"To smoke a pipe is not to be considered as a vice, it is art and a way of life!"

James Upshall and Tilshead pipes, great classics from England

Upshall stamp on the stem   Tilshead stamp on the bottom of shank of a Canadian   Upshall stamp on the shank of long shank Bulldog
Upshall logo           Tilshead stamp on the shank       J.Upshall stamp with "P" and "FH" on the Bulldog
on the stem             of the Canadian

James Upshall is perhaps the most acknowledged English pipe maker together with
Dunhill. Upshall pipes come with no defects, if the briar has any, even the tiniest
sandpit it is going to be stamped as Tilshead. I have a few of Upshalls and Tilsheads,
and I must say it is usually difficult to notice the reason why a certain pipe is
stamped as Tilshead. Every one of these pipes, be they then Upshalls or Tilsheads, are
just wonderful smokers and their classic lines are a pure pleasure for one's eyes.
The main difference between Upshalls and Tilsheads is the "JU" stamp on the stem,
which lacks from Tilsheads.

My most recent Upshalls, four small, Gr. 3, unsmoked smooth pipes from Jan.2002

Canadian and prince
A Canadian and a slightly curved P grade prince

I happened to place my bid on several unsmoked, smooth Gr. 3 pipes, sold straight by
James Upshall Pipes Co itself. I made a good bargain winning these four pipes, two of
which seen above. They are an A grade Canadian and a P grade slightly curved prince,
both smooth and the Canadian without precarbonization.

a billiard and straight prince
A straight S grade billiard and prince

These pipes are both from the S grade with a reddish stain compared with the A and P
graded pipes on the first photo. Also these two are small and delicate pipes. All these
four pipes are made with great care, everything is just perfect. I am 100% satisfied with
my new four Upshalls!

I have not yet smoked any of these as I am presently waiting a tobacco shipment from
McGahey, England. I am going to fill these pipes only with best Virginia flakes. Their size
is just perfect for this type of blends.

A long shank Bulldog from Feb.14.2001

Long shank Bulldog from left
There is lots of briar in this mighty long shank Bulldog

I was lucky to get this great pipe from eBay on $70 even if I did not reach the
reserve bid. The seller was kind enough to e-mail and inform me that he is willing
to sell it on my maximum bid, which happened to be the laughable $70. I placed the
bid being sure that it is all too low, but miracles happen. This pipe is not a virgin,
but it is in excellent condition, and what is most important, it was well cleaned.
Only a little gunk on the back wall of mortise and some insignificant bite marks
on the bit.

Upshall Bulldog from top
A top view from the Upshall. This is a sturdy pipe, but it is relatively

There are some additional letters stamped on the shank: to the left of "J.Upshall"
is a "P" and to the right of it "FH". I do not know what they mean. I guess
that "FH" could perhaps mean "Freehand", but then again, just about anything!
The very same "P" is also stamped on my long shank Apple pictured later on this page.
So perhaps it could refer to the longer than normal shank, which is common to both
of these pipes. This is something I must try to find out later, as well as fill the
Bulldog with some good VA blend in order to find out if it smokes as well as it
looks. I'll be back after a couple of days writing about my impressions, so stay
First smoking experiences
I filled the large bowl half with Dan's Hamborger Veermaster and enjoyed fully of the mellow
smokes. Everything was burnt into light grey ashes without any gurgles. This must be an extra-
ordinary good pipe!

Tilshead bulldog from October 2001

Tilshead straight bulldog from left
A classic bulldog

Again from eBay, where else! The shape of this pipe must be one of the most classic.
It is a smooth bulldog, straight of course. Some people are so strict with their
definition of bulldog, that even a slight bend of the stem means it is a Rhodesian.
To me the difference between Bulldogs and Rhodesians is clear: if the upper part
of the bowl is lower than that below those two grooves.

Tilshead bulldog from the right
Smooth bulldog from the right

First smoking experiences
This time it was the "Bright CR Flake" from Gawith, Hoggarth&Co. The pipe was well
cleaned not only from outisde but also from inside, so I got smokes to which I was
used with my old pipes. Absolutely a great acquaintance! This pipe smokes like the
best of my best. I am sure with Tilsheads one cannnot go wrong!

A bent Tilshead from April 2001

Again from eBay and a great bargain at $66 arrived this smooth, bent Tilshead!
Its grain is very nice and two tiny sandpits, which made it a T. and not an
Upshall are very difficult to find.

Left view from bent Tilshead
I think this as a bargain with less than $70!

Tilshead bent, a top view
Pretty thick walls, aren't they!

Tilshead, a view from right
This pipe passes cleaner test easily and smokes just great!

My first Tilshead from Dec. 2.2000

I had got my first Upshall in February, 2000 from Clive Humm, and I regarded
it as a great bargain, so I became very happy when friend Tapio visited us in
Hämeenlinna Dec. 2. 2000 and presented a nice looking leather pouch to me.
"James Upshall" was written in capital, golden letters on it. Wow!
I found this group 5 smooth, very classic English style Canadian in it. Wasn't
I happy! Suddenly my present to him, a rather old straight sandblasted BBB with
two asterisks (**), began to look like a rather modest pipe. I knew Tapio collects
old BBB's, so I wasn't too terrified, and he seemed quite happy receiving it, too.

