Moving on a few decades from the Restoration, my next featured book is Maureen Waller’s 1700 Scenes From London Life. By this time, Captain Thomas Bowrey had settled into married life in Wapping. Alongside his business documents relating to his East Indies trade, some of his more domestic papers have survived. Although they do not supply a full picture of an early eighteenth century household – there are many accounts from his tailor but none from Mary’s dressmaker – his archive also contains records of the property he owned including housing and a china shop.
Maureen Waller’s book with its detail of the life of Londoners at the time is a useful companion to Thomas’ domestic records allowing me to bring alive the life of his household. It was an exciting time to live in London, a city that had recovered from civil war, plague and fire to have become the most magnificent city in Europe. It was this city that Thomas helped supply with the exotic luxuries that the capital craved. His ships were included in the floating forest on the Thames.
1700 describes the life Thomas lived, the coffee shops he frequented, the Exchange where he did business and the city around him. It is another invaluable member of my bookshelf.