Lead bag seal, "SH" - help needed

Please tell us a little about your finds and if possible add a few pictures.
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Lead bag seal, "SH" - help needed

Post by Saffron » Thu Jun 01, 2017 1:12 am

OK we all have "those moments" which maybe we should not admit to in public but here goes I will do so (at my age I do not care what people think!)

A couple of days ago I found a lead bag seal with "SH" (or "HS" not a good combination as could be either depending on which way you look at it - typical of my luck!). This rung a bell with me so checked Stuart Elton's great website and found 2 hits -
http://www.bagseals.org/gallery/main.ph ... emId=22231
http://www.bagseals.org/gallery/main.php?g2_itemId=215

But the bad news was that to quote the web site "No product, company or organisation has yet been associated with this seal." This is where the old grey cells very slowly woke up, the reason it "rung a bell" was that I had found a "SH" / "HS" bag seal a couple of months ago and looked it up previously rl; rl;

Having found 2 made me wonder if they might be local and knowing about Healings Mill in Tewkesbury (roughly 15 miles away) I looked up its history -

"Tewkesbury has a history of flour milling spanning many centuries. Monks from Tewkesbury Abbey used to produce flour at a watermill on the Avon, but by far the most substantial mill was just upstream from here at the massive Healings Mill complex, built for Samuel Healing in 1865. It did not start out that big, but bits were added here and there over the years and it grew into a sprawling tangle of different aged buildings. Luckily, the handsome 1865 buildings survive today.

When built, it was considered to be the largest and most modern flour mill in the world, producing 25 sacks of flour an hour in 1892. It has had, in the course of it's history, three means of transport in and out of it. It had road access via a handsome cast-iron bridge, rail access via the Tewkesbury to Upton-upon-Severn railway line, and canal / river barge access via the Avon. Barges were used right up until 1998, as the mill had two barges named Chaceley and Tirley which transported grain to the mill from Avonmouth and Sharpness.

The mill was purchased by Allied Mills in the 1970s, and was completely refurbished and fitted out with brand new machinery. It was in turn taken over by ADM Milling, but in 2006 they announced the closure of the mill and the loss of around 40 jobs. It milled flour for the last time on October 20th, 2006, ending 140 years of milling on that site."



Considering the "SH" (50-50 chance) obviously the Samuel Healing jumped out at me. Although its far from conclusive and could not be considered more than a possibility. The two on Stuarts database were found in the Staffs area and Wiltshire, so Tewkesbury would be roughly 1/2 way between the two.

I have contacted the small museum in Tewkesbury to see if they might be able to assist and will try to do some more local research (and have already become aware of a third "SH" / "HS" seal found within 15 miles of Tewkesbury).

But this is where I need your help. Have any of you ever found a "SH" / "HS" lead bag seal ?. If so could you please say ROUGHLY where (if mainly in the Tewkesbury / North Glos area it would support my theory of "SH" being Samuel Healing), and the letter on the back. I am sure that some of you must of found this bag seal previously so by checking you box of finds / records you might be able to help provide an ID on this one, and therefore help others in the future.

Evan
Edit 14 June, (or "HS"?) removed from subject due to confirmation of which it was when third seal "S.H." found
Last edited by Saffron on Wed Jun 14, 2017 2:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Re: Lead bag seal, "SH" (or "HS"?), - help needed

Post by Koala » Thu Jun 01, 2017 11:59 pm

SH seems to come up a few times. Could it just be a grade of flax ???


Two conflicting possibility

1 page 5 superior and light

Or

2 link SH = Slansky Heidi a type of waste for upholstery I believe ?


I have a feeling its one we will never know for sure
Last edited by Koala on Fri Jun 02, 2017 10:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Lead bag seal, "SH" (or "HS"?), - help needed

Post by Saffron » Fri Jun 02, 2017 12:54 am

Koala thanks for that suggestion, however I do not think this is case.

Following taken from your second link:
"The difference between a Bale seal and a Bag seal.

A bag seal was used to fasten together bags of smallish items like cement, manure, tea, flour, sugar etc. Sugar for example was bagged in a machine which churned out thousands of bags an hour and fastened them together with an identical seal such as "Tate & Lyle Sugar" bag seals..

