A special commission marking the play, A Haunted Existence

A special commission marking the play, A Haunted Existence


At Wentworth Pewter, we’re always thrilled to work on special commissions for our customers. Often enough, we find that there are remarkable stories behind each of these items. With that in mind, we’d like to share one such tale with you here.

Tom Marshman is an esteemed performer who has been making theatre for more than 20 years. His productions tell real live stories and will frequently have a strong LGBT narrative running through them. He approached us to create bespoke pewter tankards, which carry a strong message. These are to coincide with his latest show, A Haunted Existence, which will be performed on the 29 and 30 November in Bristol.

“I think that the work just looked really beautiful and quite simple as well,” explains Tom, when asked why he chose to work with us at Wentworth Pewter. “In my aesthetic as a performer, I also try and use a simplistic approach.”

Tom Marshman in A Haunted Existence

Tom Marshman in A Haunted Existence, Tobacco Factory Theatres, Bristol

A sobering tale

The show looks closely at the mistreatment of gay men in pre-1967 England; a time in which homosexuality was illegal. The main plot centres on the true tale of 17-year-old, Geoffrey Patrick Williamson, who was travelling on a train between Exeter and Bristol in the early 1950s. During the journey, he struck up conversation with a man in his carriage who happened to be a Railway Officer in plain clothes.

The officer accused Geoffrey of making ‘improper approaches’ on him and he was arrested at the next train stop, Taunton. This one incident sparks off a chain of events with tragic consequences for a number of gay men, as the play will reveal.

Tom Marshman and historian Jennie Sinclair worked together to produce the show, which tells the stories of men who were affected by this event. Tom himself uses projections and vinyl music to give the production a somewhat haunted, ghostly atmosphere. The show gets its name from Lord Owen’s speech about the Wolfenden report, in which he said ‘we are thinking of the men who live a haunted existence.’

Our handcrafted 'Geoffrey mugs'

Our handcrafted ‘Geoffrey’s mugs’

Introducing Geoffrey’s mugs

The tankards, which we handcrafted here at Wentworth Pewter, will be available in bars and restaurants around Bristol. The unique items are affectionately known as ‘Geoffrey’s mugs’ since each is adorned with a chilling quote from the historical figure, Geoffrey Patrick Williamson,“You may find these things morally wrong,” it reads. Tom hopes that the tankards will serve as a small reminder to locals around the city.

“Specifically to younger people that don’t remember because we live in quite an accepting time in lots of ways, and in a lot of ways not” he explains. “It’s a gentle reminder while people are having their drinks that life wasn’t always this simple and that people lived outside of that law. Because they had to.”

We wish Tom and his crew the best of luck!

He will perform A Haunted Existence at Tobacco Factory Theatres in Bristol on 29th and 30th November 2018.  You can buy a ticket here: https://www.tobaccofactorytheatres.com/shows/a-haunted-existence

Order your special commission

We offer an in-house design service for unique pieces and special gifts for events, organisations, businesses and clubs that share our values in heritage and craftsmanship. We’ll go out of our way to deliver something beautiful and individual to mark your occasion.

If you would like any other information about our products, please contact us by phoning: 0114 244 7693 or Email: sales@wentworth-pewter.com

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