A Directory of Londoners 1666-1700 compiled by Ralph Hall. Edited, indexed and prepared for digitisation by Valerie Scadeng
Ralph Hall, a member of the Society from 1956 until his death in 1998, was an indefatigable indexer and transcriber, whose special interest in Northamptonshire and London is reflected in the large number of entries attributed to him in the Society of Genealogists Library catalogue. One of his great labours of love was to make extracts (in pre computer days) from the London Gazette and other 17th Century sources . These extracts were carefully compiled on his manual typewriter into a street by street listing of Londoners, and give not only name rich genealogical resources for family historians to draw upon (and there are some 20,000 names in the database) but also an insight into London life and trade in the 17th Century .
The extracts list, for example, the many traders and merchants who lived and worked in Barbican Street (the area just outside the City wall, now an underpass that leads into the Barbican Arts Centre). Bookseller/Publishers Richard Butler and Elizabeth Calvert thrived in Barbican Street in the 1670s, not far from Grubb Street. Bodice maker James Leech and Nicholas Blackwell, brazier traded their tokens and carried out their business in proximity of the plentiful inns and coffee houses of Barbican Street, with colourful names such as the Goat; the Holy Lamb and Three Bowls or the Two Black Boys (apparently on the corner of Barbican Street near Redcross Street, now subsumed totally into Golden Lane after the severe bombing and near destruction of the St Giles Cripplegate ward during the war).
A list of the sources cited in Hall's extracts appears below. It is wide ranging, from the Little Directory of London of 1677 (the oldest list of merchants and bankers of London) through to copious entries from the London Gazette (the first real newspaper appearing in November 1665 and which survives today as a record of official appointment). It also includes extensive research undertaken on London booksellers, printers, signboards and the historical Survey of London initiated by the then London County Council and now under the auspices of English Heritage and the Centre for Metropolitan History (with the volumes available online on the British History Online website). There are many references to State Papers Domestic from The National Archives for the reigns of Charles II, James II and William and Mary (calendars can be found on British History Online) and on the State Papers Online website (institutional subscription required).
Interspersed amongst the typewritten street by street listing in the original 8 binders are more fascinating commentaries extracted from the Gazette in Mr Hall's neat meticulous script:
30th April to 4 May 1685
Lost at their Majesties Coronation the Button of his Majestiey's Scepter, set about with 24 small Diamonds, three Rubies and three Emeralds: A Pendant Pearl from His Majesties Crown about 9 Carnets or common Grains and about 16 great Links of Gold Chain, Whoever gives notice thereof to the Officers of His Majesties Jewell House shall be well rewarded.
10 March to 13 March 1689/90
John Pinder lately Assistant at the German Hat house on Tower-hill , now lives in Westmerland Court in Bartholomew Close where the Men may be Sweated and Cupped on Saturdays and Women on Wednesdays with good Accommodation
3 March to 6 March 1689/90
There are lately come over to Mr Lanes's at the White Hart in Abchurch Lane near Cannon Street, 700 of the choicest German Canary Birds of several Colours, which are to sold at reasonable rates.
Val Scadengs skill in editing Hall's work for publication as a database and as typescript volumes for the Society is much appreciated and we should apologise for our tardiness in bringing this remarkable work to the attention of Society members. We hope it aids anyone researching London ancestors in this fascinating period.