St Dunstans Vat

The Middle House, Mayfield?

Tornado William Fearne Crowther.

St Dunstans Vat (possibly)

This photograph was taken and published by Tornado W. F. Crowther. 

Tornado Crowther was a dispensing and analytical chemist, with a shop in Mayfield High Street. He was born in Leeds in 1858. When the 1891 census was held, he was boarding with his younger brother, Charles Crowther, a tobacconist at Shoreditch, and was already working as a chemist. He married his wife, Mary Clayton, a Londoner, a few months later. The couple briefly settled at Hailsham in Sussex, where their daughter, Catherine Amy Crowther, was born in 1892. By 1895 they had settled in Mayfield. There appear to have been no more children.

Tornado Crowther sold a range of photographic materials at his shop, including glass plates, film and developing solution, as well as his own photographic prints of Mayfield. As a pharmacist, he developed many speciality products such as his “Saponaceous Fairy Bouquet Tooth Powder”, “Fairy Bouquet Perfume”, “Glycerine and Cucumber Hand Lotion” and “Grape Saline Refresher”. Judging from the titles of these products, Mayfield residents must have had quite a passion for personal fragrance and freshness or he was manufacturing products for Fairey Belles!

The Vat was most probably named after St Dunstan’s church in the centre of Mayfield. St Dunstan was the Archbishop of Canterbury between 959 and 988.There has only been one chemist shop in Mayfield from the early 1900’s. The shop is named St Dunstan’s and is opposite the church entrance in the High Street. The only hostelry in the High Street is The Middle House (double click on the photo for a better view) which was converted to a pub in 1926 and this is possibly where Vat meetings were held. Apart from St Dunstan’s church itself, it was probably the only building in Mayfield big enough to hold over 100 froth blowers.