Ironmongers' Company apprenticeships

The Ironmongers' were incorporated by charter in 1463 and is tenth in order of precedence among City Livery Companies.

The archives of the Company are deposited at the Guildhall Library. While there are early archives including apprenticeships, details of parentage and birthplace do not appear before 1655. This first register (Guildhall Library Ms 16,982/1) contains details of apprenticeships 1655-1740. Ms 16,982/1 also includes turnovers 1719-39 in a separate sequence. Ms 16,982/2 contains apprenticeships 1740-1810 (copied here to 1800 only) and turnovers (in a separate sequence) from 1741-51 and from 1773-1804. It would appear that turnovers before 1719 and between 1751 and 1773 were either never recorded or have not survived.

The social status of apprentices to the Ironmongers' was generally high. Sons of esquires, gentleman and clergymen abound, though there are the normal large numbers of sons of skilled artisans (especially members of other livery companies) and a few from labouring backgrounds. Some apprentices, usually from obviously wealthy backgrounds, were placed with masters described as being members of various trading (as opposed to Livery) Companies. The Companies mentioned are the East India Company, the Muscovy (or Russia) Company, the Eastland Company, the French Company, the Levant Company, the Turkey Company, the Hambro Company and the Royal African Company. In some cases also, a bond is noted as having been given, and this has been noted in the abstracts.

For a period in this company's records, any close relationship between apprentice and master is noted. While it is obvious from such clues as shared and unusual surname in other records that there was frequently a blood relationship, it is useful to have it confirmed, especially as uncles etc. might not share the same surname as the apprentice. Uncle is probably the most common relationship mentioned, but brothers, cousins and even grandfathers also appear.

The records of 2,826 Ironmongers' apprenticeships have been abstracted.

City of London Ironmongers Company Apprentices and Freemen 1511-1939