NPA Logo


Find by location

How to......


About Us




Contact Us


All about us

For more than four centuries clay tobacco pipes were produced and consumed as an everyday part of life. It is now realised that their discarded remains provide one of the most powerful means of dating and interpreting archaeological deposits from the Tudor period onwards. Along with other types of pipe made of metal, briar, meerschaum or other materials, they provide an important class of artefact that can be used to help define the emergence and development of social and cultural groups. The study of pipes provides important insights into the artistic, commercial and social aspirations of individuals and communities around the world during the post-medieval period.

The need

A great deal of archaeological and historical research had been carried out into the pipe industry over many decades but:

  • there had been no systematic attempt to collect these publications and research papers in any one place so as to provide a publicly accessible archive and research tool

  • valuable groups of both excavated and collected material were being dispersed through lack of a suitable repository for them.

The aims

The National Pipe Archive (NPA) is a charitable body founded in 1993 and based in the University of Liverpool and employs a comprehensive cataloguing and indexing system that conforms to Museum Documentation Association standards. We have three principal aims:

  • to collect, conserve and maintain a national archive of the tobacco pipe industry and related matters for the benefit of the public, both now and for future generations

  • to promote and encourage the general education of the public in the study of the tobacco pipe industry and related matters

  • to encourage archaeological, historical, sociological and economic research into the subject, by making its collections as widely accessible as possible.

About Us




PDF reader charity copyright