1948: Minister of Tobacco

Sep 8 1948 - 'The Reverend Hugh Cuthbertson examines one of the large leaves of a tobacco plant in his garden.'

(c) TopFoto


In 1941, Hugh Sainsbury Cuthbertson had taken up his post as Vicar of Tilty Abbey church, near Great Dunmow, in Essex.  After WWII, tobacco was in short supply and the Rev. Cuthbertson, needing funds for the repair of the church tower, began to offer information on how to grow the crop in return for a 5 shilling donation. 

The enterprise was so successful that not only was the church tower repaired, the Rev. was also able to replace three windows in the church building. 

Rev. Cuthbertson then cultivated tobacco on the land surrounding the vicarage, and founded the Tilty Tobacco Centre and Co-operative.  The curing process takes only two months and it is not affected by climate changes.

Cuthbertson was not alone.  Many British people took up the home growing of tobacco after tthe war.  The minister became president of the National Amateur Tobacco Growers' Association, published a magazine called The Smoker, and co-authored a book on the subject.


  ''It's good too' - The Rev Hugh Cuthbertson samples a pipe of his own tobacco in a curious African native pipe - one of his prize collections.'   (c)  TopFoto

''It's good too' - The Rev Hugh Cuthbertson samples a pipe of his own tobacco in a curious African native pipe - one of his prize collections.'

(c) TopFoto


'The vicar has himself laid down 35 types of tobacco and his association has wrestled from the Chancellor of the Exchequer permission to process leaf for members up to 25 pounds an annum free of excise duty.'

- original caption


'The Vicar inspects his tobacco plants, cutting of which will commence next week. In the background is the vicar's church'

(c) TopFoto



'Mr Cuthbertson is working hard to promote tobacco growing in this country, and with this end in view he has started the Amateur Tobacco Growers' Association of which organisation he is honourable secretary. '

- original caption




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 Text and curation: Amanda Uren



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