Category Archives: Commerce

The Eighteenth-Century Attorney

“He did not care to speak ill of anyone behind his back, but he believed the gentleman was an attorney.” (A comment on an absent friend by Dr Johnson in 1770, as reported by Boswell) The term ‘attorney’ in the … Continue reading

Posted in Commerce, Georgian Society

More about East Anglia’s Georgian Beach Companies

Beach companies were established all along the Norfolk and Suffolk coasts from the late eighteenth century into the nineteenth. Some of the larger and busier ports, like Yarmouth, had several. Caister had a beach company from at least the 1790s, … Continue reading

Posted in Commerce | 2 Comments

Mahogany: An Eighteenth-century Wood

The use of mahogany in domestic furniture became so ubiquitous in the 19th and early 20th centuries that it’s something of a surprise to discover that the wood was virtually unknown in Britain before the start of the eighteenth century. … Continue reading

Posted in Commerce, Georgian Society | 6 Comments

The Business Troubles of a Georgian Merchant

Robert Plumsted was a merchant and we are fortunate to have his Letter-book, covering the period from November 1756 to April 1758. Although it includes only copies of the letters he wrote, not those he received, it still gives us … Continue reading

Posted in Commerce | 2 Comments

Norfolk, Napoleon and the Decline of Trade

Many of england’s mediaeval wars were primarily ‘dynastic’ – fought to advance the power, prestige or hegemony of the king and nobles. Even the wars of the first part of the eighteenth century were more for political gain than anything … Continue reading

Posted in C18th Norfolk, Commerce

The Wealth of an Early 18th-century Butcher

Probate inventories are fascinating documents. Unlike more ‘literary’ documents, such as contemporary novels, they let you see the eighteenth-century world as it was, warts and all. By listing everything owned by someone who had recently died, down to broken pots … Continue reading

Posted in Commerce | 5 Comments

Georgian Chimney Sweeps

In Georgian England, chimney sweeps took boys from orphanages and homeless children from the streets as indentured servants and apprentices. What they looked for were small boys, usually between five and ten years of age, to clamber up narrow chimney … Continue reading

Posted in Commerce, Georgian Society | 3 Comments