Category Archives: Industry

London – RETAIL TRADERS – Haberdashers

This is the second part of our article on the early retail trade of London – the article is from the book London – Volume 3 published in 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery

Read other posts in this series

London – RETAIL TRADERS – Haberdashers

Of all the retail traders, the Haberdashers, though dealing in such small wares, seem to carry on business to the greatest extent. One single house in the city is known to take on an average, a million and a half sterling a year, or more than four thousand guineas a day; one half of this vast sum is received in cash for-goods sold at the counter, and the other, wholesale at a short credit. There are at least two other houses in the same business whose returns are £1000 a day.

The proprietor of one of these establishments, which is necessarily large on account of the business being almost wholly retail, always gives the  persons in his employment an extra allowance for supper when the receipts of the day amount to £1000: thus expressing his own gratitude, and rewarding and encouraging the exertions of those around him. Nor are haberdashers the only tradesmen who carry on extensive business, or amass large fortunes; there is Exeter Change, long celebrated for its cutlery and hardwares, etc. where the Prince of retail dealers, the eccentric Thomas Clark, amassed a million of money, and while he paid £7000 a year to government as income tax, spent only a shilling on his own dinner.

About ten or dozen years ago a number of establishments somewhat similar to Exeter Change, which is not confined to any one particular branch of trade, sprung up in London, to which the oriental term of Bazar was given, which literally means a market. Of these, only two remain; the Western Bazar, in Bond Street, and that of Mr. Trotter, in Soho-square. The latter is a very extensive and well regulated establishment. Several large rooms are fitted up with counters, drawer, shelves, etc. for the sale of almost every species of light articles, where between five and six hundred females attend and trade on their own account; in the various articles of domestic manufacture. The price paid is in proportion to the space occupied. The utmost care is taken that none but persons of the strictest moral character are admitted, and that they shall not be subject to any insult from the idle and dissolute loungers of the other sex.

Two other marts for retail trade have been formed, the Burlington Arcade, in Piccadilly, and the Royal Arcade, in Pall Mall; both are elegant architectural improvements but they are too recently established to enable us to speak decisively of their success.

The streets most celebrated for retail trade are Fleet Street, Ludgate Hill, St. Paul’s church-yard, Cheapside, the Poultry, and Cornhill, in the city; in the Strand, King Street, and Henrietta Street, Covent Garden; Cockspup Street, Pall Mall, St. James’s Street, Piccadilly, Oxford Street, and Bond Street, at the west end of the town. The recent improvements, in opening a communication from Carlton House to the Regent’s Park, has created a new and spacious street for retail business, called Regent Street; and the Regent’s-quadrant, which has on each side a grand colonade.

Excerpt from London Volume 3 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery

===+++===

Further reading and external links

Cheapside and London Retail Trade in the 18th Century

Sholto and Reuben Percy

 

 

London – RETAIL TRADERS – Poverty to Fortune

var addthis_config = {“data_track_addressbar”:true};

 We had a ‘dig’ around in our library on the history of the retail trade of London and their origins and discovered this interesting article which we will publish in two parts – the second part which we will publish tomorrow – the article is from the book London – Volume 3 published in 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery

