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Newsletters 2008 index 


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Volume 9 Number 1 Spring 2008

PCN 35th. Annual General Meeting 16 January 2008
The meeting was held in our well-appointed Smokeasy (knock twice and ask for Ashtray). Apologies were accepted and minutes were read; Chairman Len Ellis, in his report, thanked the members for their support in what has been a traumatic year, with the smoking ban being introduced in July 2007. He also thanked John Betts for all his work in putting together a suitable venue for our meetings. The Secretary produced balance sheets and responded to questions. In the election of officers, the present crew were re-elected en bloc.

Chairman Len Ellis
Vice Chairman Reg Walker
Secretary/Treasurer Keith Garrard
Auditor Frank King Jnr.

The AGM closed at 8.45pm At the January meeting which followed, the usual raffle was held and true to form the Chairman, Vice Chairman and Secretary all won prizes.
An Easy Quiz
Entries to the last two newsletter quizzes have been very low, so here is an easy one that you can all enter. Simply name the Pipeman of the Year.

2.British Prime Minister
3.Alf Garnet
4.John Bartholomew
5.I've started so I'll finish
6.An Inspector Calls
7.Wind-up Radio
10.The Sky at Night

Answers by June Meeting (18th) to: Keith Garrard 18 Florence Road Norwich NR1 4BJ or email keith.garrard@ntlworld.com
PCN Meeting 20 February 2008
The annual Briar smoking competition was held at the Smokeasy using 3grs. of Gawith Hoggarth's Curly Cut in pipes of the competitors' choice. The first one to hold his hand up was Frank Gurney-Smith, closely followed, surprisingly, by Len Ellis who had something blocking his stem, Keith Garrard developed a gurgle and was next to go. When John Walker went out after 49 minutes 50 seconds it left Keith Coleman as the winner. Keith kept puffing and finally recorded a time of 64:40.

According to club records this was Keith's first major win: club records show that he finished a close second in the Briar contest in 1989, fourth in the Norfolk Open in 1993 and second in the 4gr. contest in 2003. As Keith is one of the founder members of the club from way back in 1973 he may remember other victories that were not recorded in the misty archives. The usual raffle was run and, guess what, the Secretary didn't win. Neither did Messrs Elvin and Walker, who paid for their absences with advance purchases of raffle tickets. There's no fools like old fools.
PCN Meeting 19 March 2008
This meeting was held at the Rosary Tavern, smoking allowed in the outdoor area only. After normal club business it was the turn of our good friend Ronnie Bobbin with his famous picture quiz of celebrity pipe smokers. Some wonderful photos included Chris Moyles, Sandy Powell and Clarissa Dixon-Wright. An additional question accompanied each picture, giving a possible total of 56 points. The winner was Keith Garrard with 41, closely followed by Colin Wylie with 40. The winner was presented with a tin of tobacco (see pictures on here). In the absence of the Chairman the Vice Chairman ran the raffle draw but he must have done it wrong as the Secretary failed to win a prize. Do you think that he has lost his touch?
Was it only 32 years ago?
A cutting from the Eastern Evening News dated 21 May 1976 falls out of the folder…..

'Reporters are used to sniffing out facts, but there was no difficulty in scenting the story at the Royal Hotel, Norwich, last night. The pleasant aroma of concentrated pipe smoking drifted from the Acanthus Room, where the regional championships were being staged. Fifteen competitors happily puffed at their briars in a contest in which concentration and effort play no part. The secret is relaxation as the pipe enthusiasts vie to see who can keep four grams of tobacco alight the longest. Ken Palmer saw off all opponents and kept puffing until, with a splutter and a wheeze, the last whisper of smoke drifted from his red-hot pipe after 88 minutes 30 seconds. Ken, who lives in Haddiscoe, entered the contest only after having his arm twisted by his brother, Malcolm- Secretary of the Pipe Club of Norfolk (Sweet Briars).

