The structure of industry in London, 1775-1825
This study sets out a quantitative overview of the economy of London during the period 1775 to 1825. A database has been constructed from the extant London Fire Office registers of 31,000 businesses trading either in the periods 1769-1777 or 1819- 1825, and in a few cases in both. Represented are over 1300 separate trades covering the entire spectrum of manufacturing, construction, wholesale and retail distribution, transport and the service sector. To complement this data, use has also been made of trade directories, bankruptcy files, trade card collections, Census data and contemporary literature on London trades, including career guides. In order to analyse trends over this period, the database uses a version of the modern Standard Industrial Classification modified by the author. The 1300 separate trades are grouped into 101 sectors within seven main divisions of the economy. The database includes the name(s) of the proprietors of the business, the address, the trade and details of the risks insured. From this it has been possible to present statistical evidence on a number of areas of controversy about the role of London during the Industrial Revolution. It is shown that London remained a major manufacturing centre throughout the period. It has also been possible to exemplify in detail the impact of the 18th century consumer revolution by charting the expansion and increasing diversity of the wholesale and retail distribution sectors. Finally, the Importance of the role of service industries in the economy of London has been established, with special reference to transport and catering.