Lonsdale & Dutch
Tinsmiths - Lantern Makers
Edinburgh New Town
The small tinsmiths' workshop of
Lonsdale & Dutch can be found in the heart of the New Town of
Edinburgh, in a cellar off Howe Street, just round the corner from
Great King Street, the home of Edinburgh Photographic Society (EPS)
When I first visited the Lonsdale
& Dutch workshop in 1991, the only occupants were:
tinsmith and also a keen bagpiper
his large black dog.
The workshop looked to me like a
scene from the 1920s, rather than the 1990s. Arthur had worked
there for 40 years. He thought he might retire in about five
years' time. (I last met him at his workshop in 1994.
His workshop was still operating now, in 2004,but Arthur had retired.)
The premises had character. Many
years ago the walls had been whitewashed and his daughters had fixed
old tools around the walls.
Arthur Dutch is now the only worker on the premises. In the
1960s, he employed twelve men, much of their work being metalwork
repairs for motor cars.
father had worked for Moir & Baxter's garage, about a mile away at
Comely Bank. His grandfather had first worked for a large
tinsmith nearby, then moved to the present workshop at Howe Street.
Arthur explained that there was no shortage
of lantern work to be tackled. He was making lanterns to
order, then selling for about £95 each, and had no time to make any
for stock. He told me that he only took on work that he
enjoyed doing, and that he liked people who knew what they wanted.
Thank you to Alex Ellis who wrote:
"I see from your EdinPhoto web
site that you have some photos of Arthur Dutch in his workshop in Howe
I worked in Howe Street for 30
years and supplied Arthur with paint etc. for some of his metal work.
I got to know him fairly well."
"I would have loved to have got
him and his neighbour from upstairs, Sax Shaw, together for an evening or
two of chit chat and story telling.
Arthur and Sax were the type of
people who you could sit and listen to all night long and still come back
Alex Ellis, Edinburgh: October 25, 2014
"I visited Arthur Dutch and photographed him at
work several times in the 1990s. I always found him to be very
welcoming, and good company."
"On just one occasion, in 1991, I went upstairs
with him to meet Sax Shaw, artist, tapestry and stained glass worker.
I took photos of him at work, including this one:
Sax died in 2000, at about the age of 84."
Peter Stubbs, Edinburgh: October 26,
More Memories of Workers around Howe
For more of Alex Ellis's memories of those who worked near him in
and around Howe Street:
- Arthur Dutch, tinsmith
- Sax Shaw, artist
- Willie Heath, motor mechanic
please click on the
thumbnail image below: