Chairman Richard Wright opened the meeting promptly at 1030 a.m. advising of seven apologies.

Under “Initial Notices” the final reminder of the Harrogate Forum “Nostell Priory” trip was given.

Chairman Richard then took a little time to “celebrate” the recent investiture of “The Greatest Living Yorkshireman” Sir Geoffrey Boycott with some recollections of his life, playing and media career including some of his standout and acerbic “bon mots”.

Today’s Speaker saw the return of Mrs Jenny Stacey with her talk “A Sniff of Snuff”. Jenny’s subject , illustrated with slides, focussed on her personal collection of snuff boxes which had been an interest/ hobby of hers since the age of fifteen. She advised us that contrary to popular opinion snuff was taken at one time by all classes of Society from the aristocracy to the working classes including particularly miners. Snuff hit this country at the beginning of the 18th century and a trend was established by King George III’s wife Queen Charlotte (Snuffy Charlotte) and her son George who were takers of snuff. We were shown pictures of the tobacco plant and how it was hung and dried before being ground down to make the snuff. There are still four snuff factories in this country including Kendal and Sheffield. Once ground down flavours can be added to the snuff to meet personal tastes and formal instructions for taking the product had been detailed in twelve points by “How to Take Snuff from John Arlott”. Snuff needs to be kept dry and away from light. Bowls of snuff for public use were at one time available in public places such as theatres and the Houses of Parliament. The product itself is addictive, carries a health warning and its risks can be exacerbated by the addition of various flavours.

The audience was then shown a selection of snuff boxes in various shapes and values , the most expensive being made from gold, silver, porcelain and ceramic with cheaper versions being crafted in wood or papier mache. One quirky holder shown was described as a “Misers” Snuff Box.

At the end of her interesting and enjoyed discourse Jenny took questions and invited members to look at and examine a selection of snuff boxes from her collection.

The Vote of Thanks on behalf of the thirty two attendees was given by Neil Ramshaw.


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