At school, I was the kid who scribbled notes for the kids that didn’t want to do P.T. I’d copy their Mum’s handwriting, usually getting the style from an old shopping list or a note for the Milkman:

‘Please excuse Tommy from PT as the dog has eaten his plimsolls – E. Smith (Mrs).’

And I’ve been scribbling away ever since. Although not, it has to be said, fraudulent notes to the Gym teacher! But I still copy other people’s handwriting.

The first piece of handwriting I copied professionally was on a silver cigarette case. Smokers’ accessories were an engraver’s bread and butter in the 1970’s

On its lid, I inscribed the words ‘Just in Case’ in my customer’s own handwriting. And it was that succinct message that sparked an interest in something that’s become a bit of a speciality for me ever since.

John Dearden Engraver

Today, the handwriting inscriptions I copy can be quite poignant, especially so when the words were originally written by a loved one no longer with us.

Hand engraving is something I love. One day, I can be inscribing a treasured possession like an engagement or wedding ring or perhaps an antique pocket watch. Next, it could be a vintage bottle of Port or a locket. But whatever the item, I always get a buzz engraving something by hand from a blank canvas.

And with the aid of 21st-Century technology, we’re able to engrave fingerprints on items such as signet rings and pendants and engrave company logos and corporate branding on iPads, decanters and glassware.

Another speciality is embellishing perfume bottles with names and monograms at department stores and perfume boutiques throughout the UK for some of the leading olfactory houses, including…

  • L’Oréal
  • Estée Lauder
  • Dior
  • Viktor and Rolf
  • Jo Malone London
  • Parfums de Marly
  • Louis Vuitton
  • Memo Paris

In my spare time, I enjoy running, although I use the term loosely. But running on the hills near my home is a great way to blow away the cobwebs. And with magnificent views, the hills of the Rossendale Valley are a wonderful part of the world in which to do it.

I enjoy family life, East Lancashire Masonry and support the Rossendale branch of the NSPCC.