His last rival, MW Gormer, dropped out after 79 minutes. The smokers are not allowed to relight or refill their pipes during the contest. In spite of his success, Mr Palmer is unlikely to win a place in the Great Britain team to take part in the world pipesmoking championships in Tokyo in November. Times of more than 100 minutes are needed to qualify, according to Charles McConnell, MD of McConnell tobacco company, which along with Charatan was backing the event. Mr McConnell said there were about 100 clubs in Britain with 4000 members. Numbers were boosted by the campaign against cigarettes and their increased prices. He said there seemed to be a bond between pipe smokers, a thread which ran through them all. One thing they had in common last night. As each dropped out of the contest he retreated to another corner- and lit up his pipe!'

The accompanying photograph shows 14 smokers, among whom are Messrs Struthers, Lissiemore, Richardson, Palmer, Walls, Bennett, Coleman and Walker.
Forthcoming Events
Friday 16 May: PCN Annual Dinner at The Rosary Tavern.
Wednesday 21 May: Back by public demand THE BIG K SHOW. Join your ace DJ, The Big K, your host with the most, for a 60's music quiz. At the Rosary.
Wednesday 18 June: To be announced.
Wednesday 16 July: The 2nd. Annual Outdoor Smoking Contest in the Rosary garden. Wear plenty of mosquito repellent under your pac-a-mac
Sunday 27 July: Proposed date for a smoking event.
Volume 9 Number 2 Summer 2008

Tales of Rain and Dumplings
Mr. And Mrs. Secretary arrived in Prague on the Saturday evening and spent Sunday sightseeing. An evening meal of traditional Czech Goulash included bread dumplings and pig fat dumplings and was very filling. Monday, and more sightseeing in the heavy rain. In the afternoon we met up with Honorary PCN member George Kristlik. George took us on a guided tour that included a visit to four pipe shops. The first was a very nice shop called Baker Street; then came Stanislaw Cigar and Pipe shop, where the lady was very knowledgeable, then on to a shop called Sherlock Holmes and finally The Kingdom of the Pipe, which was very small. All shops had a good selection of pipes including Czech made. There were also plenty of Stanwell and Peterson in evidence. I could not find any pipe tobacco that isn't available in England but I did notice plenty of English tobacco from Samuel Gawith.

We were then taken to a bar where the only beer was draught Budvar and very nice it was too, better than that American rubbish. Our next port of call was a bar with a micro brewery where you had the choice of light, dark or mixed beer. We dined here and trying to avoid dumplings. I ordered a Bohemian mixed platter, but I was foiled as it came with bread dumplings and potato dumplings. We then found a bar where we sat and drank, chatted and smoked our pipes. Ah yes I remember those days. An early flight saw us back in non-smoking England by 10 o'clock the next morning.
PCN Meeting 16 April 2008
The April meeting was held at the Smokeasy and was the Annual 4gr. Contest. Louisiana Flake was smoked in pipes of the contestants' choice. The first to go out was Secretary Keith Garrard after a respectable 40 minutes (he was obviously still suffering dumpling-lag). Four people went on to break the hour and when Len Ellis went out after 68:15 it left John Walker as the winner in a time of 74:30. The winner was presented with a BBB pipe and the runner up with a tin of Mick McQuaid. A sociable evening, with beer being shared round.

Keith Coleman brought along a large tin of succulent homemade sausage rolls and Colin Wylie related a tale of pornography at Shippea Hill railway station. The usual raffle was run and, not satisfied with winning the contest, John Walker bagged first prize. The vice chairman also won a prize which is hardly surprising as the tickets were drawn from his magic trilby.
Ted Ray
Edward R.G. Ray was a golfer best known for participating in a play off for the 1913 US Open Championship with Harry Vardon and the winner Francis Ouimet, which was the subject of a Disney movie entitled 'The Greatest Game Ever Played'. Cartoonists usually caricatured him with a niblick in hand and an inseparable pipe clamped between his teeth. But, in 1920 he won the US Open. During the championship he was sporting a long sport coat that flapped in the breeze and a moustache that drooped onto the stem of his ever- present pipe.

