Pope’s Pen Corner

It’s amazing how few ripples are left in the pond of the Web a few years after a large company has sunk.


This is the reverse of a guarantee issued in 1934 for a Waterman pen by H. P. Pope Ltd., showing their premises at Pope’s Pen Corner, at the junction of New Street and Lower Temple Street, Birmingham. My apologies for the quality of the reproduction. It’s just a quick snap taken on the bench without additional light.

They were stationers, printers, suppliers of office furniture and typewriters, among many other things. Banners in the windows show advertisements for Swan, Onoto, Eversharp, Waterman and Koh-I-Noor. There are others but they’re too small to read. The post-box near the entrance reads “Onoto The Pen”. We know from Donahaye’s list that they had Conway Stewart make pens for them, including the 100 ink pencil, the 466, the MHR 300M and the MHR 266

The pen that this came with is a black hard rubber Waterman 32 1/2. It seems rather an old pen to have been sold in 1934 but who knows? The guarantee certainly relates to a Waterman. L.G. Sloan of London remained the sole European representatives for Waterman and H. P. Pope acted as a local distributor, giving additional warranty on top of that supplied by Sloan.

The few references I was able to find to Pope’s Pen Corner online included the winding up of the company in 1975. It has been gone for quite a while but it’s still well within living memory. I wonder if anyone reading this remembers it.

If it were possible to journey back in time (and that’s bound to come soon, along with our flying cars, meals-in-a-pill, shiny all-in-one suits and laser guns) I wouldn’t mind spending an afternoon browsing the pen displays in Pope’s Pen Corner in 1934.

5 thoughts on “Pope’s Pen Corner

  1. Your delightful reminiscence about Pope’s brought immediately to mind another shop of its era in London, Marks & Co, the bookstore, which many will recall being the center of Helene Hauff’s delightful book “84, Charing Cross Road”, Marks’ location. I hope any wishing to get a real sense of how it might feel to be in a shop like Pope’s between the years 1949 through the mid-1970’s will not mind too much that Marks & Co were purveyors of books, rather than pens.

    1. Hi Peter,
      There must have been so many of these places once upon a time. My husband remembers the local newsagent in the fifties, with Conway Stewarts (outside his price range!) hanging on a card. If your pen stopped working, perhaps due to a sac failure, you handed it to Miss Leslie (the ferocious maiden lady owner) and collected it for a small fee the next day, working perfectly and looking like new. There must have been a repair man in there somewhere but he was never seen.

      Best Regards,

  2. As a minor ‘p.s.’ to my above post, Marks & Co was founded in 1920, so it truly overlaps the mid-1930 era so nicely captured in your reminiscence of Pope’s.

  3. I have enjoyed your piece on Pope’s – particularly the picture on the receipt. Like you, I found an old brown (broken) pen with Pope’s B’ham on the 14ct nib and was interested to know more. So thank you for your interesting article.

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