A bale seal however was used specifically to fasten together huge bales of raw vegetable material such as hemp and flax plants. These seals were applied one at a time by a port inspector and gave unique information like the inspector's name. the post where they worked, the name of the port, the initials of the previous grower/owner or agent, the quality and grade of the flax and the
date it was graded.

Whereas identical bag seals were produced in the 1000's .. the flax seals were an individual item .. actually touched and applied by the inspector who's name is on the seals ..some 200 years ago. with 1000's of different individuals"


So for this to be flax related it would be a bale seal which has a significant amount of information on them. While all 5 I am aware of (2 on Stuart's web site, the 2 I have found and another found by another club member) are all of the same simple design with "SH" (or "HS") on the one side and a single letter (S, P and F seen) on the other, and as such are much more likely to be bag seals.

The fact I have only found 3 bag seals locally and 2 of them are this design (different permissions but in the past might have been the same farm) to me suggests that they are probably local and the 3rd one was also within 15 miles of Tewkesbury. However, I am aware that by asking club members there is a very strong chance that they would be and hence give skewd results - which is why I asked on here if others had found any as this would give potential results from all over the country.

I was hoping that I might get 2 or 3 responses which were again found relatively close to Tewkesbury which would support my theory, but at least I have not had half a dozen from all over the country which would have shot it down!.

Unless the Tewkesbury Museum come back with supporting information I agree that "its one we will never know for sure". With the mill being "When built, it was considered to be the largest and most modern flour mill in the world" I would hope that some more might appear in time and more local ones would hopefully move it from at best a tentative "possible" to a firmer "probable".

So if anybody has not done so could they please check their jar / tin / box of bag seals, it would be much appreciated.

Evan

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Re: Lead bag seal, "SH" (or "HS"?), - help needed

Post by Saffron » Mon Jun 12, 2017 11:47 pm

Today I found another bag seal. Yet again it was an "SH" / "HS", with a "P" on the reverse, so my total of bag seals is now 4 significantly with 3 of them of this pattern.

So I am still thinking it could be Samuel Healing from the mill at Tewkesbury. But thought I would use the find to bump this post in case others have found this seal - I find it hard to believe that only 6 have ever been found and I have managed to get 3 of them.

Evan

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Re: Lead bag seal, "SH" (or "HS"?), - help needed

Post by Steve_T » Tue Jun 13, 2017 12:25 am

Hmmm, I have few saved and stored, will check to see what they are, can't remember atm,

I will update the thread if so when I check them

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Re: Lead bag seal, "SH" (or "HS"?), - help needed

Post by Pastmember01 » Tue Jun 13, 2017 7:19 am

Couple of thoughts:
1. All of the bag seals I've found in Surrey have come from outside the county or from abroad (sugar from France, flour from Eastern Europe). It seems plausible that your seals are local but they could be a product brought in to the area. One of my seals is from an agricultural seed merchant in Cambridgeshire so what might have been going on locally? I presume seals would have been removed and dumped near the point of use.
2. Company archives. A long shot but it might be worth a speculative email to ADM milling or even Allied Mills if they still exist. Some companies keep extensive product archives or they have/recall an employee who new the company history.

Good luck,
Chris

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Re: Lead bag seal, "SH" (or "HS"?), - help needed

Post by Stillburning » Tue Jun 13, 2017 8:29 am

Hi Evan, that is a very interesting post that I missed originally as I have been away - great research into local history ::g

I've had a look through my seals but nothing with "HS" from my small part of Glos, but hopefully if I find one in the future I will remember and let you know.
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Re: Lead bag seal, "SH" CONFIRMED, - help needed

Post by Saffron » Tue Jun 13, 2017 3:24 pm

WVAM wrote:
Tue Jun 13, 2017 7:19 am
Couple of thoughts:
1. All of the bag seals I've found in Surrey have come from outside the county or from abroad (sugar from France, flour from Eastern Europe). It seems plausible that your seals are local but they could be a product brought in to the area. One of my seals is from an agricultural seed merchant in Cambridgeshire so what might have been going on locally? I presume seals would have been removed and dumped near the point of use.
2. Company archives. A long shot but it might be worth a speculative email to ADM milling or even Allied Mills if they still exist. Some companies keep extensive product archives or they have/recall an employee who new the company history.

