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David Higgins - Chairman of the Trustees

David Higgins

David Higgins is an internationally recognised expert in the identification and analysis of clay tobacco pipes, and regularly teaches and lectures on the subject, both in this country and abroad. He prepares specialist reports for many of the large archaeological units as well as government bodies, such as Historic England, and has published more than 350 papers on pipes in local, national and international journals.

He has worked on developing methodologies for the examination and recording of pipes from archaeological assemblages and on techniques for reassembling pipes from large groups. One of his long standing research interests is in the identification of pipemakers’ marks found in England and he is compiling a catalogue of pipe stamps, which already has nearly 32,000 entries in it.

Current research interests include the production of specific pipes styles for the colonial export market, including styles that may have been particularly associated with the slave trade, and a study of William Bragge, FSA. Bragge was a prominent nineteenth century businessman and philanthropist who set out to collect and document the ‘pipes of all peoples’. A significant part of his collection ended up in the British Museum, where it includes many of the finest examples of pipes in their ethnographic collections. He has also been studying late-eighteenth and nineteenth century pipe kiln assemblages from Merseyside, Shropshire and Wiltshire.

Selected publications since 2010

2016, ‘An Old Maths Book and the Hilton Family of Whitby’, Society for Clay Pipe Research Newsletter, 90, 37-53.

2016 (with S. D. White), ‘The Clay Tobacco Pipes’ in C. J. Webster et al, Taunton Castle, Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society, Taunton, 132-140 (360pp).

2015, ‘Bridgnorth, Shropshire’ [giant pipe fragment], in Michael Lewis, ‘Report of the Portable Antiquities Scheme 2014’, Post-Medieval Archaeology, 49/2, 338 and 341-2 (334-346).

2015, ‘Clay Pipes found in the Garden’, in M. Page (ed.), The Reader’s House, Ludlow: The Report of a Comprehensive Study carried out in 2009-2012, privately published, 51-65 (241pp).

2015, ‘Clay Tobacco Pipes’, in Roberta Gilchrist, Cheryl Green, et al, Glastonbury Abbey Archaeological Investigations 1904-79, The Society of Antiquaries of London, 340-342

2015, ‘‘Exotic imports’: an initial assessment of detachable tobacco pipe bowls and other smoking exotica used by the British at home and abroad’, Journal of the Académie Internationale de la Pipe, 6 (for 2014), 15-64.

2014, ‘Clay tobacco-pipe industry’, in R. A. Gregory, et al, Archaeology at the Waterfront – 1: Investigating Liverpool’s Historic Docks, Lancaster Imprints, 23, Oxford Archaeology North, Lancaster, 196-207 (266pp).

2014, ‘Clay Tobacco Pipes from Excavations in Southampton’s French Quarter’, Clay Pipe Research, 3, Society for Clay Pipe Research, Wallasey, 127-161 (iv + 164pp).

2013, ‘Smoking’ in Kevin Colls, William Mitchell, et al, A Cycle of Recession and Recovery AD 1200-1900: Archaeological Investigations at Much Park Street, Coventry, 2007-2010, British Archaeological Reports, British Series 582, Oxford, 86-94 and 331-332 (337pp plus CD).

2013 ‘Gordon Pollock, 1914-2013, Master Pipe Maker and Honorary President of SCPR’, Society for Clay Pipe Research Newsletter83, 2-8.

2013 ‘The Clay Tobacco Pipe Industry in Reading’, in Ben M. Ford, Daniel Poore, Ruth Shaffrey and David R. P. Wilkinson, Under the Oracle: Excavations at The Oracle Shopping Centre Site 1996-8: The Medieval and Post-Medieval Urban Development of the Kennet Floodplain in Reading, Thames Valley Landscapes Monograph No 36, Oxford, 221-235 (313pp), plus accompanying CD-Rom Chapter 9, ‘Clay Tobacco Pipes’ 531-563, Figs 9.24-9.29 and Table 9.14.

2013 ‘Something Special to Smoke: The Use of Moulded Decoration on 17th-Century Clay Tobacco Pipes’, in E. Klingelhofer, A Glorious Empire, Archaeology and the Tudor-Stuart Atlantic World: Essays in Honor of Ivor Noël Hume, Oxbow Books, Oxford and Oakville, 152-168 (194 pp).