Ray won the Open by a single shot, he came to the seventy second hole needing to accomplish a long two-putt to avoid a five way play off. As Ray stood over the first putt, he realised his pipe had gone out. He pulled an old, black pouch from his pocket, refilled his pipe, took several puffs and then two-putted for the title.
PCN Annual Dinner 2008
The annual club dinner was held in the clubroom at the Rosary Tavern, on a chilly night a smoking area had been set up outside complete with coal burning stove. Members tucked into Prawn Cocktails or Ardennes Pate for starters followed by a wonderful homemade Steak and Kidney Pie. Other main courses were a choice of Chicken in White Wine Sauce or Poached Salmon. Most people plumped for a cheese board to follow and a few for Delia Smith's Chocolate Mousse (Norwich City supporters only). This was all washed down with South African Pinotage, this was partly paid for by Reg Walker who had paid in advance for his meal, but his wife had other plans for him that evening. Still we all raised our glasses in a toast to the vice chairman.

Don Warman ate a hearty meal as he had turned up two days early for it and John Betts ate very little as he had forgotten about the event and had already eaten a curry. The secretary ran a free raffle giving everybody a ticket each, the draw was made and would you believe it he won first prize himself (I have a feeling that I've written this before). Our thanks go to Tim and Michele for the excellent food and for making us as comfortable as possible in this non smoking age.
Pipe Smoking Prime Ministers
Britain has had several pipe smoking Prime Ministers the most notable being Harold Wilson, who was made Pipe Smoker of the Year. Others include Stanley Baldwin, famous for his Presbyterian Mixture, Ramsey MacDonald, who sent to America for his tobacco, and Harold McMillan. Sweden's most famous was Carl Bildt, whilst Canada had Pierre Trudeau. Ben Chifley was probably Australia's best loved Prime Minister, a former train driver with a voice like worn out boot leather. He was well aware that his image as the typical bloke next door - he was rarely seen without his tobacco pipe- helped to sell an ambitious raft of post war reconstruction projects to the Australian public.

The Prime Minister of Lithuania Gediminas Kirkilas was recently fined for smoking his pipe in a public place. After enjoying a puff of Latikia mixture in a bar in the Baltic seaport town of Klaipeda, he apologised to the owner saying "I simply forgot that we can no longer smoke inside bars". Smoking in public places has been banned in Lithuania since January 2007.
PCN Meeting 21 May 2008
The secretary presented his "Big K Show", a 60's music quiz. 45rpm vinyl records were played on a record player, this included several well known artists such as Ray Charles and Chuck Berry and a few not so well known like The Countrymen and Cupid's Inspiration, 44 points were up for grabs and in a low scoring contest John Eason was the winner with a massive total of 13. He was presented with a pipe carrying case. The raffle was drawn and the first three out of the hat were the secretary's shop manager, the secretary's accountant and of course the secretary himself.
PCN Meeting 18 June 2008
During club business John Elvin thanked the membership for their gift on the event of his retirement as manager of Churchills. John has been in the tobacco retail trade for 50 years and has served the pipe club members since the club was formed way back in 1973. The evening was a tobacco sampling, so we sat outside on a cool and very breezy evening and sampled American pipe tobacco kindly sent to us by Rich Gottleib who runs a website called 4 Noggins.(www.4noggins.com) There was a broken flake and a mixture of which the flake seemed to be the most popular.

There were also 2 new tobaccos from Henri Wintermans, a Black Virginia and Peach Brandy. Unfortunately the club tobacco jar, which we inherited from the now defunct Colchester Pipe Club, was left outside and the wind blew the table over and the jar was smashed into thousands of pieces, the contents which have been found as far away as Great Yarmouth.
Forthcoming Events
Wednesday 16 July: Our second ever outdoor contest in the Rosary garden. Can anyone beat Frank King's record?
Wednesday 20 August: An auction evening at the Rosary. Bring along your unwanted items- preferably, but not necessarily, smoking related.
Sunday 24 August: PCN annual bowls day at the Sheringham Morley Club. Bowls start at 2pm and there will be a buffet afterwards.
Wednesday 17 September: Quiz evening at the Rosary, picture round, connections, this weeks news, spot prizes. Please bring your brain with you.
Wednesday 15 October: The annual clay pipe smoking contest at the Smokeasy.
Easy Quiz
The quiz was made very easy in the Spring newsletter to attract more entries.
The answers were -
1. Rupert Davis
2. Harold Wilson
3. Warren Mitchell
4. Eric Morecambe
5. Magnus Magnusson
6. J.B. Priestley
7. Trevor Baylis
8. Stephen Fry
9. Rod Hull
10. Patrick Moore