Good luck,
Chris
Having cleaned the mud off the one I found yesterday I can see it is clearly stamped "S.H."unlike the previous 2 which just had the letters. Its in better condition and looks newer than the previous 2 so this minor design change could be relatively more recent, significanatly the good point about this is that it confirms that the seal is SH and not HS.
So I have doubled my chances of it being Samuel Healing :)


WVAM, thanks for your input.
I fully agree with your comment that it could have come from come from outside the county or from abroad. That was a large part of the reason for the initial post as if others had been found around the north Glos area it would have supported the idea of it being local, and hence possibly Samuel Healing, while if they had been all over the country it would have made this less likely.
FYI my only other bag seal was found in the south west of the county and was HOMCO (Hull Oil Manufacturing Co.) and their factory at Stoneferry just outside Hull was about 200 miles from where I found it.

Thanks for the company archives suggestion, I had not thought about that. I think its an extremely long shot, but you never know so its worth an e-mail.
The comment about "an employee who knew the company history" has given me an idea, a lot of towns have a "days gone by" facebook page, I will see if Tewkesbury does and if so post on there.
I am still waiting to hear from Tewkesbury Museum, but the Tewkesbury local history group could not help.

Without supporting evidence from one of the above I will never get better than a very tentative "chance it might possibly be Samuel Healing". But its been fun researching and I have learnt a bit more about bag and cloth seals and I found the background to the mill fascinating.

Steve_T, Stillburning, many thanks for looking.

Evan
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Re: Lead bag seal, "SH" (or "HS"?), - help needed

Post by Bargeman » Tue Jun 13, 2017 6:46 pm

Very Interesting Evan ::g

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Re: Lead bag seal, "SH" - help needed

Post by Saffron » Wed Jun 14, 2017 2:38 pm

As people say "Its a funny old game".

Who would think a couple of dots on a bag seals could help make a tentative ID and gain a new permission?.

After finding the first "SH" / "HS" seal and doing the research gut instinct said there was a chance it was Samuel Healing, but with only a 50 - 50 chance of which way around the initials were it was little more than wild speculation.

Yet with finding 3 and the third one being "S.H." it significantly increased the chances.

So I sent my information to Stuart Elton who runs the very useful bag seal site and the resulting page is here http://www.bagseals.org/gallery/main.ph ... emId=34748

I had shown the first seal to the lady that owned the 3 acre permission at the time. But as she is not on e-mail (and my printer is still not work) I sent some background on bag seals and the link to her daughter, who I have only met briefly once.
Her response was -
"That’s really interesting. I will print out and show mum when I see her later!
On another note, are you interested in doing some detection around our farmhouse in XXXXXXXX ? XXXXXXXX is also a mediaeval settlement so you might find something of interest? "

Very many thanks for everybodies input on this thread, which has gained me an interesting sounding permission. I know the ID of SH to Samuel Healing is only tentative but gut instinct says its correct and the research has been fun.

Evan

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Re: Lead bag seal, "SH" - help needed

Post by Steve_T » Wed Jun 14, 2017 6:11 pm

Great work Saffron, I've checked my seals & nothing with SH, but will keep in the memory bank.

Nice that its literally led you "up a garden path" but not "up the garden path" so to speak. the research is always interesting, another aside to this fascinating game. Good work and another link to keep handy

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Re: Lead bag seal, "SH" - help needed

Post by Koala » Wed Jun 14, 2017 10:31 pm

It a big jumps from S.H. to Healings Mill (HM). Let alone Samuel Healing (SH). Flour seals normally have the grade of grind on them 0 or 00 or 000

coincidence


I am not saying its not and it one possibility.Just I would need more than just common initials to be fully convinced .

lets hope something new turns up.

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Re: Lead bag seal, "SH" - help needed

Post by Saffron » Thu Jun 15, 2017 2:19 am

Koala wrote:
Wed Jun 14, 2017 10:31 pm
It a big jumps from S.H. to Healings Mill (HM). Let alone Samuel Healing (SH). Flour seals normally have the grade of grind on them 0 or 00 or 000

coincidence


I am not saying its not and it one possibility.Just I would need more than just common initials to be fully convinced .

lets hope something new turns up.
Koala, in a large part I agree with you hence my final statement in my last post "I know the ID of SH to Samuel Healing is only tentative" and I asked Stuart to ensure that this was reflected on the bag seal web site.

