Dr Sheryllynne Haggerty
The Interesting Tale of Eighteenth-Century Business Networks around the Atlantic; Including the stories of Men and Women and their Place within the Trading community: Or; Commerce investigated!

Kingston Harbour, 2003

This now quiet spot was once home to ships unloading hundreds of slaves at a time, and exporting the sugar of the island to England. Kingston was also important in the regional trade. Merchants kept their warehouses and counting houses nearby.

Author's own image.

Advert of Andrew Clow and Company, 1787

Newspapers were a vital source of local, regional and trans-Atlantic information. Adverts such as these help to identify major importers, and what type of goods they imported. The advert may be simplistic, but notice the wide range of goods available in Philadelphia by this time. Pennsylvania Packet, 19 Oct 1787

Reproduced by kind permission of the Library Company of Philadelphia.

Elfreth's Alley, Philadelphia

This is one of the original streets of Philadelphia, and has been lived in continually since it was built. Between 1785 and 1805 many women lived here. The trade directories show that female grocers, shopkeepers, nurses and schoolmistresses lived here. There was also a boarding house.

Author's own Photo

Gore's Directory, 1805

Trade directories became popular in the mid-eighteenth century and were an early version of the Yellow Pages. They listed the principal inhabitants, tradesmen and merchants of the town. They are invaluable in listing women in their occupation rather than in their relationship to men.

By courtesy of the University of Liverpool Library

Liverpool Town Hall

This the third Liverpool Town Hall and was built between 1749 and 1754. The ground floor was originally left open and meant to be for the use of the merchants and brokers. However, it was not immediately popular. Merchants continued to meet at the 'High Change' just outside, at the ends of Castle, High and Dale Streets.

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Hackins Hey

Hackins Hey is one of the medieval lanes of Liverpool, and many people lived in this narrow alley at the end of the eighteenth century. The trade directories show that between 1787 and 1805 victuallers were the most prominent residents, both men and women being listed, as well as many shopkeepers and craftsmen. The pub, 'Ye Old Hole in the Wall' has been here since the mid-eighteenth century.

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Bill of Exchange written by Mary Fearon

Bills of Exchange were used in a similar way as cheques are today. Many women, like Mary Fearon, used them. They were particularly convenient for paying debts owed far away. Usually the flow of these bills was towards Britain, such as this one from Jamaica. In this case, demand for manufactures and food exceeded the value of sugar exported.

By kind permission of Barclays Bank Archives.

Networks of goods, 1780s and 1790s

Many different sources used together can identify and help to trace certain goods throughout the chain of distribution. Here is the distribution network for Manchester textiles. Americans were very discerning consumers by this time, and bought goods according to quality, style and price.

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Case and Southworth Ledger

Many merchants in Liverpool, as elsewhere, set up a subordinate house in the area in which they were trading. Case and Southworth had a 'branch' house in Kingston, Jamaica, in the 1750s and 1760s. It imported hardware and textiles from the north west of England, flour from North America and slaves from Africa. In return they exported sugar, pimento and molasses. This example highlights the links between Liverpool, Philadelphia and Kingston.

By courtesy of the Liverpool Record Office

Research Assistants

Misha is IT Manager.

Koshka obviously found the secondary literature a bit tiring.

Jemima is trying to warm up after a hard day at the archives.

Author's own photos