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Nov 25

Parry, of Old Street

Parry 'aux mines de suede"
I was very pleased to find and purchase these wonderful cabinet makers clamps, stamped ‘aux mines de suede, Paris’. The ‘Parry of Old Street’ address was what drew me to them though. I had already heard mention of Parry, when I was reading up for an earlier post of mine about Tyzack, another Hackney resident. Old Street is just round the corner from me, I must go and have a look what inhabits no.329 now.

From the excellent Tyzack.net:

Shoreditch, covered just one square mile. It had grown faster than any other London parish in the first half of the century. Demolition made in the 1860’s, for the rail link between Dalston and Broad Street, ousted many locals. It came within feet of ejecting Samuel. Sanitary conditions began to improve after the Metropolis Management Act of 1855. In 1864 the sewer system was completed.

After Samuel died in 1903, the Tyzack shop by the station remained in his name until 1905. From 1905 the directory records that Edgar renamed the shops as “Samuel Tyzack and Sons”. Edgar had no sons, which was why he tried, unsuccessfully, to adopt my father. Later he saw another chance to continue the family name. He tried to get Cecil Tyzack, his older step-brother’s son, into the business, but they argued and fell out. As a result, about 1936, Cecil started yet another Tyzack tool company, which still exists at Nos. 79-81 Kingsland Road. Late in his life Edgar had a daughter Margaret, and the shop by the station continued to trade under the family name until 1987. Parry’s Tools had been a competitor. Parry died and his widow offered the business to Edgar, following Parry’s wish. Edgar bought it and sold his railway site. The two businesses were merged in the smaller premises of Parry’s at No. 329 Old Street. It continues to operate with a smart green sign saying Parry Tyzack. Alas there is no one with the family name now involved.

Parry 'aux mines de suede"
Parry 'aux mines de suede"
What I’m more confused about, is a tool that’s clearly stamped by Parry, but also with the French stamp? Is this a pair of clamps that came from the French factory, and Parry was the seller? Or perhaps they were only stamped to show they belonged to his workshop. Maybe someone can throw some light on that for me. For the time being, these will hang on the wall of my fictional workshop, which I will one day have, when we can afford a house large enough for it!

14 comments

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  1. gary

    Im sure you will get many a reply, Parry was indeed a tool merchant in London,
    The cramps where most definately made by the French company along with many planes and drawknives,
    there are some collectors of their tools.

    I myself will be hoping to see a few replies back to yourself with more information.

  2. Derek Eder

    “Aux mines de Suede” is French for “From the mines of Sweden”, surely referring to Swedish steel. They were a French tool company.

    This site (in German) has a few more details:
    http://www.holzwerken.de/museum/hersteller/auxminesdesuede.phtml

    Similar clamps (but less ornate) are common in Sweden — I love them!

  3. Glyn davies

    My relative was from London and he started off as a cabinet maker. Then later worked for pinewood studios building folm sets. His name was James Francis Henry. Sadly passed away may 2013. As I am a joiner he left me some of his tools. I came across a tennon saw with parry and son ltd. 329 & 333 old street e.c.1 warranted. Thaught I would research it and I found this site. Might be of some use. Or if you had any more info. Thanks. Glyn Davies. .

  4. Gary

    Hi Glyn,

    Thanks for the information. As I understand it, Parry was a tool seller on Old Street, and was actually trading until quite recently, maybe up to the 1970’s, as several people I’ve met remember the place. As for what it looked like, I have no idea. When I have more time I will visit the new Hackney Archives in Dalston and try to find some photographs.

  5. David Charlesworth

    I trained in 1971 and visited Parry’s for a number of years afterwards.

    A deep tunnel like shop wit counters on the left hand side.

    Many tools kept in old fashioned wooden drawers,

    David

  6. Gary

    Thanks David, I wish I could find some photographs of the shop somewhere. Big fan of your work, thanks for visiting.

    Gary

  7. mike shealy

    i worked as a joiner just of chatsworth road hackney (elder field road)in the early 1980,s my first bag of tools were bought in the Tyzack shop, my memory is of it being in old street ,just the other day a friend of mine gave me a wooden try plane,seen the parry stamp on the iron blade,and has made me look at other wooden planes i have, to also see the same name parry old street EC1.

    Regards
    Mike

  8. Gary

    Hi Mike,

    I live very close to Chatsworth Road. It’s seen the gentrification of Hackney and sadly lost a lot of
    it’s interest. When we bought a house here seven years ago, first thing we did was go for a walk around
    the streets and we had a drink in ‘The Elderfield’ to calm our nerves and worry about our new mortgage.

    I would love to find some pictures of the Parry shop, I’m not sure where I could find any.

    All the best
    Gary

  9. Bob Whitechurch

    Gary,Stumbled across your message regarding Parrys . I worked at 329 Old Street from 1965 to 1972 and ended up managing the retail side of the shop . knew lots of names of people who worked there and I must say it was probably the best working years of my life !!!!! Now 68 and retired !!!!!
    Best Regards.Bob

  10. Gary

    Bob! So great you found the site, and thanks so much for posting a note. Any chance you might have some pics of the shop I can put up on the blog? I’ve heard so much about Parry’s now, but I arrived in the east end after it was closed. It would be lovely to see some pics if you have any, or if you know anyone who has? I can scan them in and return them. Please let me know if you have any good stories to tell, you can email me on mail@hackneytools.com. Thanks again for getting in touch, we should have a cup of tea sometime!

  11. Elaine Holland

    I have purchased from a car boot today a G Clamp the stamp on it says S Tyzack & Son not Sons address 343 & 345 Old Street Shoreditch ec it looks a lot older than the G Clamp above I wondered if anyone knew how old it is ? There is a couple of more tiny stamps on it one says DCMO Can’t make the rest out , then there’s a circle nothing like the one above its writing of some kind inside around the circle , How much should I be asking for this ?
    Thank you in advance for any info you may have .
    Regards Elaine

  12. Ian

    I worked at Parry’s 1952-1957 The manager was a Mr Gilson tough but fair. I was behind the sales counter but also was involved estimating tool list for export and occasionally packing for dispatch .Joyce Cohen was in the office,went to her wedding she married a Harris(my surname)but not related.very interesting job had to leave due to moving to Essex.

  13. Anonymous

    Sorry for the very late reply. I have a Parry’s woodworking machine catalogue from 1969/1970 that belonged to my late father who was a regular customer. According to the catalogue at this time they had a showroom on Old Street (325-329 & 333) with entrances on both Old Street and Hoxton Square (40). They also had another showroom and their “works” at Biggin Hill in Kent. The catalogue includes a photograph of the Biggin Hill showroom exterior, an interior shot of the “private cinema” and a number of shots from an exhibition held at Olympia. Sadly I have no way to reproduce them here. The catalogue also claims that Parry’s were at the time of writing Britains largest woodworking and machine tool supplier, the main distributed for a variety of well-know tooling manufacturers (Wadkin, Wilson, Harrison etc) as well as the sole agents for “the famous American Black and Decker DeWalt Power Shop range”. I do hope this has been of some interest.

  14. Phil kingdon

    Have bought a beautiful parry and sons sundial saw bench this evening .. in good working order. Even have pamphlet’s from new and hand typed instruction leaflet. This machine cost £24.10.0d new. Am wondering how many of these are left. This one is serial number 2413. Seems possibly to be a very early example. Any thoughts? Phil K.

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