Love your link to the sinking ships in the Menai Strait. But can you please read this related link http://www.oldsaltblog.com/2012/07/the- ... he-legend/ specifically that the Menai Straits are one of the most dagerous waters in the UK and in this period "nearer to 300 ships sunk" .... yet only 3 are mentioned in the video (and one of those sunk on 5th August rather than 5th Dec). But as the link I pointed to says at the end "It is a good sea story all the same."

What looks like a very valid point of yours "It a big jumps from S.H. to Healings Mill (HM). Let alone Samuel Healing (SH)" where you imply that the seals should be "HM" I can easily explain. I have always know it as "Healing's Mill" and that is the only name that I have ever heard it called by. However, the actual company name (which I believe is what would be reflected on the seal) was "Samuel Healing & Sons" from at least 1870 to 1933 (and I suspect but have not checked right up until it was sold in the 1970s). On reflection I should ask Stuart to put this on the bag seals web site.

When I found the first I had no idea and checked Stuart's site for both SH and HS and seeing the 2 (Staffs and Wilts) but no identification I left it at that. It was only when I found the second that I tried to dig (no pun intended) deeper and hit on the Samuel Healing name. I then posted on here, and afterwards LGD Facebook page, to see if others had been found - thinking if some had been found around north Glos it would give a bit of support to the idea but being prepared for a grouping in another part of the country that would have disproved the idea. The only other one I have become aware of was about 10 miles from Tewkesbury. As WVAM rightly says "it could have come from come from outside the county or from abroad", and I have found one 200 miles from its home, but I think 4 in the same general area leans towards it being local - but certainly does not prove it is local.

It was not even until I found the 3rd "S.H." that I was able to determine which way the initials should have been read and became slightly more hopeful that it was Samuel Healing.

You said "I would need more than just common initials to be fully convinced." As I said its only a tentative ID and just like you I want more then just the initials to be convinced. I am still trying to get further evidence locally. But maybe somebody will see this thread, the LGD post, or the bag seal site and say "That is wrong" and give firm evidence to show its another company from miles away .... if so expect some muttering from this direction - but I would rather be proved wrong than to think I was correct when in fact I was not.

Evan

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Re: Lead bag seal, "SH" - help needed

Post by Saffron » Thu Jun 15, 2017 2:57 am

Koala said "Flour seals normally have the grade of grind on them 0 or 00 or 000", this was something new to me, hence lack of reply to it in my post above. rl;

Having done a quick look on the net I do not really have a response. The 6 SH seals all have one of S, F, P on the reverse at a wild stab in the dark might it be that this is the mills own system and means something like Standard, Fine, Premier which equate to 0, 00, 000 ?????

So my question now is has anybody seen any of these letters on the reverse of seals known to belong to a flour mill?. Or for a full picture any of these on any seal, or anything else apart from 0, 00, 000 on flour seals?.

Evan

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Re: Lead bag seal, "SH" - help needed

Post by Pastmember01 » Thu Jun 15, 2017 7:37 am

If you go on the seal database http://www.bagseals.org/ and put "flour" in the search term there are 238 hits - I think I've just planned your morning ::g

Chris

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Re: Lead bag seal, "SH" - help needed

Post by Koala » Thu Jun 15, 2017 7:40 am

Link on the Menai Strait was just a bit of fun. Been on TV at least twice. One was on Coast the other was a maths program when talking about probability.

The seals are an Interesting little problem

Even the early ones have much more information written on them.

Again a bit of fun. Playing around with S,P and F.
Seed, Poison and Fertilizer

There just not enough information for an easy search.

Pity a lot of this information has been lost in a couple of generation. Same with bell foundries and lead tokens.
Last edited by Koala on Thu Jun 15, 2017 12:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Lead bag seal, "SH" - help needed

Post by Koala » Thu Jun 15, 2017 12:30 pm

Looking back at the post above and though your design looked a bit tokenish ?