2012 ‘Clay Tobacco Pipes’, in L. Ladle, Excavations at Bestwall Quarry, Wareham 1992-2005, Volume 2: The Iron Age and Later Landscape, Dorset Natural History and Archaeological Society Monograph Series, No 20, 180-196.

2012 ‘The D. R. A. Atkinson Collection’, Society for Clay Pipe Research Newsletter82, 47-51.

2012 ‘Two Important London Collections for the National Pipe Archive’, Society for Clay Pipe Research Newsletter81, 47-50.

2012 ‘Clay Tobacco Pipes and Other Pipe-Clay Objects’ in A. C. Towle and J. I. Speakman, ‘A Yeoman Farm in St Helens: Excavations at Big Lea Green Farm, Sutton, 2002’, Journal of the Merseyside Archaeological Society, 14, 80-105 (x plus 1-129).

2012 ‘The Earliest Known Clay Tobacco Pipe Mould’, Post-Medieval Archaeology46/2, 361-366.

2012 ‘The Transmission of Goods and Ideas in the Post-Medieval World – Evidence from the Clay Tobacco Pipe Industry’, in Henrik Harnow, David Cranstone, Paul Belford and Lene Høst-Madsen (eds.), Across the North Sea: Later Historical Archaeology in Britain and Denmark, c. 1500-2000 AD, University Press of Southern Denmark, 209-224 (344 pp).

2011 ‘Clay Tobacco Pipes’, in Richard Brown and Alan Hardy, Trade and Prosperity, War and Poverty: An Archaeological and Historical Investigation into Southampton’s French Quarter, Oxford Archaeology Monograph, 15, Oxford, 199-207 (375 pp), plus specialist download F2.

2011 ‘The Clay Tobacco Pipes’, in Jennifer Lewis, Richard Heawood and Christine Howard-Davies, Bewsey Old Hall, Warrington, Cheshire: Excavations 1977-81 and 1983-5, Lancaster Imprints,17, 161-174 (256 pp).

2011 ‘Clay Tobacco Pipes’, in Jeff Spekeman, David Harthen, Elizabeth Callander and Clare Ahmed, A Beacon on the Past – A Community Archaeology Project at Leasowe Lighthouse, Wirral, National Museums Liverpool, 42-44 (48 pp).

2011 ‘Chapter 12: Clay Tobacco Pipes’, in Malcolm Hislop, Mark Kincey and Gareth Watkins, Tutbury: ‘A Castle Firmly Built’ –Archaeological and Historical Investigations at Tutbury Castle, Staffordshire, Birmingham Archaeology Monograph Series 11, British Archaeological Reports, British Series 546, Oxford, 228-242 (293pp).

2010 ‘Appendix 5: Clay Tobacco Pipes from Excavations at Crediton, Devon’ in John Allan, S. Blackmore and A. Passmore, ‘Archaeological Investigations Around Crediton Parish Church, 1984-2007’, Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society68, 168-179 (113-198).

Editorial roles

Editor and joint editor of The Archaeology of the Clay Tobacco Pipe, Volumes 17 and 18 (2003 and 2004).

Editor for the Académie Internationale de la Pipe (2007-2011).

Currently joint editor of the Journal of the Society for Clay Pipe Research and the Society for Clay Pipe Research Newsletter.

Other roles

Dr Higgins has previously served on various committees, including three years as a council member for the Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology; as secretary and treasurer for the North West Region Medieval Pottery Research Group and as a council member for the Medieval Pottery Research Group.

From 1994-2002 he was also responsible for compiling an annual bibliography of papers on ceramics for publication in Medieval Ceramics.

From 1998-2000 he was a Visiting Fellow in Archaeology at Nene University College, Northampton and since 2004 he has been an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Liverpool.

From 2007-2013 he was an executive board member of the Académie Internationale de la Pipe, a position to which he was re-elected in 2016.

He is currently Chairman of the Society for Clay Pipe Research and general secretary of the Académie Internationale de la Pipe.

Other academic interests

In addition to his work on pipes, he also has a particular interest in historical archaeology and Post-Medieval ceramics.


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