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In the interests of hyper authenticity I bought some mid 17th century clay pipe fragments.

Updated: Jan 30

These are often found by “mudlarkers” who search shallow mud banks of the Thames at low tide. The long stems of the pipes usually survive only in many broken pieces, but the bowls can be more intact, as these here. Sitting beside me as I wrote, they were in a way a direct link to the characters and events of Plague Searchers.

Everyone smoked like chimneys during the plague as it was believed that smoking warded off the evil humours that caused the pestilence. A boy at Eton recalled he had his worst floggings ever for refusing to smoke during the plague year.

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