They often have two letters on one side and one or two on the other

Just by chance 3 turned up on the database with SH

Just for fun sun protection factor (SPF) or

Shilling, penny and farthing

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Re: Lead bag seal, "SH" - help needed

Post by Saffron » Thu Jun 15, 2017 4:37 pm

WVAM wrote:
Thu Jun 15, 2017 7:37 am
If you go on the seal database http://www.bagseals.org/ and put "flour" in the search term there are 238 hits - I think I've just planned your morning ::g

Chris
Now why didn't I think of that :-/ rl;

With 238 hits I think its a wet day or evening job rather than morning. But I definately will have a look.

Evan

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Re: Lead bag seal, "SH" - help needed

Post by Saffron » Thu Jun 15, 2017 5:15 pm

Reply to Koala's two posts above that I have hacked around.

"Link on the Menai Strait was just a bit of fun. Been on TV at least twice. One was on Coast the other was a maths program when talking about probability."

I had not seen it, and it did sound a massive coincidence, but it was only when you looked at the time span and knowing that the Menai Straits were so dangerous that you realise the large number of ships that had sunk, and also Hugh Williams was such a common name in that area that it started to unwind.

This is what worries me about the SH seals. I have found 3 on two different permissions which suggest they might be local, but it could be that when they were lost they might have been one and the farmer had a relation with initials SH 100 miles away and always bought from him?.


"The seals are an Interesting little problem"

I think so, and Koala must as well by trying to shoot my ideas down - which is good as it provides checks and a balanced view. ::g


"Even the early ones have much more information written on them."
"There just not enough information for an easy search."
"Pity a lot of this information has been lost in a couple of generation. Same with bell foundries and lead tokens."

Lack of information on them is a pain, and certainly means without supporting evidence we will never know for sure. I fully agree about the way information is lost in such a relatively short tiime frame, and sadly I see this continuing and possibly more so. As an example my village was one large estate until sold up to pay death duties in 1951, at which time most of the families in the village would have lived here for several generations, yet now there are only 3 of us where our families were here when the estate was sold so most of the local knowledge has been lost.


"Looking back at the post above and though your design looked a bit tokenish ?
They often have two letters on one side and one or two on the other"

I see where you are coming from here, but shooting this down as on all 3 you can clearly see how they have been folded over and where the string went through them.


"Again a bit of fun. Playing around with S,P and F.
Seed, Poison and Fertilizer
Shilling, penny and farthing
Just for fun sun protection factor (SPF)"

Hopefully a company selling Seed, Poison and Fertilizer had better ways of telling them apart than bag seals. :)
Shilling, penny and farthing did make me think in case I could make the F (farthing) into something else as I can not imagine a bag seal on something costing only a farthing.
Just for fun sun protection factor (SPF) :)) I like this idea as for it to work the person has to buy 3 bags, one of each and mix it themself, what a fantastic sales idea =)) =))

Who knows?

Evan
PS: Do not expect many posts from me for the next couple of days .... as will be tied up looking at 238 bag seals on Stuarts site.
PPS: Did I really say "I will be tied up" on a thread about bag seals ;;z

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Re: Lead bag seal, "SH" - help needed

Post by Saffron » Fri Jun 16, 2017 4:19 am

Saffron wrote:
Thu Jun 15, 2017 4:37 pm
WVAM wrote:
Thu Jun 15, 2017 7:37 am
If you go on the seal database http://www.bagseals.org/ and put "flour" in the search term there are 238 hits - I think I've just planned your morning ::g

Chris
Now why didn't I think of that :-/ rl;

With 238 hits I think its a wet day or evening job rather than morning. But I definately will have a look.

Evan
Cheers WVAM, it proved a worth while exercise.

Koala said "Flour seals normally have the grade of grind on them 0 or 00 or 000", which was something new to me. Having looked at the flour bag seals the vast bulk, but not all, of the ones with 0 or 00 or 000 were from continental europe rather than English. Therefore the fact that the SH seals have F, P, S rather than 0, 00 or 000 did not worry me


I found the four E. Marriage & Son Flour Seals very interesting as they only had a single letter within a circle on the reverse and two of these were "S" !!. Some other flour seals just had the word "Super" or "Superfine" and its probable that the "S" equates to Superfine.

Of the simpler seals the five Belbens, Poole, seals were also interesting as 4 had just the word "Fines" on the reverse and the other the word "Pastry". Following are extracts from text relating to these -
"Fines are used in the brewing industry but it is also used to refer to milled flour."
"The word PASTRY is found on this seal in the same position as FINES is found on all others of this type so far recorded"
"I believe the terms 'pastry' and 'fines' do refer to different types of flour."

