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C.T.Skelton Ltd. Octagonal Gouge


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Established Member
12 Mar 2009
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Kent - the Garden of England
A recent resurgence of interest in old tools and in particular, chisels....gave me the new spark to continue cleaning and sharpening my (rather large) collection of bootfair hauls...

Today..whilst sorting through the box...my eye landed on this stunning octagonal boxwood out-cannel gouge...

The handle is virtually unmarked but has attained a beautiful dark patina from age.

The mark foxed me for a few minutes...but with the help of Google...I tracked down first the mark...Goat's Head Brand...and then..the very faint maker's name..just visible:

...one Charles T. Skelton of Sheffield.

I found this:

.....The factory C T Skelton it was founded about 1851 as it celebrated its centenary, I think, in 1951. It was located on an approx 5 acre site in the base of a former quarry at the bottom of Prospect Road at its junction with Gleadless Road, the main entrance archway gate at the end of a short cul-de-sac (Sheaf Bank just off this junction) has since been demolished, along with other bits of the factory and the main forge at the far end of the site. The rest of the Factory building is still standing but has been split up to house independent industrial units and businesses.
The site runs along the bank of the river Sheaf hence the company site was also known as “Sheaf Bank Works”. The Spafford and Johnston factories were located on the other side this river and Railway line where the Halfords, Comet & Dunelm Mills Stores are located today

Skellys manufactured a very wide range of Edge tools: agricultural, building & horticultural, that were exported all over the world including shovels, spades, forks, rakes, hoes, scythes, shears & small garden implements.

Charles had a goatee beard so the company logo was a "Goat's head" and the products were sold under the "Goat Brand" name.

In 1921 the factory suffered a very serious fire, said to have been caused by sparks from passing railway engines igniting the roof of the wood sore & machine shops, destroying a very large section of the factory, said at the time to have been one of the greatest fires to have occurred in peace time in Sheffield. As mentioned elsewhere Skellys also made different forgings for the WW11 effort.

Contrary to other comments Skeltons, a very successful & profitable manufacturer of high quality tools, was sold to Spear & Jackson, a competitor Edge & Garden tool company in about 1959 and was later incorporated into a merger with Eva Industries based in the Midlands which also manufactured Garden & Hand Tools, to form a new division with Thomas Elwell as Spearwell. Sadly it was not a successful merger and by the time it was decided to demerge Spearwell, the Skelton factory had already been closed and its manufacturing facilities dispersed to other factories in the Eva Group by about 1968.
You can see quality in the handle....

....and the steel takes a beautiful edge....

....another mark of quality from a very interesting Sheffield maker.

I will probably be using this little treasure later...and when I do...I can't help thinking of that factory...the history and the great British industry we had...and will have again.

I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did and any further information from our great team of experts would be gratefully received.



Tony Spear

Established Member
6 Apr 2006
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Hinton Waldrist
jimi43":1e93qhk6 said:
hope you enjoyed it as much as I did and any further information from our great team of experts would be gratefully received.
Can't help you there Jim, but it is certainly a thing of beauty! 8)