Two members sent in entries (what happened to all the others?). They were both all correct. Well done to Reg Walker and Keith Coleman.
Volume 9 Number 3 Autumn 2008

PCN Meeting 16 July 2008
This meeting was our second annual outdoor pipe smoking contest. A pleasant and windless evening meant the possibility of good times being recorded. Unlike last year, not one mosquito was to be seen (or felt). 3 grammes of Kentucky Nougat was smoked in pipes of the contestants' choice, and John Elvin kept up his record of "wooden spoon" wins and was first out after 24:30. Two members went on to break the hour: Reg Walker finished second in 69:30 leaving Len Ellis with his first win for a while with 71:50. Unfortunately the Secretary forgot to bring the prizes so these will be presented at the next meeting after he has visited the pound shop. The Vice Chairman was given the task of finding a replacement club tobacco jar to replace the one that got broken. A full report on his progress will appear later.
Outdoor Championship: The Alternative Report
It is some time since I reported on PCN events, but I am happy to note that little has changed since I last set finger to Apple Mac. This year's outdoor championship, held in the spacious and balmy gardens of the Rosary Tavern, produced the same conditions as most of the Club's events. That is to say, a strong, gusty wind was blowing in the corner where I was sat- independently verified by a recently retired member of Churchill's (the sound of axes being ground and scores being settled is entirely in your imagination. Ed.) whilst committee members sat in sun-dappled tranquillity in the area especially reserved for them. To compensate for this, the amount of tobacco in the unsealed wrappers seemed to vary enormously.

While some competitors had more tobacco than their pipes could hold, others of us had a measly amount of sweepings and dust to smoke. No prizes for guessing into which category my allocation fell. No surprise, then, that the eventual winner and the runner-up were both committee members. One of them (the winner) is the only person ever known to have bought the mixture smoked from Churchill's or anywhere else. Leaving aside the question of insider information, I have to say that it is most un-British of anyone to practice before a sporting contest and I hope that it is not something that will become the norm. perhaps we need to start drug tests. On second thoughts, no, as I have blood thinners, blood pressure tablets, and that blue tablet my wife keeps giving me in my system.

Back to the night in question. To add to the fun, those of us with flavoursome flesh were beset by biting insects as in years previous, and one of us of a more robust build (me, since you ask) nearly had a You've Been Framed moment with a white plastic chair. Luckily only one arm was broken. The chair's.

Anyway, the raffle saved the evening with two well-deserved prizes coming my way. And what a selection of goodies I acquired: two balloon-powered racing cars; toffee and chocolate Brazil nuts; pipe cleaners; matches; coloured markers; stickers (Dora Explorer); mini-cigars; tobacco. While smoking the last two items I came up with some ideas for evenings that would introduce more variety into our activities and would foil the professionals among us. Accordingly the revised programme for future Club Nights will be:
August: A speed-eating contest (toffee and chocolate nuts... in memory of Isaac Hayes).
September: Balloon Car Grand Prix.
October: Craft night. Prizes for the best model made from pipe cleaners and matches, decorated with stickers and using coloured markers.

Please step over the dead body of the Hon. Sec. as you enter the pub.
PCN Meeting 20 August 2008
The Secretary was unavailable for the start of the Auction Night so it was left to Vice Chairman Walker to act as auctioneer, and a very good job he did getting people to part with hard earned cash during the "credit crunch". A lot of old rubbish was sold as well as some very interesting articles. One member has been reported to the RSPB for trying to split up a pair of swans- as you know, swans mate for life. Anyway, a grand total of £56.70 was raised on the night and we look forward to the same old rubbish being recycled next year.

Our Alternative Correspondent has been busy, for a change, and offers this further report:

'I have only once before attended an Annual Auction, and on that occasion having failed to obtain the slave-girl of my dreams, I satisfied myself with buying a pipe rack and a pipe, whose price I recall, was pushed through the roof by another bidder, who turned out to be the person who had put the pipe in the auction in the first place. The things some people will do to boost club funds!

