Last Crack at Summer - 1


English "Blackpool Tower" Novelty Cufflinks with Tangerine Enameling (LEO Design)


Having already experienced a few crisp nights and the shortening days, we realize that Summer won't last much longer. Here are a few ways to "take a last crack" at Summer, before it goes.

Taking a holiday along the seaside become fashionable in England in the late Eighteenth Century.  By the early Nineteenth Century—as one will read in many of Jane Austin's novels—spending "the season" in a coastal resort town might be the highlight of a young person's life (whether dressed in "regimentals" or cotton Empire dresses).  Spending time along the sea (and, perhaps, taking a dip) was considered healthful and refreshing—not to mention, a chance to let one's hair down.

In 1781, Britons of means started visiting Blackpool, England, a seven mile stretch of beach along the Irish Sea.  Eventually, stagecoaches began to run from the nearby industrial cities of Liverpool and Manchester, though it would remain too expensive for working people until after railroad lines were laid in the 1840's.  During the second half of the Nineteenth Century, with British Industrialism in full swing, the beach and boardwalk of Blackpool became a welcome escape from the sweltering cities of Northwest England.  People would "promenade" along the boardwalk and piers, enjoying amusements, bad food, theatrical delights, and, of course, the cool air from the ocean.  The 518 foot tall "Blackpool Tower," built in 1894, became a key attraction.  When built, it was the tallest man-made structure in the whole of the British Empire.

After World War II, when many Britons of means began to spend their summer holidays abroad, Blackpool became increasingly popular with a working class clientele.  The North of England was still an important manufacturing and industrial center, and laborers could afford to take an inexpensive and refreshing holiday not too far from home.

These cufflinks, made in the 1950's, celebrate the namesake tower in Blackpool.  It is enlivened with tangerine enameling and you can learn more about it by clicking on the photo above.


Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well!  Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (

We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques ( or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (

Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only).  917-446-4248