I referred to many of the books on this list whilst researching for this correspondence, although I did not use the information from all of them

Money, whence it came — where it went J.K. Galbraith
Transport in the industrial Revolution Edited by Aldcroft & Freeman M.U.P.
Spotlight on the Age of RevolutionMichael Gibson
Britain, Europe & Beyond, 1700-1900Martin Dickinson
The Illustrated Dictionary of British HistoryEdited by Arthur Marwick
As Good as GoldV.H.Hewitt & J.M. Keyworth — British Museum
The Makers of English HistoryEd. Norman Stone
The Penny Post 1680-1918Frank Staff (*)
Great Britain Post Roads, Post Towns & Postal RatesAlan W. Robertson (*)
British PostmarksAlcock & Holland (*)
Mailcoach Men of the 18th CenturyEdmund Vale (*)
History of EnglandCharles Oman (*)
(*) We have bought and own these books

This is the very helpful letter I received in reply to my request for information about Goodall and Alston of 97 Watling St, London.

Dear Mrs Shanahan,

Thank you for your letter dated the 15th July, concerning Messrs Goodall and Alston of 97 Watling Street, and for the copy of your article which appread in Stamp News Australasia.

I am sorry to say that the Haberdashers' Company lost its control of the trade during the late 18th century, and turned increasingly to charitable work and the administration of funds bequeathed in trust by its members to support such charitable aims. The Company today runs 8 schools and some housing for the elderly, as well as having the patronage of 11 church livings. Certainly the partners in the firm you mention would not have needed to belong to the Company to practise their trade.

I have checked our Register of Freedoms from 1800 onwards for both partners, but the only entry in either surname is for Montague Goodall, a Wholesale Stationer, of Linden House, The Grove, Highgate Road, Nw. This is obviously not your man.

However, I did also check the London Post Office Directory to see whether the firm was listed. There are some Alstons and Goodalls in the 1828 directory, but not the firm in Watling Street, so either they were just setting up at that time or the Post Office was behind with its information! They do not appear in the Additional Names section in the separate 1828-29 volume either, However, in the 1830 directory Goodall and Alston "Scotch Warehousemen" are listed at 97 Watling Street in the Commercial Section. In the 1831 Directory, T.S. Alston is listed alone at that same address, and this reflects the later correspondence which you said was addressed only to him. By cross referencing the Street Key section of this directory with the Commercial Section, we can reconstruct his immediate neighbourhood, which looked like this :-

Page 2

No. 90     Thos Storar & Co, Linen Merchants.

No. 91     J & C Rogers & Co, Warehousemen.

No. 92     Wm Williams, Warehouseman.

No. 93     Robt Mutrie, Gauze Manufacturer.

No. 94     Sherriff, Cobden & Co (or Sherriff, Cobden & Gillett), Muslin and Calico Printers.

No. 95     Johnson & Bulmer, Scotch Warehousmen.

No. 96     Richard Davies, Scotch Linen Warehouseman.


Alston is not in the 1832 directory, and in the 1833 directory 97 Watling Street is occupied by Joseph Scott, Shawl Manufacturer. The neighbours were the same as in Alston's time. Even the 1842 directory, some ten years on, shows few changes in the names of the firms of in the usage of the premises :-

No. 90     W. S & T Storar & Co, Warehousemen.

No. 91     Thomas Lowrey, Warehouseman,J C Rogers, Nephew & Co, Warehousemen.

No. 92     Hodgson & Walbran, Warehousemen. R. Murtrie, Fancy Silk and de laine agent.

No. 94     Sherriff, Gillett & Co, Calico Printers.

No. 95     Johnson, Bulmer & Johnson, Warehousmen.Also at 97

No. 96     Felkin Harrison & Felkin, Warehouseman, John Webb & Co, Lace Warehouse.


If you can get access to a good library, the Oxford English Dictionary may be helpful with some of the items you are trying to trace. For instance it defines a monteith as a coloured cotton Handkerchief with a white design, and refers to examples in :-

Caulfield & Saward Dictionary of Needlework (1882).

M B Picken Fashion Dictionary (1957).

A & NKL Clow & C Singer et al. History of Technology. Volume 4 (1958)

Page 3

Similarly, a habit-shirt was a kind of chemisette with a linen collar, worn by women under the outer bodice, and an example can be found in Planche's British Costume (1834)

It would be well worth your while to try the OED for other items because it does include some popular trade names, and the books it refers to may also help with a whole range of contemporary commodities. You might also like to write to the Menswear Association of Britain at 37 Cheval Place, London, SW7 1EW or to the Merchant Taylors' Company at Merchant taylors Hall, 30 Threadneedle Street, London, EC2 8AY, to see if either organisation can help you further.

No. 97 Watling Street does not exist as a separate unit now. The whole corner block on the north side of Watling Street, where it crosses New Change has been absorbed into No. 85; although Watling Street is very narrow in parts, New Change (which skirts St Pauls) is a dual carriageway with traffic lights at Cheapside. I very much doubt whether Goodall or Alston would recognise it!.

Yours sincerely,
Helen Bradley,

Other Sources :-
In Chapter Eight — the information concerning Bache's Boat at Coventry was supplied to me by Martin Roberts in an e-mail — quoting from West W.M. (1830): The History, Topography and Directory of Warwickshire. Wrightson. Pages 766 and 784.

I was also advised by Jo Keen in Tasmania that in the A to Z map of Coventry, Bishop St and Leicester Row are still there, and that Cheaping is from an old English word meaning market. It occurs in lots of place names, both in towns and in streets.

The postcards on the title page; Chapter Six; Chapter Nine; showing coaching, and those of the mail coaches, Francis Freeling, Postmen's uniforms are all taken from those we have bought from the National Postal Museum.

All the maps except the one drawn by myself have been adapted from those in Alan W Robertsons's book — see above bibliography

Title page

Table of Contents