First smoking experiences
G,H&Co's Brown Flake was just great in this pipe! Approaching heel I found some
slight bitterness with which I was not used to. Afterwards I cleaned the pipe
thoroughly using Finnish "Dry Vodka" and it did the thing. The second bowl was
just extraordinary great from the start to the end. A great smoker!

Tilshead Canadian
The wonderful Canadian from left

Tilshead Canadian from right
Tilshead Canadian from right

Pretty thick walls, aren't they!

This Tilshead Canadian was not precarbonized, but the first half filled (Gawith,
Hoggarth&Co's "Rum Flake") bowl tasted just great! I used only one cleaner, and
there was not any wood taste or harshness at all. I have now smoked it twice, decent
and it is very difficult to allow it even a rest, so great a smoker it is.

BTW, Tilshead is not a "second" in the ordinary meaning of the term. Upshall pipes
have no sandpits or faults. If some, even tiny sandpits or such are noticed, the pipe
in question is stamped "Tilshead", the usual "JU" logo is left away, but the pipe is
as good a smoker and as good workmanship as any. Furthermore, there is "MADE
BY HAND" stamped on the bottom of shank in addition to the "TILSHEAD ENGLAND"
on top of the shank.

Tapio was lucky to get this Tilshead cheaper than one could suppose because it was
mispelled, i.e. written with two "l's", so the normal procedure of searching the vast
assortment of pipes on eBay did not produce this pipe among the search results. ;)
First smoking experiences
This pipe definately is a keeper! Seldomly have I experienced this smooth puffs with a
pipe which comes with no precarbonization. I am a strong believer in this Canadian
shape. I think that the long briar shank functions as a cooler and ventilator, which
makes the puffs so smooth and clean. I smoked G,H&Co's Brown Flake and it was "apure-
pleasure alltheway" like Mr. Feldman says.

My second Upshall, a smooth Apple/Lovat from Dec.8. 2000

Very soon after the Tilshead pictured above I got a packet from "TJ", at Gus' Smoke Shop,
U.S.A. They emailed that the parcel had been mailed on Saturday and I received it already
next Friday, Dec.8.2000. Very fast delivery indeed, about which I am grateful! Besides,
The pipe was inside a very nice wooden Maduro cigar box. I love it! ;)

First smoking experiences

Smallish Apple/Lovat shaped Upshall
Straight apple bowled Lovat seen from left

Upshall from right
"P" stamped Upshall from the right

A top view of Upshall
Lovat seen from above

I made my bid on eBay for this very nice, well cleaned, almost pristine Upshall hoping the
best but expecting someone to outbid. This did not happen and to my astonishment I remained
the high bidder with little less than $100, which I consider as a good bargain. I suppose
the price did not rise higher because this is not a big pipe. Americans usually prefer
bigger pipes and as this is about Dunhill Group 3, that is why I got it.
It has a small "P" on the shank, which refers to its grade about half way between bottom
and top. I must check this out, as I am not too familiar yet with the Upshall grading.
I have not yet tried this beautiful Apple/Lovat, but its geometry is perfect and the wood
looks excellent, so I have good reason to expect it to turn out a wonderful smoker.

My first Upshall, a sandblasted Bulldog

Having heard so many positive and praising testimonials and comments
on James Upshall pipes I was delighted when getting a message from
Clive Humm informing about that he had been able to acquire a few
of these classic pipes to sell on his site.
These pipes were originally meant to be sold in Germany, so they have a
9 mm bore, which is most usual there. This kind of pipes can be smoked
using the Savinelli balsa stick or with meerschaum filled filter tubes.
I received the shipment February, 28 and the parcel also included some
meerschaum filters and a nice box of "Tordenskjold Pibe tændstikker".
Clive is a great chap and also very considerate to his customers.

Upshall bulldog from left
Sandblasted Upshall straight bulldog seen from left

Upshall from right
Upshall bulldog from right

The offer was very affordable, and like Clive told: "This opportunity cannot
be repeated - when they are gone, they're gone!" I payed only £35!
I cite what Clive writes on his site about Upshalls and their maker:

James Upshall Pipes pipes need no introduction. The quality and excellence
of the golden days of Charatan lives on in these pipes. The company was founded
by a former managing director of Charatan and the pipes are still made the
exacting standards that made Charatan a name to be conjured with.
The pipemaker, Mr Barry Jones, is, in my opinion, one of the best pipemakers in
England today. He is also one of the finest gentlemen you could ever wish to meet.

First smoking experiences
I filled the group 5 sized bowl half full with Escudo and was amazed!
This very lightweight pipe is a great smoker right from the start! There
is a thin precarbonization but it did not taste bad, and the smokes then:
Very mellow puffs and only slight warming near the heel. The taste is not as
dark and nutty as with L.Woods or Dunhills, it resembles more Italian pipes
like Don Carlos or Cavicchi to me.
The bulldog shape narrows from the sides at the bowl bottom on the area where
the typical diamond shank meets the bowl and this makes the pipe burn a little
hot when smoking the last few mm. Yet I am fully happy with this pipe and am
quite sure it will become as one of my favourite smokers.
Thank you very much Clive!

Peter Heeschen from Denmark

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Created February 28, 2000, Updated February 7. 2002