Read other posts in this series

Read other posts in the London series

London – RETAIL TRADERS – Poverty to Fortune

A foreigner, in looking over a London Directory, and finding a list of between thirty and forty thousand trading firms, will be apt to consider the assertion of Bonaparte, “that we are a nation of shop-keepers,” true to the letter; and if he is informed that this list, numerous as it seems, does not contain more than one third of the shopkeepers in the metropolis, he will suspect that there are almost as many sellers as buyers. Stiil more would a stranger be astonished at learning how lucrative a business shop-keeping is in London; where a pastry-cook has been known to die worth a hundred thousand pounds, and a dealer in shell fish, who spent the best years of his life in selling oysters in public-houses, has left to his heirs a sum of 40,000. Yet, such is the case, nor are these solitary instances of success in life. Many a Lord Mayor in London has risen from the humble office of a porter;  others have worn a livery, or served as a drawer or errand boy at a tavern. Not to enumerate living characters, and yet to refer to those who are recollected by the living, it may be mentioned that Walker, the sugar-baker, who died worth a quarter of a million of money a few years ago, was originally porter to a wax chandler, with a salary of £16 a year; that Alderman Kennet, afterwards Lord Mayor, was once a waiter at the Hoop and Bunch of Grapes public house in Hatton Garden; that Alderman Bates kept a public house, as did the late amiable Alderman Thomas Smith, after living servant with a gentleman, and officiating as an exciseman; that Crosby, the spoon maker, who died worth £60,000, was a charcoal boy to Chawner; and that a living pavior, who has amassed a fortune of a quarter of a million, and who can neither read nor, write, was once a common labourer, who added to his daily earnings by officiating as a watchman in the night. The list, of individuals, who have risen from poverty and obscurity to high rank and splendid fortunes, would “stretch to the crack o’doom,” and it is unnecessary to quote more instances, nor are these named invidiously selected, but to show that in London, the road to preferment, honour and fortune is open to the humblest aspirant.

That such fortunes are amassed in London, is the more astonishing, when it is considered the great expense with which large establishments are maintained; that the rent and taxes of many a retail trader amount to more than a thousand a year, and that the smallest house, if in a great thoroughfare, will let at the most extravagant rate. A shop, not more than three yards square, with a room above it of the same dimensions, has been known to be let as a snuff shop at a rental of £80 a year, and several other houses equally dear.

Excerpt from London Volume 3 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery

===+++===

Further reading and external links

Cheapside and London Retail Trade in the 18th Century

Sholto and Reuben Percy

London – Manufactures

We discovered this interesting article on the history of London manufacturing – the article is from the book London – Volume 3 published in 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery.

Read other posts in the London series

London Manufactures

The manufactures of London are in proportion to its commerce; and notwithstanding the advanced rate of living, and the high price of house-rent, coals, and every thing that can affect the artisan and mechanic, the manufactures of London are great and flourishing, surpassing in quality those of any other part of the country, so much, that any article warranted “town-made” is certain of obtaining an advanced price. In the silk trade alone 50,000 persons, or one-sixtieth of the whole population, are employed in London, and in most of the light manufactures the number is proportionably great. It is no disparagement to the rest of the country, that London excels in its manufactures, since where the best price is paid the best workmen will be attracted; and it is due to the country to say, that to it is London constantly indebted for a succession of artists and mechanics, by whose ingenuity she is not only rendered celebrated but enriched.

Many years ago Sheffield, justly celebrated for its cutlery, challenged London to a trial of skill, by sending a knife of a very curious construction to the Cutlers’ company, with an insertion on one of the blades, defying competition. The London cutlers, ambitious for the honour of their trade, made a penknife, containing one well-tempered blade, in which was introduced a piece of straw. On the blade were some lines, stating the fact; and the Sheffield cutlers, who might well feel incredulous, broke the blade, and found the straw entire and unsinged; a piece of ingenious art for which they acknowledged themselves unable to account; and yet Sheffield was celebrated for its cutlery so far back as the time of Chaucer, whose monk “a Sheffield whittle bore he in his hose.”

In the more scientific manufactures, such as machinery, optical and mathematical instruments, London has always been celebrated. It was in the metropolis that Mr. Penn made his celebrated burning glass, of such power, that iron, steel, flint, stone, and even the diamond itself yielded to its almost magic power; and here Dollond carried into effect, if he did not originate, that most important scientific discovery the achromatic glasses; and a Mudge, an Arnold, and a Brock bank, made chronometers, which seem to have approached perfection as far as it can possibly be attained.