One seal just had "H&B" on the front and the word "Plain" on the reverse.

So assuming that equating "S" to "Superfine" on the E.Marriage seal is correct, then using the same method for the Belbens seals "F" would equate to "Fines" and "P" to "Pastry" (or if using the H&B seal "Plain").
This would therefore give valid explanations involving flour milling for the reverse of the "SH" seals. Again only possibilities and far from certain.


Yet again it proved interesting doing the research and I learnt something.
On a positive it did not shoot my theory down. However, it did not prove it either, but it did give possible explanations for the reverse of the seals connecting them to flour milling which could tie in with Samuel Healing and his mill.

Evan

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Re: Lead bag seal, "SH" - help needed

Post by Saffron » Wed Oct 03, 2018 8:07 pm

Unashamedly giving this a bump, as the other day I passed by the old Healings Mill in Tewkesbury and thought about this and wondered if with well over a year having passed and new members if anybody had found any other lead bag seals with "SH" on them.

So if anybody has found a lead bag seal with "SH" it would be very much appreciated if they could post on here roughly where it was found and what was on the reverse.
Many thanks in advance.

Evan

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Re: Lead bag seal, "SH" - help needed

Post by Lowland » Wed Oct 03, 2018 8:24 pm

Going to have a look...
I need a drink and maybe a fag after reading the thread.
Brilliant
::g
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Re: Lead bag seal, "SH" - help needed

Post by Andy_Hawkins » Sat Nov 16, 2019 4:15 pm

Just found a lead seal with SH on one side and S on the other.
Found in Gloucestershire between Tewkesbury and Staunton.
Hope this helps.
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Re: Lead bag seal, "SH" - help needed

Post by StuE » Fri Nov 22, 2019 11:42 am

Hi Evan - just seen this thread and wanted to congratulate you on your dedication. Seals with just a couple of initials on are almost impossible to identify without local knowledge. I just wish others would take up the challenge. I'm pretty sure you are right with your identification. Well done
All you want to know about cloth seals :) :- http://www.bagseals.org/gallery/main.php?g2_itemId=31" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Lead bag seal, "SH" - help needed

Post by Saffron » Sat Nov 23, 2019 12:50 am

Andy_Hawkins wrote:
Sat Nov 16, 2019 4:15 pm
Just found a lead seal with SH on one side and S on the other.
Found in Gloucestershire between Tewkesbury and Staunton.
Hope this helps.
Cheers
Andrew
Andrew, many thanks for that information about your find which is again in the right area to tie in with my probably ID.

I hope you enjoyed reading the thread and found the details interesting.

Evan

ps: just noticed that was your first post, welcome to the forum.

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Re: Lead bag seal, "SH" - help needed

Post by Andy_Hawkins » Fri Dec 06, 2019 4:11 pm

SL Seal 2.JPG
SL Seal 1.JPG
Here are images of the seal for your reference.
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Re: Lead bag seal, "SH" - help needed

Post by Saffron » Fri Dec 06, 2019 6:37 pm

Thanks for that Andy.

Exactly the same as all the others with a simple SH on the one side and in this case the S on the other.

Looking at this thread again, (on pc more than normal as a heavy cold is preventing me doing anything else!) I noticed the comment "It a big jumps from S.H. to Healings Mill (HM). Let alone Samuel Healing (SH)."
Although I have always know the mill as "Healings Mill" since that post I have confirmed that the company name was actually "Samuel Healing & Sons", so this does match the SH on the bag seals and makes me more confident about the connection.

Now what would be perfect would be if somebody in Tewkesbury heard about these seals and said "Oh yes my grandfather worked at Healings Mill and had some of these", or a farmer where one was found said "Thats interesting, I will check the old farm records" then a bit after "I checked the old farm records and in the 1890s we bought a lot of flour from Samuel Healings & Son". :D ::g Well I can dream.

There is a lot of information about the mill on line, and some about its own grain barges which brought the grain up the River Severn from Gloucester docks.

But this is the only photograph of Samuel Healing that I have seen (taken about 1890, from catalogue.millsarchive.org)


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