So on this occasion, aware of the fact that my smoking corner in the garage is almost full to bursting, I was determined to bid selectively and with discretion. Others were not so restrained and time and again I was outbid by two members whom I suspect to have come up on Euromillions. But still I was able to obtain another much-needed pipe rack, and at the death, a pewter pipe rest, which had obviously not seen the light of day for many a long year.

Pleased with my purchases, I returned home, and after my wife had retired for the night, I took them out and decided to give the pipe rest a much-needed clean-up. Lo and behold! As soon as the duster touched the pewter there was a loud bang. ('What are you up to?' From upstairs) and a large Genie appeared before me and said that he would grant me three wishes, and that these would be fulfilled in due course (no date specified, of course). So the wishes were made, the Genie went off I know not where, leaving me in a state of eager anticipation.

Whether the wishes will be fulfilled, or whether I get a letter from Nigeria saying that they will be carried out once I have put several thousands into a Swiss Bank Account remains to be seen. Meanwhile, I hope that:
i.A new name will shortly be added to the list of Club Champions;
ii.That a recently-defunct South London pie maker will re-open for business (the one whose sausages were eaten by Michael Caine as well as by me);
iii.That scientists will develop a hearing-aid that will stimulate the brain in such a way that you are enabled to make the right responses to questions from your wife without having to admit that you were not paying attention to what she has been saying for the last five minutes.

Time alone will tell.'
PCN Annual Bowls Tournament 24 August 2008
As typical of the British summer it poured with rain all morning. The Secretary's party had a hasty meeting and decided it was too wet to travel to Sheringham; others did make the journey but never made the venue. Three intrepid bowlers did turn up and the weather cleared up. The following report comes from one of those.

'The Secretary has summed up the confusion admirably. However, the day was nothing but a success for those three (Larner, Coleman and Walker) who scorned the weather and made it to the excellent Morley Club in Sheringham at the appointed hour. Shoes were fitted, bowls were produced, and out came the sun. With the help of the very friendly club members, and visitors from Nottingham and places North, sixteen Bowlers of very varied degrees of expertise enjoyed two hours of getting the big brown ones as close to the little white one as was decent. Who knows who won, and who cares, given the excellent bar and a most sumptuous buffet. All credit, and thanks, to the staff and members of the Morley Club.

I very much hope that they will have us back in 2009, by which time we promise to get ourselves organised.'
PCN Meeting 17 September 2008
The secretary compiled a General Knowledge quiz for this meeting which included a picture round, two general rounds, a round called "This week's news" and a very devious connections round. After a close fought contest John Eason and Frank King Jnr. were declared joint winners. Norwich City had changed their fixture from the Tuesday to Wednesday which made parking a bit difficult but everyone managed, you would think Delia would have the courtesy to ask the Pipe Club's permission first.
Forthcoming Events
Wednesday 15 October The annual clay pipe smoking competition at Smoky Plantation.
Wednesday 12 November The annual darts tournament at The Rosary Tavern
Wednesday 19 November Cheese and pickle night at the Rosary Tavern, feel free to bring some obnoxious pickles
Wednesday 17 December Put on your funny hat its Christmas draw and party night. Free grub!!!
Wednesday 21 January The annual general meeting.
Pipe Club of Norfolk Newsletter Volume 9 Number 4 Winter 2008

PCN Meeting 15 October 2008
The annual Clay Pipe smoking contest was held at 'Smoky Plantation' and what a wonderful job John has done to make us comfortable. On a chilly October evening the venue was warm and comfortable; KJ brought along his wonderful home-made sausage rolls which were washed down with pints of Landlord and Hobgoblin. 3grs. of Glengary Flake was smoked in clays of various shapes and sizes. The first to raise aloft his expired pipe was Frank Gurney-Smith after 25:05; three contestants went on to break the hour- John Betts making 60:20, Tony Larner produced a smokeless pipe from his magician's handkerchief after 65:30, leaving John Walker to romp to victory with a time of 66:50. Tony was presented with a tin of flake and the winner received a Hardcastle Churchwarden. It is a pity a few more members don't make the effort to turn up for our contests in this excellent venue.
Stop Press: Shameful Behaviour at Smoking Contest
15 October 2008 was the date of the annual clay pipe smoking contest; for many the original and best. One by one a selection of the finest competition smokers in the East took their places at the alternative venue 'somewhere in Norwich.'