It is highly honorable to the operative mechanics and artists of the metropolis, that amidst all the fluctuation of trade “such a thing as a journeyman, tradesman, or any of his family begging is almost unknown, and may with certainty be pronounced as one of the rarest of contingent events.”

Excerpt from London Volume 3 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery

===+++===

Further reading and external links

Sholto and Reuben Percy

London Breweries – 1787 – Royal Visit

This is the second part in our two part series on the breweries of London – it covers a time when King George III visited Samuel Whitbreads brewery.  The article is from the book London – Volume 3 published in 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery

Read other posts in the London series

 

London Breweries – 1787 – Royal Visit

Some of the principal breweries are among the curiosities of London which every stranger is anxious to see. That known by the name of Whitbread’s brewery, in Chiswell Street, the plant of which was, a few years ago, sold for nearly a million of money, was deemed worthy of a royal visit at a time that its business was not so extensive, nor its arrangements so complete, as at present.

It was on the 28th of May, 1787, that his late majesty, George III., accompanied by his illustrious consort and the three princesses, and attended by several lords and ladies in waiting, visited the brewery. They arrived at ten o’clock in the morning, and were received by Mr. Whitbread and his daughter, who conducted them over the brewery. In the stone cistern there were 3007 barrels of beer, but the vat excited the most surprise, and the queen and princesses determined to enter it, though the aperture was so small that it was with difficulty they could accomplish it. This cistern, which is of stone, will hold upwards of 4000 barrels of beer. After their Majesties had passed nearly four hours in investigating the brewery, they were conducted to the house, where a cold collation with every delicacy had been provided. There were wines of every sort, and a quantity of Whithread’s Entire, of which the royal visitors partook, and then retired highly gratified. The brewery of Messrs. Barclay is on an equally magnificent scale.

A singular and melancholy accident happened to one of the London porter breweries, that of Messrs. Henry Meux and Co., in Tottenham Court Road, on the 17th of October 1814, when one of the largest of their vats, filled with beer, burst, and the liquor, like a mighty torrent, swept away every thing before it. One side of the house, in which the vat was placed, was entirely thrown down, though twenty-five feet high, and part of the roof fell in. The back part of several houses in Great Russell Street and New Street were thrown down, and the whole neighbourhood was inundated. The height of the vat which burst was twenty-two feet, and contained 3555 barrels of porter. On this vat there were twenty-two hoops, the least of which weighed seven cwt, and the largest a ton. The  explosion was supposed to be owing to one of the hoops having burst. Several other vats were injured, and nearly 9000 barrels of beer wasted: the loss amounted to £25,000, and eight persons were killed by this fatal accident.

It has already been stated that great quantities of London porter are exported. It was, however, long before malt liquor could be kept in a tropical climate; and the inhabitants of the East and West Indies are indebted to the late Mr. Kenton, for being enabled to regale themselves with London porter. This gentleman, who died worth £300,000, fifty thousand of which he saved at the Crown and Magpie public house, Whitechapel, discovered, that by leaving the bottles uncorked for a few weeks, and shipping the beer as flat as possible, it might be conveyed to the East Indies, and that during the voyage it had so completely recovered its briskness as to possess all the virtues of London genuine porter. The ale and small beer breweries, and the distilleries in London, are on a great scale, though inferior to the potter breweries.

Excerpt from London Volume 3 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery

===+++===

Further reading and external links

The Whitbread Brewery on Wikipedia

Samuel Whitbread on Wikipedia

London Breweries – 1761 – Brewing of Porter






var addthis_config = {“data_track_addressbar”:true};

 

We had a ‘dig’ around in our library on the history of the breweries of London and their origins and discovered this interesting article which we will publish in two parts – the second part is on the Royal visit which we will publish tomorrow – the article is from the book London – Volume 3 published in 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery

Read other posts in this series

Read other posts in the London series

 

London Breweries – 1761 – Brewing of Porter

In no article of general consumption does London maintain so great a monopoly and supremacy as in the brewing of porter, which is not only forwarded to the most remote parts of the kingdom, but exported to our colonies – to the United States of America, and to many of the Continental States. Without inquiring whether the cervisia of the Romans, or the ale of the Egyptians, was a fermented liquor made from malt and hops, of which we have much doubt, it is sufficient to know, that malt liquor has, from time immemorial, been a favourite beverage with the inhabitants of London.

