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City Women in the 18th Century

Businesscard of an 18th-century fan-maker in the City of London
  • ​Free exhibition
  • 21 September - 18 October
  • Paternoster Square and Cheapside

In the 18th century, the Cheapside area was known for its luxury goods. Most of those goods were made on the premises, and among the manufacturers and shop owners were hundreds of women milliners, fan-makers, silversmiths, and scores of other trades. These women, all of whom were members of London’s livery companies, employed thousands more in their trades. Some of these elite employers produced highly ornamental trade cards to advertise their business, which are held by the British Museum. This outdoor exhibition shines a new light on the important role of women in commerce and manufacturing in the City in 18th century. Visitors can engage with a single trade card, or follow the 700-metre exhibition trail.

The project is supported by the City of London, Cambridge University, the British Museum, and Cheapside Business Alliance. Images courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum.

19 July 2019
Last Modified:
16 August 2019