Henry Brandon was the original creator of the lovely Touch Wud charms. His inspiration was behind the Step Short charity’s decision to recreate the Touch Wud Charm as the educational story-teller Private Touch Wud Sweetheart, thereby helping to keep the spirit of this wonderful charm alive.
Henry Brandon was brought up as an orthodox Jew and he spent his early days street trading in the east end of London. He then grew from a trader in trinkets to a London property magnate whose unique vision saw him become a successful businessman.
As well as property, Henry Brandon also had interests in the clothing market, the diamond trade and wholesale fish marketing by the end of World War II. He died in London in 1945.
Touch Wood is a saying that is still used widely today by many people across the country. People often touch their heads for luck and say: “Touch Wood”.
The origin of the superstition came from the sale of charms and indulgences to Christian believers by Catholic clergy before the protestant reforms. Estimates vary, but there is general agreement that many tons of wood fragments were in circulation, all claiming to be from the “True Cross” and having the power to protest the owner and cure both illness and misfortune. The “touch wud” design also incorporates Irish Leprechaun elements.
Whatever our thoughts on superstitions, these charms are part of our heritage and a unique part of World War One history. Without Henry Brandon’s idea of creating this wonderful little charm, Private Touch Wud Sweetheart would not be with us today.
Touch Wud’s were given as good luck charms to sweethearts and loved one who were setting off to war. The original Touch Wud charms came in a leather pouch and contained a wonderful poem:
Behold in me the birth of luck,
Two charms combined Touch Wood - Fums Up.
My head is made of wood most rare,
My thumbs turn up to touch me there,
To speed my feet they’ve Cupid’s Wings,
They’ll help true love mongst other things.
Proverbial is my power to bring.
Good Luck to you in everything.
I’ll bring good luck to all away.
Just send me to a friend today.
If you have any information on these charms or a story to tell we would love to hear from you.
Step Short is fortunate enough to have the support of Susie Randell at Touch Wood Charms Ltd.
Susie Randell has re-created the original Touch Wud charm. Having worn an original “Touch Wud” all her life (a gift from her mother to keep her safe) Susie is determined to save the original good luck charm by developing replica charms, and in doing so she hopes to raise money for charities.
We would like to thank Susie for her support on this project.