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A Victorian silver-mounted wooden Boot Jack.


An intriguing Victorian silver-mounted wooden Boot Jack, London 1888, the mounts marked for John Batson.

A plaque on the upper side is engraved with ‘Maude‘ and the underside is stamped ‘E. [?] Barrett, Albert Gate, Knightsbridge‘.

The Fox and Bull Inn, which appears to have been pulled down in 1883, at 5, Albert Gate, was managed by John Barrett and his unmarried cousin Jane Gilman, as co-licensees, from about 1881. Born in Suffolk, Barrett had a variety of jobs during his life. He was living at the inn, according to the 1881 census, with his two daughters, Ellen Elizabeth and Amelia Sarah. Amongst his other children was the well known jockey Colin George Barrett [1863-1898].

John Barrett and his wife, Sarah Ann [Godbold], had been divorced in 1869, in which year he was landlord of the Medina Tavern, Seven Sisters Road, Middlesex. Sarah gave, as grounds for the divorce, physical assaults by John as well as his adultery. By the time of the 1871 census, John and his cousin Jane were both living at the Prince of Wales Hotel, Eastbourne Terrace, in Paddington: she working there and he, a boarder, giving his trade as an export merchant.

John died in 1914, having married again in 1893.

The mounts on the boot jack are hallmarked for 1888, which implies that they were applied a few years after the family left Albert Gate.
See: British History Online []:-
‘In 1818 the Fox was acquired by the brewer Thomas Goding and renamed the Fox and Bull. It was rebuilt in 1836, presumably to the designs of Goding’s architect Francis Edwards, its site shifted a little eastwards, as far as the plot would allow, to the bank of the Westbourne, apparently to make way for an extension to the Cannon Brewhouse. The new building, taller and narrower than its predecessor, had only a short existence, being pulled down in 1841 along with the brewery for Thomas Cubitt’s Albert Gate. The ‘Royal Harmonic Hall’ at the Fox and Bull tavern, for which a playbill dated March 1841 survives, was possibly a temporary conversion of part of the brewery during its last days.

Cubitt replaced the building with another on the western, part of the brewery site. This third Fox and Bull — a ‘staring compoed public-house’ as it was brusquely referred to in 1856 — was licensed for public entertainments from the late 1840s to the late 1850s, and survived into the 1880s when it was demolished for the London and County Bank.’

The significance of the name ‘Maude‘ on the engraved plaque remains to be established, as does the stamped name and address on the underside of the jack.

John Batson was a cabinet maker who also made a number of silver-mounted pieces in wood and other materials. He retired in 1892, having brought his two sons into his business.


SKU: O5664 Category:



Good overall but with denting to the two small silver mounts at one end of the jack and wear to the varnished upper surface of the wood.


Length – 30.20 cm.; Width – 8.70 cm.; Weight – 331.30 gms.

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