Preliminaries out of the way, we settled down to enjoy an hour or so of fair and friendly competition, but oh, how our hopes were to be dashed. Had we been more prescient, suspicions would have been raised by the request that the Chairman explain, in some detail, the rules governing the contest. For no sooner had we lit up than the strange events began. One of our number, from the north of the county, whipped out a handkerchief- not to mop his brow, which would have been understandable in the tropical heat of the stadium, but instead to wrap around the pipe bowl, effectively concealing it from prying eyes. And then, blow me if he didn't produce from about his person a selection of implements with which he proceeded to poke, prod, jiggle and caress the allegedly glowing embers. We could only look on aghast at this chicanery. Is this, we wondered, normal behaviour in accountancy circles? Naturally, being gentlemen, we eschewed comment.

One by one, smokers using traditional methods fell by the wayside while the member using the handkerchief-chasing technique went serenely on. It is regrettable, though not surprising, that someone else would succumb to the temptation to ape this dubious yet successful system and suffice it to say that these two 'worthies' eventually took the first two places and the associated valuable prizes.

I shall say no more about this shameful episode; readers, fair and percipient persons that they are, may draw their own conclusions, but anyone hoping to win this contest next year will need to remember their handkerchiefs and tool kit.

Article submitted by Honest Smoker. Pictorial evidence on website www.pipeclubofnorfolk.co.uk
PCN Annual Darts Tournament 12 November 2008
The annual dart hurling contest took place at the Rosary Tavern and the usual standard was evident (rubbish mainly). This is being written by someone who didn't win a game. After everyone had played four games two players had tied for the lead.

Yes, the Grand Final between Frank King and Reg Walker... and what an exciting final it was with Reg just sneaking it on the doubles. Double one, of course. We had to keep the audience interested. Just how many bottles were thrown from the bar will never be known. The arrows that the winner was using were most unusual, apparently a family heirloom. Several of the professionals from the Rosary dart team tried to throw these and not one of them could throw them straight.

After an emergency committee meeting it has been decided that an independent body will inspect the contestants' weapons before the match next year. The winner was presented with a tin of high quality pipe tobacco, as was Frank King for the highest score of the evening. The evening was finished of with most welcome sandwiches and sausage rolls, and KJ Coleman was rightly credited for his superb organisational abilities. He is indeed the Harry Redknapp of the PCN Sports Section.
PCN Meeting 19 November 2008
A good turnout for the cheese and pickle evening (could be down to the free food), Norwich market's cheese lady once again did us proud with a fine selection. These included a rather grey looking goat's cheese, Shropshire Blue, Camembert with Calvados and Leydon with Cumin. Pickles included onions, spiced gherkins and pickled chillies, after we had all witnessed JW producing smoke from his ears most people decided to avoid the last mentioned fare. After a good feed and a mardle members went home to dream about winning the Christmas Draw.
PCN Meeting 17 December 2008
John Betts was presented with a small gift in recognition of the work he has put into 'The Smokeasy' and landlady Michelle was given a Christmas gift. There were over 50 prizes in the Christmas draw, which were shared out fairly evenly among the members, with perhaps the Secretary and Chairman winning the most (no change there). A seasonal buffet was enjoyed, and what a wonderful spread it was.
A Few British Pipe Makers
Est. 2007 in Plymouth, Devon by Chris Askwith
William Ashton Taylor. Est. 1983
Est. 1890 Northamptonshire.
Comoy,BBB,GBD,Dr.Plumb Pipes. Southend on Sea
Est.1910 Dunhill Whitespot, Charatan and Parker
L&JS Briars Est.1983
Est. 1978 Tilshead, Wiltshire
American pipe maker, moved to Cornwall in 2006
John Marshall, Great North Road, Barnet
Has stall on Piccadilly Market
Ian Walker Est.1931
Forthcoming Events
Wednesday 18 February: The annual Briar smoking contest at the Smokeasy.

Unfortunately our headquarters at the Rosary Tavern has closed down, at this point we do not know whether this is permanent or not. All future events and venues will be decided at the AGM.
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