Victorian Champion of the Security Trade
George Price - Victorian Champion of the Security Trade
ISBN: 978 0 9564670 0 3
122 A4 size pages, spiral bound between LeatherGrain effect boards.There are 72 illustrations, 54 in colour.
The colour pictures are printed on 120gsm paper with chroma inks for long lasting colour fastness.
About the Book
George Price is a hero amongst 21st century antique lock collectors for his Treatise on Fire and Thief Proof Depositories and Locks and Keys.
Price was an insurance assessor at the time of the Great Exhibition who only began to make safes when the patent for fireproofing became available in 1854. After a series of spectacular public bonfire demonstrations, numbers of eminent people had testified that Milner’s Phoenix safe protected anything stored inside it against even the most intense fire.
Not so, said Price, challenging Milner to stop exaggerating Phoenix’s strength and acknowledge the superiority of Price’s own patented improvements to its design.
He was intensely provoked when Milner took no notice of this and many other challenges.
The first section of the Treatise can be read both as a public crusade for trading standards and a sales pitch for Price’s own safes. The persecution of Price by Milner’s agents continued over half a dozen years, the lowest point being reached in Burnley in 1860 when a child was killed by an exploding safe.
This wonderfully illustrated book, written by Pat Tempest, great granddaughter of George Price, tells the dramatic story of the great Victorian locksmiths and their feuding with each other, the press, the burglarious classes and the general public.
Pat Tempest has also discovered something which George Price probably never knew: the nature of the philanthropic projects preoccupying William Milner and keeeping him from answering his post.
About the Author
Pat Tempest’s father, George Price’s grandson, bought a small file re-cutting works in Wolverhampton in 1939.
It was unchanged since its construction around 1830 - but provided him with a small fortune during the Second World War.
In 1950, he took his five children to live on a rundown smallholding on the Isle of Man where the children ran wild and the small fortune dwindled until there was no choice, after six years, but to return to Wolverhampton.
But Pat ran away and settled in Liverpool.
Before she was 21, Pat had had a dozen menial jobs - four on the island, four in Wolverhampton and the rest in Liverpool – experiences she brought to bear in her studies for a social science degree in her early thirties. From then on writing and involvement in adult education as either a tutor or a student led to an M.A in Creative Writing. Her tutors were enthusiastic about using material from the six books written by George Price and his father as a theme for the 20,000 word final project.
That was twelve years ago, and much research has been carried on since then.
The lucky chance of having lived a few miles from Milner’s Tower in the Isle of Man and worked within a few yards of his Liverpool bases provided the incentive to work out the strange relationship between the Godfather of Port Erin and the ever critical George Price.
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"Pat Tempest has written an excellent book about her great grandfather George Price. It gives the reader a unique insight into the world of Victorian lock and safe making, and brings it all back to life.
At this time, safe technology was in its infancy, and many improvements were being made. There was great competition between the leading manufacturers, many of whom made exaggerated claims about the security of their products.
There were public trials and demonstrations of the latest safes, which were often tested to destruction in front of a large audience.
Pat describes the often fraught relationship between the leading safe makers, and the trials and tribulations of her great grandfather, a perfectionist, who always strived to be one step ahead of the competition.
The book will fascinate anyone who is interested in Victorian locks, safes, or the security industry."
Webmaster of the Wolverhampton History and Heritage Website
"This is another ' must have ' for the lock & safe enthusiast, written by a descendant of George Price the depth of information and detail it contains is a credit to the author. In reading it I have learned details I never knew about the crucial events of the time and an in-depth history of the feud between Price and Milner that resulted in some tragic events.
This together with the personal history of George Price and his family makes for a fascinating document certainly worthy of inclusion in the series of works Brian is bringing to press.
I have no hesitation in recommending its purchase."
"I am very impressed with this most excellent book.
It paints an overall picture of the world during George's life and not just what was going on in the locksmiths' world.
It is an intriguing read."
"Congratulations, there is so much in it, best buy yet, the Milner saga with Price makes a very interesting read and together with the rest of it, a real winner.
The time and research within the book I am sure George himself would be pleased with it."
D.J. Key FMLA.
"I have been eagerly awaiting Pat Tempest's book on George Price and I have really enjoyed it. I know it means a lot to her, as it did also to her late brother, who was also George Price.
Much time has gone into the research, and it shows in the finished work. She should be very proud of what she has achieved.
Brian Morland has done a fantastic job of producing it. The illustrations are of very good quality.
I believe this book will be welcomed by lock collectors and historians alike."
"Written by a descendant of George Price the author has breathed life into the battle between the principal Safe and Lock Manufactures during the Industrial Revolution in England.
Drawing mainly on the three great works written by George Price between 1856 and 1866 the book tells the exciting story of the bitter rivalry between the Safe makers,the
inventiveness of not only the manufacturers, but also their common enemy the Victorian safe-Cracker.
I have no hesitation in recommending this book to all those interested in the history of Locks and Safes,but also to those with an interest in Victorian Intrigue."
"I came to this book as a descendant of William Milner and of Daniel
Ratcliff rather than as a lock or safe enthusiast, so my interest is
really in the characters about whom Pat Tempest has written. I found
the book absolutely fascinating and it has enormously added to my
knowledge. It should appeal to anybody who wants to know more about
these great entrepreneurs and the way in which they built their businesses."
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