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Antique Safes/Tatterton Safe


Tatterton safe
Tatterton safe  
I have recently purchased a George Tatterton safe in very rough condition. I am currently cleaning it up and I have contacted a locksmith to see about replacing either the key or the entire lock.
I would be very curious to know it's age if possible, and any other snippets of information about the manufacturer.
I'm guessing because of its condition, it won't be worth much. It was left outside for many years, however the bolts still throw and I love the rust patina on the iron.
Many thanks in advance,

Hi Jon.

Thank you for your enquiry and the picture.  

George Titterton was one of scores of small safe makers that sprang to life in the late Victorian era and disappeared soon after.  This type of construction is referred to as 'square cornered'and dates back to circa 1860 - 1880.  It was made from separate mild steel sheets riveted to an angle iron frame creating sharp corners - hence the name.  The body will have a loose fill, probably of sand and sawdust although I have seen them filled with earth and clinker from the foundry floor.

Safes of this age have no purpose other than decorative as the plates are easily popped open so they should not be used to secure cash, valuables or important documents.  A good locksmith with safe engineering experience should be able to find a suitable lock.

As you say, it won't be worth a great deal but if it was mine I would clean it up, repaint it, polish the brass plate and use it to keep my best malt whisky in.

Good luck,

Mike Palmer FSyI
Mike Palmer Consultancy

Antique Safes

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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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