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Antique Safes/Chatwood Double Patent Safe



I have a Chatwood floor safe that I need to dispose of, and I would like to know if you can tell me anything about it. I can't see any numbers on it, but the brass plate on the front has "Chatwood Double Patent Bolton" on it. It is 2'6" high by 2' wide by 2' deep and is very heavy. I have keys for it. Let me know if you need any further information, but I have attached some photos which may help. Regards, Alan.

Hello Alan,

Thanks for your enquiry. This Chatwood safe dates to circa 1860 to 1890 and this type of safe construction is usually referred to as 'squared cornered'.  Individual mild steel sheets are riveted or screwed to an angle-iron frame to form 4 sides of a box - giving it a very square cornered look.  A back plate is then fixed from the outside and the door hung on the front.  They were primarily intended to protect ledgers from loss by fire and the body is filled with sand, sawdust and alum; a crude fire resistant mix - hence the weight.

Sadly, these old safes have little commercial value as they are too old and obsolete to be used for security purposes.  There are dealers who buy good quality Victorian safes to refurbish to a very high degree, then sell them on as wine cabinets or whatever.  To get a feel for prices and what these refurbished safes look like, log on to eBay and search for 'antique safe'.  They currently fetch about 140.  Ignore the 'buy now' items; they invariably ask too much and seldom sell.

There quite a lot on the Chatwood family history online if you're interested.


Mike Palmer FSyI
Mike Palmer Consultancy  

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Mike Palmer


I earn my living identifying safes and suggesting cash limits for risk advisors and insurance surveyors in the UK. I'm am pleased to comment on safes manufactured in the UK or Mainland Europe but I am unable to accept questions regarding safes made in the USA or elsewhere.


I have been in the UK safe industry for 40 years and have one of the largest archive databases of old safe literature and serial numbers in the country. I started with Chubb in 1960 and became Assistant Manager of their Bank Security Division before moving on to become the Insurance Liaison Manager with the John Tann Group. I became Sales & Marketing Director for Guardian Safes Limited before semi-retiring. I am a Fellow of the Security Institute and ex-Chairman of Eurosafe UK, a trade body representing the interests of UK safe makers and distributors. I now work as a part time consultant.

I am an advisor to the Safe Committee of the Association of Insurance Surveyors, a Fellow of the Security Institute and founding Chairman of Eurosafe UK.

I have had literally scores of articles published in various security trade publications. So far this year I have had 24 features published in various journals including Keyways, Professional Security, Pawnbroker and Safe India. I have published one book, Peckham Boy, the life and times of the world's greatest safe cracker.

No relevant educational credentials.

Awards and Honors
In 1997 I was awarded the annual shield by the Association of Insurance Surveyors for "..outstanding services to crime prevention"

Past/Present Clients
I have represented or been an agent for the John Tann Group (Stratford, Ratner, Dreadnought and Tann safes); Churchill Safes, Chubb Safe Co Ltd, SLS Safes, SMP Safes, Dudley Safes and several others

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