So early as the reign of Elizabeth the consumption of beer must have been very considerable, for in 1580 Sir Thomas Gorges, in applying for the office of gauger, stated to Lord Treasurer Burleigh that “there was a deceit to the buyer of beer and ale, both in the assize of the vessels, and in the not filling them up; and that the buyers taken altogether were deceived hereby £30,000 a year.”

There is also other evidence of the quantity of beer brewed in London, in a calculation made in the year 1585, by order of Lord Burleigh. It appears from this account, that there were at that time twenty-six brewers in the metropolis, of whom one half were stated to be foreigners. They generally brewed six times a week, and the whole quantity brewed in London, in one year, in small and strong beer, was 648,960 barrels. This is certainly a large quantity for so thin a population as London then contained, but it is to be considered that ale and beer were at this time, and long afterwards, the common beverage for breakfast, and that it was frequently exported in such quantities as to induce the queen to prohibit the exportation, lest it should enhance the price of corn.

It appears, from a writer of that period, that the brown jug with silver cover, so common in respectable houses in the country, was then a favourite in town. Speaking of the Londoners he says, they drink their ale “not out of glasses, but from earthen pots, with silver bandies and covers; and this even in houses of middling fortune, for as to the poor, the covers of their pots are only pewter.”

Before we quit the “olden time,” we may observe that the charge of adulteration, now so frequently made, was urged against the brewers of the sixteenth century, who are said to have put “darnel, rosin, lime, and chalk, into the ale or beer, which making the drinkers thirsty, they might drink the more;” and that when hops were dear, “they put into their drink broom, bay-berries, ivy-berries, and such-like things.” It is due, however, to the brewers to say, that these charges were never verified by the, surveyors.

Although the excise duties, and the general introduction of tea and coffee, as a substitute for malt liquor at breakfast, must have operated for some time as a draw-back on the consumption, yet it seems lately to have received a new impulse. In 1761 the quantity of porter made in London, by 52 brewers, was only 975,217 barrels, of 36 gallons each; now a single firm, that of Barclay and Co., brews upwards of 330,000 barrels in a year; and the quantity made by the twelve principal breweries has amounted, in one year, to the astonishing number of 1,500,000 barrels. What proportion of this quantity is consumed in London it would be difficult to ascertain.

Excerpt from London Volume 3 1824 by Sholto and Reuben Percy – Brothers of the Benedictine Monastery

===+++===

Further reading and external links

The Whitbread Brewery on Wikipedia 

Samuel Whitbread on Wikipedia

Memoirs of Lord Charles Beresford – Attire

 

Search the Library for more like this

Lord Charles Beresford (1846-1919) was a British Admiral and Member of Parliament, he was a hero in battle and a champion of the Navy in Parliament.  This is another installment in our series of his memoirs – taken from ‘The Memoirs of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford’ written by himself and published in 1914.

Catch-up with earlier posts in this series here or search our library here.

Memoirs of Lord Charles Beresford – Attire

In those days the men used to dress in cloth trousers and tunic with buttons. The men used to embroider their collars and their fronts with most elaborate and beautiful designs. They had two hats, a black hat and a white hat, which they made themselves. The black hats were made of straw covered with duck and painted. Many a man has lost his life aloft in trying to save his heavy black hat from being blown away.

The fashion of wearing hair on the face was to cultivate luxuriant whiskers, and to “leave a gangway,” which meant shaving upper lip, chin and neck. Later, Mr. Childers introduced a new order: a man might shave clean, or cultivate all growth, or leave a gangway as before, but he might not wear a moustache only. The order, which applied to officers and men (except the Royal Marines) is still in force.

