Category Archives: Commerce

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

The Georgian Letter-writing Boom

People had written letters to family and friends long before the eighteenth century. The famous Paston letters are only one example. However, both the Georgian and Regency periods saw a vast increase in the amount of correspondence of all kinds. … Continue reading

Posted in Commerce, Georgian Society, Politics | 3 Comments

The Georgian Apothecary

Medicine in georgian times was categorised largely by the social class of the practitioner and the scale of fees they charged. Some doctors did tend to focus on one or two main approaches to treatment — sea bathing, for example. … Continue reading

Posted in Commerce, Medicine & Science | 5 Comments

The Path to Landed Gentry Status

Until recent years, the British upper classes, including the aristocracy, were defined by the ownership of land. Why should land ownership matter so much? After all, from the 17th century onwards, there were many merchant and professional households with incomes well … Continue reading

Posted in C18th Norfolk, Commerce, Georgian Society | 5 Comments

The Georgian Way with People ‘Passing off’ or Short Measure

Giving short measure or trying to pass-off substandard goods is not a modern phenomenon. As the following notice from The Norwich Mercury of December, 1757 shows, the masters of the trade guilds sometimes took strong action against those who threatened … Continue reading

Posted in Commerce, Tid-bits | 1 Comment