We recently received a whip from Mike Hines, MD for repair. It was a beautiful fifteen foot bullwhip made by Swaine Adney Brigg in the UK and in excellent condition. Along with the whip, he sent us a story on how he discovered it. With his permission, here is the story:
As a youngster growing up in Texas, I had developed a longstanding appreciation of the appeal cast by a skillfully wielded bullwhip. My fascination began with Lash LaRue movies and the marvelous circus wild animal trainer Clyde Beatty in the 1940’s and never waned. Then, in 1952, I saw a movie entitled “Kangaroo” (Peter Lawford, Richard Boone, Maureen O’Hara) filmed in Australia, and it included a long, 5 minute bullwhip fight between Lawford and Boone. I was hooked for good, except I couldn’t find a whip to own that I felt met the standards my dreams demanded.
In the summer of 1955, after my sophomore year in college, a high school classmate and I spent 2 months riding around Europe and England on used motorcycles (and using the accumulated savings account I had started in the 3rd grade for funding my part). Our stay ended in Great Britain (we flew home from Glasgow, Scotland). During our two-day stay in London, we meandered amongst the upscale shops downtown and, quite by chance, into a store specializing in leather goods (another fixation of mine). The company, Swaine Adney Brigg, is appointed as “Whip and Glove Makers” to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The prices were (and still are) quite high and we were “running on empty”…..BUT…..there on display away from the luggage and umbrellas was “The Whip”. I don’t remember the price, but it wasn’t in the category of the other products there.
It was an epiphany; it was, at that moment, THE reason I had crossed the Atlantic Ocean. It became mine and was the single souvenir of my summer in Europe that I brought back (besides the unforgettable memories, of course.) I have promised it to my only grandson, now ten years old, who seems to share my respect for this beautiful example of the whip maker’s craft. I was told by the store representative (they aren’t “Salespersons” in upscale London shops) that it is kangaroo hide, so it is a constant connection with the dream born of my movie going youth and nourished over the decades to this day.
Swaine Adney and Brigg is still in existence, though we don’t see any whips online. However, they do still make the James Bond attaché used in the movie, “From Russia With Love”.
David has two of their whips: a bullwhip and a lion tamer whip.
The Lion Tamer Whip’s handle is 33 inches long, while the thong stretches to 88 inches. Definitely the length needed when facing a lion!
LEARN MORE ABOUT:
Whips and Whipmaking
Braiding Fine Leather
Whips of the West