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Welcome to the National Pipe Archive (NPA)

The National Pipe Archive (NPA) was founded to collect and preserve documentary and archaeological evidence relating to the history and culture of pipe smoking. A publicly available display highlighting the NPA's holdings and research can be seen in the Victoria Gallery and Museum at the University of Liverpool and the NPA's extensive collections can be consulted by prior appointment.

This website has been set up provide a guide to our collections and to make some of the more significant elements of it available online. In particular, these pages are intended to help you with all your pipe related queries and to provide a 'one stop shop' for anyone trying to identify pipes or prepare a report on excavated material. Although the bulk of our holdings relate to the clay tobacco pipe industry, our extensive collections also include pipes made of all materials - briar, porcelain, metal etc. - as well as other tobacco and smoking related ephemera.

So how can we help?

  • Find by location will provide you with an interative map of the British Isles that will tell you what digital resources we currently have available for your chosen area.
  • The How to..... pages will give you lots of useful advice and tips on how to identify, date, and record your pipe(s) and much more. A full copy of the "How To..." guidelines is also available as a downloadable pdf, just click HERE.
  • Our Collections pages will give you a lot more information about what the Archive holds. With these pages you can find out about our archaeological collections, paper archives, briar pipe collections, tobacco and smoking related items as well as material on clay pipes and their production.
  • About us tells you how we came into being and what our aims and objectives are.
  • The News pages will keep you up to date with our recent acquisitions and exhibitions and provides a link to our blog.

Any bona fide student or researcher is most welcome to come and use the NPA, by prior appointment. If you cannot find what you are looking for on our website you can contact us and arrange a visit to view the collections in person by emailing

To go straight to our blog site, which gives you our up-to-date news, just click pipearchive - and don't forget to "follow us" for automatic updates.

Finally, if you would like to support the Archive and help us to maintain this valuable research resource, then please click our donate button. We would be most grateful for any support you can give.

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