Objects Database

Brades Ice Axe

Accession Number


Object Name

Brades Ice Axe




Hermione Cooper

Accession Date


Brief Description

Ice axe with serrated pick and pointed ferrule. Nylon tape attached on a ring which goes through hole on head. Black plastic round new metal shaft.




62 (length of shaft) x 29 ( length of head) cms

Number Of Objects


Inscription Description

"BRADES 1943" and ↑


brown, black,



Object Production Place



Brades seems to have begun life way back in 1782 when a man called William Hunt bought the Brades Estate near Oldbury, Birmingham and started a steelworks there. The company became William Hunt & Son in 1809 though the Brades trade mark remained, quickly gaining a prestigious reputation in the 'edged tool' market, which in the early days included items such as axeheads, hatchets, trowels, spades, garden shears, wood chisels and scythes.
With that kind of expertise it's little wonder that the Ministry of Defence approached them in the 1940's to make ice axes for the various mountain troops who were operating in World War Two. Though we are not 100% sure it's pretty certain that's what happened. It's also interesting to note that the Scottish Regiment known as the Lovat Scouts went to train amid the icefields of the Canadian Rockies in 1943 and were issued with Brades ice axes.
1950's mountaineers relied heavily on ex-army gear as we can see from the advert opposite and it seems likely that Moray Mountaineering Club member, George Main, would have bought this axe back then. As an engineer, George was well known for altering and adapting axes and at some point he has changed the original wooden shaft of this axe for a metal one, giving it a fine plastic sheath in the process. An excellent piece of engineering which made it much stronger if a little heavier.
George eventually passed the axe on to the son of his long time pal, Ken Ross, who kindly passed it on to us in 2015, his son no longer in need of it. A fabulous and unique addition to our collection.

Acquisition Method

Donated by Ken Ross

Acquisition Date


Condition Check Date



Spectrum : UK Museum documentation standard, V.3.1 2007



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