Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Filtness superstore!

Today even a modest advertisement in the local press can be prohibitively expensive.  In 1854 rates must have been a tad more affordable if the advertisement placed by Stephen Filtness in the Swindon Advertiser is anything to go by.

Stephen was born in Kent in 1813, but by the mid 1850s he was living in Swindon with his wife Ann and running the warehouse at 40 Newport Street.  So what did they stock - well just about everything according to this advertisement.

Where all may be furnished with goods of the best
Of the various articles herein expressed.
Namely, brushes of all sorts, for wet and dry rubbing
Soft brushes for toilets and hard ones for scrubbing,
Paint brushes, tooth brushes, hearth brushes and brooms,
With mops of the best yard for the scrubbing of rooms.
Shoe brushes, horse brushes, curry combs and tin tacks,
Note paper, envelopes and good sealing wax.
Smelling bottles, pins for the hair, and bed sacking,
Bread trays, tea trays, glue and fine japan blacking.
Looking glasses, skimmers, cedar pencils round and square,
And all sorts of china, glass and crockery ware.
Scuttles for coal, or cinders, or ashes,
Hair powder, chalk lines and pulleys for sashes.
Great choice of nick-nacks, combs, ivory and bone,
The very best mousetraps that ever were known.
Pins papered and loose, hooks and eyes and carpenter's flaskets,
American clocks, nutmeg graters and fancy baskets.
Fine razors and knives, and razor strops neat,
Pens, Penholders and shaving boxes complete.
Warming pans, handles and handles for mops,
Han bowls, copper kettles and watering pots;
American tubs, fenders, frying pans, and pails,
Coffin furniture, lace, white and black nails.
Rummers, tumblers and cruets for mustard,
Glass cups, china cups, and cups for a custard.
Saws, chisels, brad awls, and hatchets,
Scissors, paper knives, and black lead in packets.
Cotton purses, silk purses and purses of leather,
Umbrellas to keep out the tempestuous weather.
Braces, belts and fancy studs for shirts,
French clogs, plain clogs and pattens to keep from the dirt,
Tin cups and tin kettles and coffee cans,
Boilers, saucepans, door mats and dripping pans;
Tea caddies, work boxes and cinder riddles
Writing desks, Jews harps, whistles and fiddles.
Table knives, carving knives, of the very best steel,
Tapes, ball cotton and cotton on reels,
Shoemakers knives, rasps, and assortment of rules,
Italian irons, flat irons and carpenter's tools.
Pictures in gilt and plan frame,
And many other articles to numerous to name.
To enumerate all that's sold by this general trader
Would exhaust the patience of writer and reader.

Anne died in 1858.  Less than a year later Stephen married Mary Elizabeth Phipps on October 13, 1859 at St John's Church, Waterloo, Lambeth.

The 1861 census records Stephen and Mary Anne living at 5 Newport Street with their baby daughter.  A son Stephen William was born in 1864 but sadly just two years later Stephen senior died.

Mary took over running the business and in 1881 she employed two men and a boy.  Her last home was at 8 Quarry Road where she died in 1912.

Stephen is buried with both wives and his son in a family plot in Christ Church cemetery, Swindon.

Images - Filtness invoice is published courtesy of Swindon Local Collection visit the website on  The Filtness family memorial is published courtesy of Duncan and Mandy Ball visit their website on

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