Steam was never used except under dire necessity, or when entering harbour, or when exercising steam tactics as a Fleet. The order to raise steam cast a gloom over the entire ship. The chief engineer laboured under considerable difficulties. He was constantly summoned on deck to be forcibly condemned for “making too much smoke.” 

Excerpt from The Memoirs of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford written by himself and published in 1914.

===+++===

Further Reading and External Links

Lord Charles Beresford on Wikipedia

Lord Charles Beresford on The Dreadnought Project

Memoirs of Lord Charles Beresford – Cursing

Lord Charles Beresford (1846-1919) was a British Admiral and Member of Parliament, he was a hero in battle and a champion of the Navy in Parliament.  This is another installment in our series of his memoirs – taken from ‘The Memoirs of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford’ written by himself and published in 1914.

Memoirs of Lord Charles Beresford – Cursing

Seamen often curse and swear when they are aloft furling or reefing sails in a gale of wind; but I have never heard a sailor blaspheme on these occasions. Their language aloft is merely a mode of speaking. Although in the old days I have heard men blaspheme on deck, blasphemy was never heard aloft in a gale. To be aloft in a whole gale or in a hurricane impresses the mind with a sense of the almighty power of the Deity, and the insignificance of man, that puny atom, compared with the vast forces of the elements. In later life, I once said to a young man whom I heard using blasphemous language in a club: “If you were up with me on the weather yard-arm of a topsail yard reefing topsails in a whole gale, you would be afraid to say what you are saying now. You would see what a little puny devil a man is, and although you might swear, you would be too great a coward to blaspheme.”

And I went on to ram the lesson home with some forcible expressions, a method of reproof which amused the audience, but which effectually silenced the blasphemer.

The fact is, there is a deep sense of religion in those who go down to the sea in ships and do their business in the great waters. Every minister of God, irrespective of the denomination to which he belongs, is treated with respect. And a good chaplain, exercising tact and knowing how to give advice, does invaluable service in a ship, and is a great help in maintaining sound discipline, inasmuch as by virtue of his position he can discover and remove little misunderstandings which cause discontent and irritation. The discomforts of the Old Navy are unknown to the new. The sanitary appliances, for instance, were placed right forward in the bows, in the open air. If the sea were rough they could not be used. On these occasions, the state of the lower deck may with more discretion be imagined than described. As the ship rolled, the water leaked in through the rebated joints of the gun-ports, and as long as a gale lasted the mess-decks were no better than cesspools. It is a curious fact that in spite of all these things, the spirits of both officers and men rose whenever it came on to blow; and the harder it blew, the more cheery everyone became. The men sang most under stress of weather; just as they will to-day under the same conditions or while coaling ship. After a gale of wind, the whole ship’s company turned-to to clean the ship.

Excerpt from The Memoirs of Admiral Lord Charles Beresford written by himself and published in 1914.

===+++===

Further Reading and External Links

Lord Charles Beresford on Wikipedia

Lord Charles Beresford on The Dreadnought Project

James Watt – 1736

 

Search the library for more like this

Matthew Boulton and James Watt formed a partnership in 1773 after Boulton took a share in Watts engine as settlement of a debt.  Today they are honoured for their work in superior coinage with them both featuring on the new £50 banknote. 

Catch-up with earlier posts in this series here or search our library here.

Below is an excerpt from The Quarterly Review Volume 104 published in 1858 – featuring James Watt.

James Watt – 1736

James WattJames Watt was born at Greenock on the Clyde, on the 19th of January, 1736. His parents were of the middle class honest, ‘God-fearing’ people, with a character for probity which had descended to them from their ‘forbears,’ and was the proudest inheritance of the family. James Watt was thus emphatically well-born. His grandfather was a teacher of navigation and mathematics in the village of Cartsdyke, now part of Greenock, and dignified himself with the name of ‘Professor.’ But as Cartsdyke was as yet only a humble collection of thatched hovels, and the shipping of the Clyde was confined principally to fishing-boats, the probability is, that his lessons in navigation were of a very humble order.

