logo - Join me in the 1900s mid C20th
The webmaster, Pat Cryer, as a young child

Cigar smoking
in early to mid 1900s Britain

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Cigars were the privilege of the wealthy and while I was growing up in the 1940s and 1950s I never saw anyone smoking them apart from in films.

Cigar boxes, unopened in original packaging, mid 1900s

Cigar boxes, photographed in the tobacconist shop of Winchester City Museum.


Cigar boxes

Old cigar box, used for storing bits and pieces

Old cigar box, used for storing bits and pieces, photographed at Rughill Steam Fair,

In spite of the high cost of cigars, there must have been a good market for them somewhere because cigar boxes were widely used for storing things in. Perhaps they were effectively indestructible, but as they always seemed to look rather tatty, cigar smoking may have been more common in earlier decades. The boxes were wooden with sliding lids.

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Roll-your-own cigars

Machine for rolling one's own cigars

Machine for rolling one's own cigars. photographed in Winchester City Museum.

I understand from staff at the tobacconist shop at Winchester City Museum that it was possible for people to roll their own cigars. The machine for doing this was quite large - see the photo - compared to the one for rolling one's own cigarettes.

If you can add anything to this page or provide a photo, I would be pleased to hear from you.

Pat Cryer, webmaster



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This website Join me in the 1900s is a contribution to the social history of everyday life in 20th century Britain from the early 1900s to about 1960, seen through personal recollections and illustrations, with the emphasis on what it was like to live in those times.