Stanley Pickford's Trunk
Stanley Pickford's Trunk
A rust red painted pine Trunk with the name 'Stanley Pickford, Oldham' painted with an oval to the front.
The trunk has a plinth base with low bracket foot and three iron straps to each upright corner for added strength. There are iron carrying handles to the sides and the lid has an overhanging thumbnail moulding to give a tight fit. The interior of the trunk has a candle box to the left hand side and is painted in green. There is a partial newspaper cutting, discussing a murder case, fixed to the underside of the lid. The lid is strengthened with two battens to the interior allowing the trunk to also be used as a seat. There is a bar running the length of the back to support the lid when open.
Shadow marks of a former use can be seen behind Pickford's name and appear to end in Oldham Troop. Most of the writing that is illegible appears to start with 'TR' and the final word ending in 'RD', possibly for Pickford. It may be that another member of the family had been in the Duke of Lancaster's Own Yeomanry - Oldham Troop which was disbanded in 1908.
It is very likely that the trunk belonged to Stanley Pickford who was born on the 6th August 1890 and baptised on the 24th September of the same year. He joined the 9th Balloon Company of the Royal Flying Corp during the First World War on the 26th December 1916. He was part of the 33 Kite Balloon Section up until June1917 before becoming a Balloon Commander. He spent the whole of his military career as either a Temporary 2nd Lieutenant or a 2nd Lieutenant and part of his time was stationed in Italy.
Balloons were mostly used for observation, to detect the enemy and help direct the artillery. They were obvious targets for fighter pilots who had to be careful how they approached them due to their heavy anchoring cables. This meant that they were mostly attacked from above giving the observer in the basket little opportunity to see the danger. He relied on warnings from below and his parachute to escape danger, so it was a dangerous job.
It's unlikely that Pickford used the trunk whilst in the Royal Flying Corp as you would expect his company details to also be painted on it for quick identification. His family all worked in the Oldham cotton mills. His father was a mill manager and his brother a master cotton doubler. Both were named Charles Henry Pickford. If Stanley also entered the cotton trade on his return from war, it is not known.
The colour of the trunk, both inside and out, has worn over time to a pleasing colour. It was never intended to be the finest piece of furniture but was made for purpose. The marks and wear have added to its character over time but it still servers a practical purpose for storage and would be useful as a coffee table or at the end of a bed. Late 19th Century.
Late 19th Century.
Stanley Pickford, Oldham