He was, however, a dignitary of the place, being Bailie of the Barony as well as one of the parish elders. His son, James Watt, the father of the engineer, settled at Greenock as a carpenter and builder. Greenock was then little better than a fishing village, consisting of a single row of thatched cottages lying parallel with the sandy beach of the Frith of Clyde. The beautiful shore, broken by the long narrow sea lochs running far away among the Argyleshire hills, and now fringed with villages, villas, and mansions, was then as lonely as Glencoe; and the waters of the Frith, now daily plashed by the paddles of almost innumerable Clyde steamers, were as yet undisturbed save by the passing of an occasional Highland coble.

The prosperity of Greenock was greatly promoted by Sir John Shaw, the feudal superior, who succeeded in obtaining from the British Parliament, what the Scottish Parliament previous to the Union had refused, the privilege of constructing a harbour. Ships began after 1740 to frequent the pier, and then Mr. Watt added ship carpentering and dealing in ships’ stores to his other pursuits. He himself held shares in ships, and engaged in several foreign mercantile ventures, some of which turned out ill, and involved him in embarrassments. A great deal of miscellaneous work was executed on his premises – household furniture and ship’s carpentry – chairs and tables, figureheads and capstans, blocks, pumps, gun-carriages, and dead-eyes. The first crane erected on the Greenock pier, for the convenience of the Virginia tobacco ships, was supplied from his stores. He even undertook to repair ships’ compasses, as well as the commoner sort of nautical instruments then in use. These multifarious occupations were the result of the smallness of the place, while the business of a single calling was yet too limited to yield a competence. That Mr. Watt was a man of repute in his locality is shown by his having been elected one of the trustees to manage the funds of the borough in 1741, when Sir John Shaw divested himself of his feudal rights, and made them over to the inhabitants. Mr. Watt subsequently held office as town-treasurer, and as bailie or magistrate.

Agnes Muirhead, the bailie’s wife, and the mother of James Watt, was long remembered in the place as an intelligent woman, bountifully gifted with graces of person as well as of mind and heart. She was of a somewhat dignified appearance; and it was said that she affected a superior style of living to her neighbours.

Excerpt from The Quarterly Review Volume 104 published in 1858.


         ===+++===

Further Reading and External Links

BBC News – New £50 banknote – featuring Matthew Boulton and James Watt

James Watt – Steam-Engine – Hercules of Modern Mythology

 

Search the library for more like this

Matthew Boulton and James Watt formed a partnership in 1773 after Boulton took a share in Watts engine as settlement of a debt.  Today they are honoured for their work in superior coinage with them both featuring on the new £50 banknote. 

Below is an excerpt from The Quarterly Review Volume 104 published in 1858 – featuring James Watt.

James Watt – Steam-Engine – Hercules of Modern Mythology

James WattNO country in the world presents such a combination of facilities for manufacture and commerce as England – coal and iron, ships and steam-engines, hardy seamen and ingenious mechanics. With these combined advantages the progress during the present century has been beyond example. In [1784] an American vessel arrived in Liverpool having on board as part of her cargo eight bales of cotton, which were seized by the customhouse officers under the conviction that they could not be the growth of America!

Last year there were imported at Liverpool not less than a million and a half bales of cotton from the United States alone! The first steam-engine used in Manchester was not erected till [1790]; it is now computed that in that city and the district within a radius of ten miles, there are more than fifty thousand boilers, giving a total power of upwards of a million of horses! The engine of Watt has proved the very Hercules of modern mythology, the united steam power of Great Britain being equal, it is estimated, to the manual labour of upwards of four hundred millions of men, or more than double the number of males supposed to inhabit the globe.

