Did you know there was a false teeth factory on Anglers Lane?


Claudius Ash made dentures from precious metals when the alternative was using the teeth of corpses



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A familiar sight: the former factory is now posh flats. Pic: Stephen Emms
Readers may remember our  quiet love or Anglers Lane, the curving bacstreet leading south-west from Nando’s which, in Victorian times, was the haunt of fishermen.

An imposing (and now scrubbed-up) building, once the excellently-named Claudius Ash & Co (Manufacturers of False Teeth), dominates much of the street. Look closely as it’s generally considered an outstanding example of Victorian industrial architecture: note the gabled facade in red brick with terracotta bands, and “sculptural decoration beneath the eaves.”

Claudius Ash was a silversmith who made false teeth from precious metals (for the wealthy, of course) at a time when the alternative was using the teeth of corpses or skeletons.

By 1840 Ash had started to make “mineral teeth” – and it was this hot potato of a business that allowed expansion to Anglers Lane, soon becoming the largest false-teeth factory in Europe.

By 1915, the company was a worldwide presence in 24 cities -and its solely (unmarried) female staff considered it a prestigious place to work.

It only moved away from Kentish Town in 1965 – and the building then served a variety of purposes as offices and studios, most notably perhaps the War Child charity and Brook Lapping, the internationally acclaimed documentary production company.

Now? Flats, of course.

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Read more about Kentish Town’s past in Camden History Society’s Streets Of Kentish Town, available from Owl Bookshop.

 

Article updated Oct 2017


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  • fiona

    Largest false-teeth factory in Europe eh? Short of forming a small, independent state with own cinema, can Kentish Town get any better?

  • John Holdsworth

    Shame the owner of the factory didn’t make false eyes…. he could have been called “I Claudius”

  • Betty Narr

    I worked at Ashes for a short time Iam now 88yrs old I live in the USA it was great to see the pictures