Three Canterbury shopkeepers in 1792

In the year 1792, three Canterbury shopkeepers had advertising bills printed announcing the goods they were offering for sale: a draper, a grocer, and a soap merchant. The survival of printed ephemera of this sort is very patchy. Just think of all the advertising leaflets which you throw away after they drop through your letterbox, instead of filing them for future reference! These three items were previously unknown apart from a brief entry on the Canterbury Cathedral Archives catalogue. They have now been recorded on the British Library’s English Short-Title Catalogue (ESTC) of English printing up to the year 1800 which has very little of this sort of material.

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According to the Cathedral Archives catalogue (reference CCA-CC/W/28/11), these documents were ‘Sent to Canterbury Library by W H Fisher of Chilham in 1956. Found with Chilham parish papers.’ They all have an ink stamp on the verso reading ‘Canterbury Public Library Reference Dept.’ and are now part of the City of Canterbury deposit at the Cathedral Archives. Each sheet has a date noted on the verso ‘Bills. March 1792’ (and ‘July 1792’, ‘August 1792’, ‘September 1792’ and ‘December 1792’) suggesting that someone in the Canterbury area at date time was keeping a systematic record of printed ephemera of this sort, possibly one of the newspaper proprietors. Each piece measures approximately 25 x 19 cm and will have been printed as a quarter of a fairly large sheet of printing paper (super-median or crown paper, measuring around 50 x 38 cm).

The advertisements dated March, July and August 1792 were both printed in Canterbury by the firm of Simmons, Kirkby and Jones.  

Giraud, (late Elwyn and Giraud,) grocer, tea-dealer, wax, spermaceti and tallow chandler, Canterbury, sells the undermentioned articles wholesale and retail.
[List of items sold in 3 columns].
[Canterbury] : Printed by Simmons, Kirkby, and Jones, 1792. [1] p., ¼°.
ESTC T507395.

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It lists a range of nine types of tea, four types of coffee, six types of sugar, also figs, prunes, raisins, and much more. He also stocked soap, vinegar, sealing wax, cheese and butter, and snuff and tobacco. The Universal British directory of trade, commerce, and manufacture of about the same date records a Richard Giraud as ‘grocer, tallow-chandler and teaman’ and a freeman of Canterbury. He can be identified as Richard Herve Giraud (1769–1849), a member of a local Huguenot family, born in Preston, Faversham, Kent, son of the Rev. Francis Frederick Giraud, vicar of Preston next Faversham. He was married in 1791 and presumably felt the need to advertise his shop on starting up in trade.

In July 1792 our anonymous collector of trade bills received an advertisement for the soap warehouse of William Ansell, also printed in Canterbury by the firm of Simmons, Kirkby and Jones. There is a second copy of this document with dated ‘August 1792. These premises were situated in Palace Street ‘opposite the Red Pump’, apparently a building on the corner of Palace Street and Orange Street. An advertisement in the Kentish Gazette for Friday 5 October 1787 suggests that Ansell had set up an independent business at that address.  

Wm. Ansell, at his soap, candle, tea and grocery warehouse, &c. opposite the red pump, Palace Street, Canterbury, most respectfully informs his customers and the public, that they may be supplied with soap, &c. wholesale and retail, at the following prices, for ready money.
[Canterbury] : Printed by Simmons, Kirkby and Jones, 1792. [1] p., ¼°.
ESTC T507396

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Ansell sold soap and also candles and butter, wholesale and retail. A hundredweight of mottled soap could be purchased for 60 shillings wholesale, or 7 (old) pence a pound retail. He also offered to buy ‘melted tallow, kitchen stuff, and foul grease, on liberal terms’. In today’s world he would probably also be dealing in chip shop fat for conversion to fuel for public transport vehicles. He is listed in the Universal British directory of trade, commerce, and manufacture simply as a grocer.

In September 1792, H. Croasdill also issued a trade advertisement. He was a draper at the Linen Drapery Warehouse in the High Street, opposite the Red Lion Inn. This inn was demolished in the early nineteenth century when the new Guildhall Street was created to ease the traffic flow to the north of Canterbury. The warehouse was situated across the road from the inn, in the building now occupied by either Holland and Barrett, Vision Express Opticians or Pizza Hut.

Cheap and fashionable printed cottons, muslins, irishes, &c. at Croasdill’s Linen Drapery Warehouse, opposite the Red Lion Inn, High-Street, Canterbury.
[Canterbury, 1792]. [1] p., 1/4°
ESTC T507394

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The main text starts: ‘H. Croasdill returns his thanks to his customers for the flattering encouragement he has received, and assures them it will always be his study to merit their future approbation.’ The top section of the page was re-issued iwith the manuscript date ‘December 1792’.

This is a less modern-looking advert than the other two, with a large block of continuous text below the display heading. It was probably printed by one of the other local firms, as it does not resemble the two adverts printed by Simmons, Kirkby and Jones.

Who was H[enry] Croasdill? It is a very unusual name and I have been unable to find another contemporary reference to him. There was a John Furley Croasdill at the King’s School in 1833, and members of the family are recorded in the Westgate area later in the nineteenth century. The name appears to be a variant of Croasdell or Croasdale, a place name in the Bowland Forest in Lancashire. It is possible that Henry Croasdill’s business career in Canterbury was short-lived.