Mechanicians and engineers, unlike literary men, are never their own biographers. As an eminent living engineer lately observed, ‘We are so much occupied with doing the thing itself, that we have not the disposition, even if we had the leisure, to write about how it is done. The majority of the persons of this class have moreover risen from obscurity, and the companions among whom they passed their early days were, for the most part, like themselves, self-educated; neither caring to put on record what was worthy to be preserved, nor competent to record it. Hence these heroes of mechanical science passed away, leaving only their work behind them. Hence little is known of Savery, the inventor of the first working atmospheric engine; and it is matter of doubt whether he was the captain of a ship or of a Cornish tin-mine. Nothing of the history of his rival and subsequent partner, Newcomen, is preserved, beyond the fact that he was a blacksmith and a Baptist. Even the distinguished inventors who have lived nearer to our own time have been scarcely more fortunate; for we do not yet possess a single respectable memoir of Arkwright, Crompton, Brindley, or Rennie. Happily, however, the greatest name in the roll of English inventors left behind him a large store of valuable materials, which have been published by his zealous relative Mr. Muirhead, and who has now crowned his long labours by an elaborate ‘Life of Watt,’ the expansion of a former Memoir, which comprises all that we are likely to learn of a man to whom we mainly owe the greatest commercial and social revolution in the entire history of the world.

Excerpt from The Quarterly Review Volume 104 published in 1858.


         ===+++===

Further Reading and External Links

BBC News – New £50 banknote – featuring Matthew Boulton and James Watt

 

Englands Oldest Handicrafts

 

Search the library for more like this

ENGLANDS OLDEST HANDICRAFTS

 Below is an article from The Antiquary Volume 35 by  Edward Walford, John Charles Cox and George Latimer Apperson – published in 1899.  It covers the early English Handicraft trade and the beginning of working in precious metals.

WORKING IN PRECIOUS METALS.  by ISABEL SUART ROBSON.

Alfred’s Jewel – BackWorking in precious metals and in bronze was one of the earliest and most important industries practised by our forefathers in this country. Many antiquaries have questioned whether the production of decorative objects actually preceded the Roman invasion. According to Holinshed’s Chronicle “collars of gold and silver wrought for women’s necks” were a part of the tribute which the Emperor Augustus laid upon this island, and it is scarcely probable that ores would have been sought here by other nations if ornaments of metal made in this country had not been carried abroad.

The earliest settlements of Saxons undoubtedly included goldsmiths and bronzeworkers, for as a race they were accustomed to wearing ornaments of precious metal, made with a skill and artistic taste which do credit to their handicraft. The monasteries, in Saxon times no less than in later ages, were the schools and cradles of arts and industries. Alcuin, who was living at the close of the eighth century, and founded several monasteries, is especially mentioned in medieval chronicles as the patron of handicrafts. He was the friend of Charlemagne, and went on one occasion to Parma to confer with that monarch on matters connected with the goldsmith’s craft, and to discuss means for improving the making of crosses, shrines, and vessels for the churches. The results of this conference Alcuin confided to the monks in England, and richly chased, hammered and enamelled gold, silver, and bronze vessels made by his instructions long enriched the great abbeys of St. Albans, and Gloucester. St. Dunstan more than any other exerted himself to encourage handicrafts, and at the school founded by him at Glastonbury pupils were taught, among other things, working in precious metals and bronze. Later he was taken as the patron saint of goldsmiths, and the records of city companies abound in notices of the ceremonies which took place in his honour on special occasions. Many of the abbots were themselves noted artists. Bishop Bernward, who lived at the close of the tenth century, executed some beautiful Sticks (which are now in Kensington Museum) for the abbey where he learnt his art. Another Bishop-artist was Brithnodus of Ely, whose four images, covered with silver-gilt and precious stones, the glory of the abbey, had to go, with many other ornaments, to appease the resentment of William the Conqueror against this last stronghold of saxons.

 ===+++===

Further Reading and External Links

Bishop Bernward on Wikipedia