EIGHTEENTH CENTURY LONDON IRONMONGERS
The Worshipful Company
The company is nominally responsible for conduct of the trade within the City of London, and has probably considerable influence outside it. Nevertheless many ironmongers who feature prominently in the Cort story seem to play no part in the affairs of the company.
Location of premises
London ironmongers appear to congregate around Thames Street, close to the river on the northern bank. Many also have a warehouse down stream.
Presumably most goods arrive by sea, and are kept at the warehouse. They travel upriver by barge (they have to pass under London Bridge) when needed at the shop.
This name has appeared only in connection with the career of Richard Crawshay.
Perhaps the most significant name among London ironmongers in Cort's time. Probably a name shared by father and son, both in the business.
Premises with wharf at 10 Allhallows Lane from 1767 to 1790. Then at 95 Upper Thames Street. Also registered as anchorsmith at Rotherhithe.
Closely involved with Ironmongers Company, supervising their estates as early as 1763.
Makes piston rods for Watt's engines, using Swedish iron. A link with the Lindegrens is confirmed in Coulson's 1794 will, which names one of them as a beneficiary.
The will also refers to a partnership with Millington and Vardon.
Claimed by the Oxford DNB as "probably London's leading iron merchant" whose "interests stretched from Stockholm to Smyrna" according to Chris Evans's The Labyrinth of Flame.
Claimed "23 years in business" during a legal dispute in the 1780s, but does not appear in Ironmongers Company books.
Took over a business in Thames Street previously owned by Bicklewith. Moved several times without leaving the area: one address at 3 Bull Wharf Lane, Queenhithe, suggests proximity to the Lindegren business.
Eventually settled at 3 George Yard, Upper Thames Street, where his "house" continued in business long after his death.
Involved in several London partnerships, the later ones involving William Thompson from Government Ordnance at the Tower of London. Gave a job to William's brother Robert at Cyfarthfa.
Dealings are recorded with Cramond, Millington, Raby and William Reynolds.
Described William Wilkinson as his "friend for 20 years" in a letter of introduction to Swedish iron traders in 1788.
Member of Society of Arts, 1789.
Moves to Cyfarthfa in 1792.
Influential member of Ironmongers Company, suggests long association with Coulson and Vardon. Not listed in London trade directories.
Premises at 7 All Hallows Lane near Coulson's and Raby's.
Probably the supplier of cannon who persuades the Government to revoke Wilkinson's patent.
Later crosses swords with Raby after hiring out his nearby wharf while Raby's is being repaired. Raby complains to head of Government William Pitt that Jones is using his influence to deny him a licence to use his wharf once the repair is complete
Brothers Andrew & Charles Lindegren
Evidently the main importers of Swedish iron for a long period.
In Mincing Lane to 1767. Then to 1 Red Bull Wharf, Thames Street.
Charles becomes a Director of Royal Exchange Assurance. His son Andrew moves to Portsmouth, where he has a lengthy career, which includes “many years agent to the Hon. East India Company” (to quote from an obituary). Young Andrew’s brother Charles evidently joins the East India Company’s maritime service, where he rises to the rank of captain. For some time I wondered about Andrew senior’s son: does he die shortly after his father? Eventually (September 2010) I got the “no” message from one of his descendants!
This period also sees an application for bankruptcy, within months of Andrew senior’s death in 1783, from his “surviving partners Charles and Andrew Lindegren”. Andrew extricates himself with a certificate of conformity in January 1784, while there is no mention of a bankrupt state in Charles senior’s will made the following May.
Takes over the Crowley business in Upper Thames Street.
Forms partnership with Coulson and Vardon.
Supplies locks and other ironmongery to the Navy.
Ironmonger with earliest documented connection with Cort. Also manufactures hoops.
Partners Rogers and Holmer in turn, moving from Dockhead to Steelyard in All Hallows Lane. Wharves adjacent to Coulson and Jones.
Complains to Pitt in 1787 about business difficulties he attributes to Jones.
Information from the Web shows him owning coalmines and other property, including a large estate in Surrey.
Later becomes interested in ironworking in Wales. Moves to Llanelly.
Another stalwart of Ironmongers Company.
Premises at 61 Gracechurch Street. Partner at first of George Franklin.
Later forms partnership with Millington and Coulson.
Supplies to Navy include anchors and camp forges.
The Wilson family
Brothers Robert, John and William. Originates at Carnwath in southern Scotland, where Robert stays.
John spends time in Sweden, then sets up in London (Cornhill) with William, importing Swedish iron.
In 1779 the three brothers combine to set up the Wilsontown Ironworks near Carnwath.
The London firm is the only iron company involved in the 1791 petition on behalf of Cort.
Cort's daughter Charlotte marries a John Wilson, who may be the son of ironmonger John. By 1811 the couple are in Guiana, where John later becomes agent for John Gladstone. On leaving Guiana, John becomes Gladstone’s partner for ten years.