Spectaclemakers' Company apprenticeships

The records of this company are deposited at the Guildhall Library. The Company obtained its first charter in 1629, but surviving court minutes do not begin until 1666. From the beginning the court minutes give details of apprenticeships; the first apprenticeship register as such (Guildhall Library Ms 6031/1) only gives details for a couple of years. The first court minute book (GL Ms 5213/1) covers 1666-95, and details have been culled up to 1800 from its successors (GL Ms 5213/2 1695-1738; GL Ms 5213/3 1739-84; GL Ms 5213/4 1784-1821). The first minute book contains a few details of turnovers and grants of freedom referring to people apprenticed before the beginning of now extant records and these have been noted. There are a few gaps in the record, 1678-81 and 1684-89 and few details are given for surviving entries 1682-94. GL Ms 6031/1 contains, inter alia, an apprenticeship register of the Spectaclemakers' Company from 1694 into the nineteenth century. However details of the paternity of the apprentice is only given for a very few entries, those to 1696. Entries in this register have been silently incorporated in these abstracts.

In 1759, a court minute records special action taken to encourage membership, especially by non-spectaclemakers. The number of apprenticeships shows a marked increase from 1760, presumably in reaction to this.

The records of 829 Spectaclemakers' apprenticeships have been abstracted.