Journal 18 (2005) – Out of Print



The Warning Carriers

In the eighteenth century messengers from the Goldsmiths’ Company criss-crossed London bringing urgent news of the latest thefts and other crimes to the city’s goldsmiths, bankers, watchmakers, pawnbrokers and jewellers.

A notebook dating from about 1730, held in the archives of the Goldsmiths’ Company for over 250 years but only now the subject of research, contains intriguing information about these messengers, known as Warning Carriers, and the work they undertook. Judy Jowett’s investigations into this document, which lists some of the most renowned craftsmen of the day (and many more hitherto unknown to historians), have brought to light a remarkably efficient system of communication. This book will fascinate all who are interested in eighteenth-century London and provides insights into the workings of its luxury trades at that time.

The background to the warning system is fully explained and maps plot the messengers’ routes to nearly 550 addresses, while other contemporary documents have been searched for details of each business. The role of the Warning Carriers is brought to life and the way the various trades clustered in different parts of London revealed. Judy Jowett is a member of the Silver Society. Hers is the first major research project carried out under the aegis of the Society.