On This Day: 24 July 1702

On this day in 1702, Luttrell Gifford sent his bill for export goods to Thomas Bowrey. This related to items to be carried on the Resolution to be sold in the East Indies.

The voyage of the Resolution appears to be a rare successful Bowrey trading venture. However, I suspect that the picture is clouded because papers for voyages that met with a disaster of some description are more likely to have survived.

These lists of export goods are always interesting for the light they throw on early English manufacturing. They also raise the question of the intended market for the goods. Unlike the East India Company, Bowrey’s exports appear to be intended for (what we would now call) the expat market.

The goods purchased from Gifford included familiar items such as birdcages in boxes, clocks, dishes, candlestick and pictures as well as more mysterious items including blowbirds (possibly some type of whistle?) and, especially, maidenheads (for which Google has been no help). Maidenheads came very cheap in the early eighteenth century – just nine pence (the equivalent of less than £6 today) for six dozen!

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