David Shaw

Images: courtesy of the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury.


An attempt to acquire a book for Canterbury Cathedral Library in 1628

In 1628 Dr Isaac Bargrave, Dean of Canterbury since 1625, proposed to Chapter that the Cathedral’s Library needed reviving. At the June meeting of Chapter, an order was approved for this purpose :

That every man should do his endeavour to refurnish the ancient library of the said church. And that a book of velume should be provided wherein the names of the Benefactors should be registered, and that the two upper most deskes should be instantly fitted for the receipt of such books as shall be first given to the encouragement of so good a work.

(Chapter Acts, CCA DCc-CA/4: 1608–1628, fol. 304v;
transcription from Woodruff and Danks, Memorials of the Cathedral and Priory of Christ in Canterbury, London: 1912, p. 388)

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Canterbury Cathedral Library’s five copies of the 1763 Baskerville Bible

File:John Baskerville (1706–1775) by James Millar.jpeg
John Baskerville

In 1758 John Baskerville, a Birmingham printer and businessman, decided to launch a project to print a large folio Bible, of the sort needed for lecterns in churches, using a new typeface which he had designed. This new type had caused a great stir in 1757 when he used it to print an edition of the poems of Virgil on expensive wove paper.

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Printed books surviving from Canterbury medieval libraries

By the year 1500, the printing industry was over forty years old and had spread to all the major centres of Europe. Many institutional libraries were starting to add printed books to their collections and were even discarding manuscript copies from their shelves in favour of the new ‘modern’ products of the printing press. It is not easy to document this process from surviving books as many must survive without any indication of their original owner, whether personal or institutional. It is still the case that relatively few British libraries have fully researched and made available the provenances of items in their collections, though this situation is slowly improving.

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A military guard for the Canterbury Playhouse in 1744

While looking for something else in the Cathedral Treasurer’s Book for 1743/44 (CCA-DCc-TB/79), I came across the following entry on page 68:

Expensa incerta
Nov 9   Given to the Soldiers who guarded the Play-house Nov: 5. to keep off the Mob from rushing on the Dean & Prebs whilst the Kings Scholars were acting before them the Tragedy of Cato.                                                              [£] – 10-6 Read more

The dung heap in St George’s Lane

Wheels_1In 2005 an old friend, the late Kenneth Pinnock, published a small autobiographical booklet called Wheels: A Boy in Canterbury in the 1920s. He described the premises of his father’s horse-drawn haulage, taxi and bus business in St George’s Lane with its stable block in the Mews:

an acre or thereabouts of yards, stables and garages stretching from the main entrance on Watling Street to the double doors at the rear which faced down St George’s Lane. Adjoining this rear entrance there was a collection of tarred timber buildings in Gravel Walk which seemed to have come straight out of some farmyard.
(Kenneth Pinnock, Wheels, 2005, p. 4.)

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Did Canterbury Cathedral Library chain its books in the seventeenth century?

The seventeenth-century library
(D. Stoker)

The Treasurer’s Book for 1676/1677 (CCA DCc/TB-13) has several records of payments relating to the Chapter Library which had been newly built ten or twelve years earlier. The half-yearly stipend for Arthur Kay the Library Keeper is recorded as £2–10–0 and that of his deputy John Sargenson as £1–0–0 (p. 61). Under the heading Expensae necessariae incertae (Necessary miscellaneous expenses, p. 77), Dr Peter Du Moulin, the Treasurer for that year, records for 19 January 1677 the payment of five shillings ‘For halfe yeares wages to ye woman that cleanseth ye Library’ together with a further two shillings ‘For mops & brooms &c for the Library’. There then follows a similar small payment of two shillings ‘For taking off the chains from the books’. Read more

From prison in Philadelphia to a canonry at Canterbury Cathedral

The Rev. Dr Thomas Coombe (1747–1822) was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where his father was health officer of the port of Philadelphia. He was educated at the Academy and College of Philadelphia (now the University of Pennsylvania) taking his bachelor’s degree in 1766 and master’s degree in 1768. The College’s founding president was Benjamin Franklin, a friend of Coombe’s father.

36 Craven Street, London
(Wiki Commons)

Thomas Coombe then travelled to England to seek ordination in the Church of England, staying for a time in London with Benjamin Franklin at his house at 36 Craven Street (near present-day Trafalgar Square) when Franklin was serving as the London agent for the Pennsylvania Assembly and then as Postmaster for the British North American colonies. Read more

Financial record-keeping at Canterbury Cathedral in the late 17th century

Unlocking the Chest: financial record-keeping at Canterbury Cathedral in the late 17th century

Seventeenth-century chest in Canterbury Cathedral

At the St Katherine’s Audit each November, the Dean and Chapter drew up an account of the Cathedral’s wealth in a single sheet document headed ‘The State of the Church’. The Cathedral Archives has a continuous series of these records from 1679 to 1712 (DCc/SC1-32; 1680 is missing). Read more