Monday, January 2, 2017

The Family Tradesmen's Directory 1808

In 1808, Duncan McDonald, the Head Cook of the Bedford Tavern and Hotel, thought he had something new to offer to the world of cookery and cookery books. He may well have been right. Certainly his book was comprehensive, and his 'directions for marketing' and listings of the markets in London were unusual in such books of the day.

 I found his "Family Tradesmen's Directory" quite fascinating. It is a glimpse into a frozen moment in time of the retail world of 1808 London. The listing is long but I am including it all here in the interest of research and curiosity.
From this first page above, I looked in the British Newspaper Archive to see if T. Aveling had advertised his services in the London papers. He had. I was particularly interested because I had discovered that an 'oil and Italian warehouse' was virtually the "deli" of the Regency era.
Morning Chronicle 14 April 1803
The breadth of his stock is impressive, and there are seven other such warehouses listed by Mr. McDonald. Obviously these emporiums were important to the households of London.
 Linen-drapers, mercers, and woollen-drapers are mentioned in McDonald's list although his interest is in household suppliers, not fashion or clothing merchants. Cater, Marshall & Co. (listed above) advertised in the Morning Post.
Morning Post 10 April 1805
Table linens, and sheetings are among the household items offered for sale. On this same page there is a Glass & Staffordshire Warehouse listed. There are many china and glass suppliers on McDonald's list.
Morning Post 29 October 1804
Mr. Goldicutt seems to supply everything a household could require.
 There are several 'oil and colourmen' listed by McDonald. These were the equivalent of our paint stores. Linseed oil, raw pigments and the necessities for mixing and fixing them were sold by these shops. But on the last page below there is a new sort of shop mentioned--Vanherman, Fores & Co., British Paint Manufactory.
Morning Chronicle 16 April 1808
House decoration was changing and moving into the new century.
There are very few luxury shops in Mr. McDonald's list. The requirements of a household were uppermost in his mind. But he did include a perfumer in his list.
 Morning Post 19 May 1807
Presumably Patey, Butts & Co. Wholesale Perfumers sold items necessary to a household, as well as their 'Circassian Water'.

I feel as though I have been shopping in Regency London after perusing this list. And it has led me to reflect on who did go shopping for the wide variety of items required by a household. The mistress of the house would acquire large and/or decorative items I am sure. The size of the household would dictate the shopper for other items. It might be a maid, or it might be a house steward. I can see another interesting line of research opening up!

Happy New Year!

'Til next time,

New London Family Cook -
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Thursday, December 1, 2016

Christmas in 1805

Although I have done other blog posts about Regency Christmases from newspapers of the day, I thought it might be interesting to focus on one particular year. In 1805, the Ordnance Survey had begun publication of its detailed maps of England, Walter Scott had published The Lay of the Last Minstrel, the Eton/Harrow cricket match had taken place for the first time, and the Battle of Trafalgar (with Lord Nelson's tragic death) had taken place in October.

In 1805, mention of Christmas does not appear in the newspapers I surveyed until the week before the 25th of December. Perhaps predictably, the first notice is from a retailer.
Morning Post - Wednesday December 18 1805
Advertisements for Christmas gifts are not so numerous as one might expect given today's retail frenzy, but they do exist.
Salisbury and Winchester Journal - Monday 23 December 1805
Evidence of the celebration of Christmas continuing through until Twelfth Night--January 6--is contained in the advertisements for the Season.
The Courier - Tuesday 31 December 1805
But then, as now, there was more to the Season than commercialism. There were songs and poems:
Staffordshire Advertiser - Saturday 05 January 1805

There were some funny, some impenetrable, and some rather rude jokes:

Morning Advertiser - Friday 27 December 1805
Evening Mail - Monday 30 December 1805

The solemnity of the Season and the importance of charity were not overlooked:

The Courier - Tuesday 24 December 1805
And the activities of the royals, and the notables of society, were reported in detail:
Kentish Weekly Post or Canterbury Journal - Tuesday 01 January 1805

London Courier and Evening Gazette - Saturday 21 December 1805
London Courier and Evening Gazette - Tuesday 31 December 1805
 And finally, in a note that seems oddly contemporary, the Lotteries are touted:
Morning Advertiser - Monday 23 December 1805

Morning Advertiser - Thursday 26 December 1805
There you have a picture of a Regency Christmas in the year 1805--a Christmas not so very unlike our own.
 I hope that you enjoy a very Happy Holiday Season, and every joy in the New Year.

