Drew & Sons Tea Basket
Lift the wicker lid on this Edwardian Drew & Sons En Route tea basket and all is beautifully and neatly revealed: a complete travelling picnic set in white enamel, steel and nickel, with handwoven rattan detailing; each and every carefully designed piece deliciously housed and stowed, ready for its travels.
Drew & Sons “As supplied to her majesty the queen” (Queen Mary) were the Rolls Royce of picnic set makers, and were originally based in Piccadilly, London – which is where this set was first retailed. Their picnic sets are rare to find, let alone in such good condition, and are now highly sort after, especially by vintage car enthusiasts; for to have one of these in the trunk in readiness for that roadside stop, completes the true vintage day out.
Inside there is a “Direction for the use of Drews “En Route” tea baskets”. This is conveyed on a vulcanised leatherette board affixed to the lid’s underside, along with an oval brand monogram “Own Drews Make, 33 Piccadilly Circus, London”. Once the lid is lifted, the front pulls down to reveal a handy zinc coated work-station tray, where all things for a picnic can be assembled. Every steel fitting and container bears the Drew & Sons address, verifying its authenticity and originality. The company were keen on this, as they had many imitators - producing inferior products.
The set comprises of the following, and each piece is shown in the attached images:
Pot stand with burner housing, beautiful fabricated in pierced steel, with fold-out handles
Burner, nickel plated, with adjustable wick, nickel plated screw-cap top for travel, and two spare wicks
Fuel canister, for methylated spirit, designed to enable it to pack away for storage by stacking over the burner
Saucepan with lid, nickel plated, with fold-out handles
Kettle with screw lid and spout cap
White enamel square container with slide-over steel lid
White enamel rectangular container fitted inside a steel box with hinged lid
Small steel container of cuboid form with hinged lid
2 white enamel canisters with steel lids (these fit inside the cups for travel)
2 white enamel picnic-for-one trays
2 white enamel cups and saucers, the handles woven with rattan
2 sandwich knives
Height 25cm Length 35.5cm Depth 22cm
Year of manufacture
1900 - 1913
Our set is from Alastair Hendy’s own personal collection; bought in Norfolk about twenty years ago, and this is the first time it has been on the market since then.
Drew and Sons sold 'superior' leather goods and picnic sets from premises at 33 Piccadilly Circus, London, from the 1880's up until 1914 when Mr Drew (senior) died and his sons continued running the business, moved to Regent Street, trading until the mid 1930s. The birth of the motor car saw the advent of the travelling roadside tea and picnic set, and Drew & Sons were leaders in this high-end and very niche market, for only the very wealthy owned a motor car back in 1910.
All-in-all this set is in wonderful condition, considering its 110 years of age, and shows signs of being very well cared for and treasured. It’s rare to find one of these sets, let alone with its original contents, and with its leather carrying straps and handle still intact. The rattan wrapped wire work of the interior is in excellent condition too. There are some minor chips to the enamel and some wear to the nickel plate of the saucepan, as often happens to pans in sets of this age - see image. One of the cube-shaped tins, which would have adjoined the other in the top compartment has gone astray in its century of use – see image. The kettle used with this set is not original to the basket, and does not fit inside (unless the saucepan is removed), and so must have been added at a later point in its history - see image.