founded in 1864 by John B. Brumfit, son of Charles Brumfit of No. 1 Pall Mall West. The items offered here are the journal and cash book written out by the founder at the firm's inception, together with two related items (Items Three and Four below). The material is not only of importance in relation to the history of the tobacco trade in nineteenth-century London, but also casts valuable light on Victorian social history. The four items are in good condition, lightly aged and worn. The journal and cash book are in 8vo account books, each with ticket of stationers Vacher & Sons, 20 Parliament Street; uniform in format and design, but in different colours. ONE: Journal and stock account with his father's firm. 262pp. In brown calf half-binding, with cloth covers, marbled endpapers. 'JOURNAL' in gilt on spine. The journal is on pp.6-223, with entries dating between 17 October 1864 to 17 September 1870. Pp.1-5 and 225-260 carry J. B. Brumfit's account of the wholesale purchase of stock from his father's firm ('Stock Acct. with C. Brumfit & Co No 1 Pall Mall West.'), with entries dating between 14 October 1864 and 30 January 1868. P.224 is headed 'Notes of prices', and carries details of the cost of 'Rifles', '', 'Zetlands' and 'Operas' from 'Ward & Co Brighton', as well as 'Wards Sultanas', 'Gloag's Sultanas', and Gloag's 'Moscow' and 'Small without , Cambridge'. At the rear of the volume is a page of 'Addresses', with eight entries (including 'Bunning & Grindley | 17 Gracechurch St'), facing a page with a note on shares held in the Yudanamutana Copper Mining Company. The 41pp. of accounts with his father's firm show how Brumfit stocked up at the commencement of trading, with the price given for bundles of tobacco, boxes of cigars, together with the unit price, as for example the first five entries: '30 Bundles Cabaga Lopez [unit price:] 20/6 [price:] [£]30 15[s] [0d] | 800 Cigars Lopez 18/6 [£]7 8[s] [0d] | 500 [Cigars] Principe de Galles 63/. [£]15 15[s] [0d] | 6 dozn. Bundles S. Cigarettes 4d [£]1 4[s] [0d] | 16 Boxes Turkish [Cigarettes] 6/. [£]1 4[s] [0d] | 20 [Boxes] Russian [Cigarettes] 8/6 [£]2 2[s] 6[d]'. Other items include: 'Henry Clays Londres', Noreigas', 'Clavel de Santiago', 'Confianzas', 'La Feliz', 'Fixed Stars', 'Flor de Cuba', 'Cabanas Reals', 'Giron Reinas', 'Cigarette papers', 'Books', various cases (including 'pigskin (stained)' and 'Russian (steelbound)', 'Meerschaum pipes', 'Briar pipes'. The journal has columns for receipts and payments, and includes costs of postage, newspapers, 'Christmas Box' (including 'policeman', 'postman', 'Night Police Xmas Box', 'another postman'), 'Rent', 'Washing', 'Labels', 'printing', 'Cigar Nippers', 'Gas Company', 'J B (Christening party)'; as well as payments to firms including those of his father, 'Mr Sweetland', 'Mr Rutter', 'Mr Gosden', 'Marshall', 'Vallance', 'Knight', 'Benedictus', 'Reeves & Co putting 21 Iron bars'. TWO: Cash book. 135pp. In binding as Item One, but green in colour rather than brown. 'CASH BOOK' in gilt on spine. Dating from between 17 October 1864 and 25 May 1872. Mainly listing 'Cash on hand' and 'Receipts', but also including cash payments for minor items and services, such as 'Repairing Shutter', 'pipe cases', 'Brass Weight', 'Hand brush', 'Tombstone £4', 'Beer Money for men &c 1s/11d', 'Licence', 'piece of chain for window', 'postage', 'Newspaper', 'Advertisement', 'Labels', 'Gas Company', 'Fire Insurance', 'Lamp Globe', 'Envelopes', 'Writing paper', 'Deposit Bank', 'Window card', 'Reflectors & burners', 'Mining shares', 'Bad debt lost'. Also names (such as 'Newton Bros', 'Bell & Co', 'Taylor King & Co', 'Frankau & Co'), including some from Item One (Rutter, Gosden, Knight). THREE: Autograph Letter Signed from John Brumfit's grandson Kenneth F. Brumfit, to 'The Directors | Messrs. John Brumfit Ltd. | 13, St Swithin's Lane | E.C.4'. Addressed from 51 Greenway, Southgate, London, N14. Dated 11 December 1947. Reads: 'Dear Sirs, | For many years I have had in my possession the original Cash Book used by my grandfather, the late John Brumfit, when he founded the business, which still bears his name, in 1864 at premises situated at the corner of Post Office Court and King William Street. | As the business no longer is in the possession of the family I think it appropriate that the book should pass to the present proprietors for whom, no doubt, it will be of some historical interest, especially as it records the date at which trading actually commenced. I may add that all the entries are in my grandfather's own handwriting. | I therefore present the Cash Book to you with every good wish for the future prosperity of the firm. | Yours faithfully | K F Brumfit'. Accompanied by an ALS from 'Kenneth F. Brumfit' to 'Peel', same date, reading: 'As promised I am sending you the little memorandum covering the gift of the old Cash Book and hope it is the kind of letter you had in mind.' (While giving the correct date of the foundation of the firm, the London Encyclopaedia erroneously states that its original premises were in St Swithin's Lane, its subsequent main branch. FOUR: Printed form for receipt, with letterhead 'To JOHN B. BRUMFIT, | Cigar Merchant, | 85, KING WILLIAM STREET, CITY, | AND AT 1, PALL MALL, WEST.' The last line of the letterhead is deleted, and the following is written on the form: 'As Executor under the Will of his Father Charles Brumfit late of No 1 Pall Mall, West.'