'Til next time,


All illustrations in this blog post are from

More Christmas information and illustrations can also be seen at my website:

Monday, October 24, 2016

More than monkeys and bears--traveling menageries in the Regency era

British life has always involved animals. From the hounds used in hunting to the house dogs and the horses that were common in every life, animals abounded. Portraits were painted of prize farm animals and deer roamed parks and estates throughout the island. Nevertheless Britain during the Regency era was very nearly devoid of wild animals. Those that did exist were small and more apt to be deemed nuisances than creatures of worth and benefit.

When the opportunity arose to see a bear (whether dancing or being baited in the village square), or a monkey (begging for money for its organ grinder), the general populace took full advantage. They were excited to see something beyond the everyday. When the traveling menageries took to the roads of Britain in the mid-1700's, people were agog. The wonders that the world held dazzled and astonished.
Morning Post - Friday 13 May 1808
George Wombwell had purchased two boas from the London docks and, discovering an insatiable interest in the public, built his business on those two snakes. A remarkable number of animals from abroad arrived on the ships that docked in London and they were soon traveling the country.
Cheltenham Chronicle - Thursday 06 August 1818

Lancaster Gazette - Saturday 31 January 1818
Wombwell's was not the only menagerie traveling Britain, and the common people were not the only ones fascinated by the wonders the menageries held as this account of Gillman and Atkins' display recounts.
Stamford Mercury - Friday 18 April 1817
There was Ballard's Menagerie:
Windsor and Eton Express - Sunday 19 October 1817

Pidcock's Menagerie housed at the Exeter Exchange in London also traveled the country as well, as early as 1770.
courtesy British Museum - 1799
And there was Polito's! This item is long but the descriptions and the hyperbole in the article/advertisement are wonderful.

Tyne Mercury; Northumberland and Durham and Cumberland Gazette - Tuesday 03 June 1817
There were accidents. Lions escaped, elephants died (Wombwell was particularly adept at marketing even dead animal viewings), and people were bitten. Mr. Soper (below) eventually died. He had put his hand in the cage to regain a dropped tool.
The European Magazine and London Review vol 56 Dec 1809
George Wombwell certainly used the available print media to best advantage among all the menageries. And his family's work at fairs continued through to the 1930s.
Worcester Journal - Thursday 16 August 1821
His tomb in Highgate Cemetary in London is appropriately crowned by a statue of one of his lions.

The conditions in which the animals were kept in traveling menageries were no doubt abysmal by modern standards. The food offered them and the cold climate of their new home took a great toll. But perhaps the pleasure they brought to the lives of people pinched by circumstance and lack of opportunity was partial recompense for the animals' sufferings. And perhaps generations of explorers and travelers were galvanized by the glimpse offered by traveling menageries of the world beyond their experience.

'Til next time,


More can be read about traveling menageries here: 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Messrs. Pellatt and Green in the News

from Ackermann's Repository of Arts
Pellatt and Green, premier glassmakers in Britain in the 19th century, have had their work and their premises documented across the Internet--Wikipedia has good basic information on the company and the Pellatt family.

But I thought it might be interesting to see what the newspapers of the era had to say about the company. They were in business more than fifty years in London, and their name was widely recognized for excellence. They also had a presence in the philanthropic community:

They appear for many years in the lists of donors for the above association and their donation listed is generous -- twenty pounds.

They took part in community events such as Illuminations. The Caledonian Mercury reported on events in London celebrating the Allied success at the Battle of Vittoria--note the last sentence:

Caldonian Mercury Saturday 10 July 1813

Like any long-running business they had their difficulties:
Morning Chronicle - Thursday 19 February 1818
 Tragedies that occurred among their staff were also newsworthy:
Bury and Norwich Post - Wednesday 05 February 1812
Their glassware was beautiful --
This claret glass was part of a table service ordered by Mr Bayard from America in 1818 for his daughter's wedding gift.

NYPL Digital Collections -- This illustration of Pellatt and Green products is from a mid-19th century book of glass designs
 But it was their innovations and inventions that were reported in the newspapers:
Morning Chronicle - Saturday 30 March 1811
The 'illuminators' were a great success and widely adopted by ships.

Pellatt and Green was a successful multi-generational business, and a prominent part of London's business scene, and its history. The newspapers confirm its eminence, and its celebrity.

'Til next time,