ID: 18199
1250.00
Account books for the failed scheme to establish a Westminster Fish Market off Cannon Row in 1750-1752,

MANUSCRIPT: WESTMINSTER FISHERIES,, Account books for the failed scheme to establish a Westminster Fish Market off Cannon Row in 1750-1752, recording sums paid by subscribers in support of the market and the codsmacks and other vessels supplying it.

The collection comprises: (i) Register of Deeds, headed Register of Deeds &c belonging to the Subscribers for Encouraging Industrious Poor Fishermen and better supplying Westminster Fish Market with Fish>, comprising nearly 70 entries, the first made between the subscribers and 'Richard Hunt of Harwich Essex Fisherman' advancing 'three fourth parts of the Value of a Fishing Vessel of 55 Ton & furniture', 8 October 1750, some entries deleted in red ink on repayment or on inclusion in a subsequent bond, 19 pages, original vellum boards inscribed '1750/ Westminster Fishery/ Register of Deeds &c -', bowed, small 4to., 1750-52. (ii) Account book headed An Account of all Monies Received upon the Subscription for Encouraging Industrious Poor Fishermen and better supplying Westminster Fish Market with Fish>, recording payments made to various cod and trawling vessels being built or fitted out, between October 1750 and April 1752, 22 pages, in an original stationer's notebook by Thomas Willson of White's Alley, Chancery Lane, upper wrapper with an engraving of George Prince of Denmark (consort of Queen Anne), light rubbing etc., small 4to., 1750-52. (iii) Account book for the codsmacks 'Onslow' and 'Henry and Mary', headed An acco.t of all Monies Rece.d & Paid by Hugh Griffith by Order of the Honble Subscribers for encouraging Westm.n Fish Market &c.>, recording the expenses incurred in refitting the codsmacks at Gravesend, providing drinks for the men, etc., with reversed at the end accounts for the purchase of the two vessels ('Onslow' at 390, 'Henry and Mary' at 210), 11 pages, original vellum wrappers, small 4to., 1752. (iv) Account book containing another copy of the same accounts for the 'Onslow' and 'Henry and Mary', 10 pages, in an original stationers's notebook by Thomas Willson of White's Alley, Chancery Lane, upper wrapper with an engraving of The Sailor's Farewell>, light rubbing etc., small 4to.

The Westminster Fish Market had been set up by Act of Parliament, 22 Geo.II.cap.49, and had been due to upon by 24 June 1749. After some delay, the Commissioners of Westminster Bridge allocated a piece of ground near Cannon Row and the market was built. But it was not a success: 'As to the new market at Westminster, the best means were used, the trustees could think on, to put this part of the act into execution, they soon provided the place, and, in order to open it with some assurance to the retailers, that it should be well supplied, many of themselves, with several of the inhabitants of Westminster, raised, by subscription, a large sum of money, for purchasing fishing vessels, to be employed solely, in fishing for the constant supply of this new market, but so great was the influence of the fishmongers, as well as the fishermen, and others below bridge, over those who were employed as masters in these fishing vessels, that, although they were bound under the strongest covenants and penalties, they broke through them all, some running away from their vessels, others neglecting their duty in their fishing, and others stopping short, and selling their fish at Billingsgate, and giving no account for the money. Thus the market was baulked in its opening, the buyers, who would have kept to it, were, obliged to desert it, and, as to the subscribers, they lost the best part of their money' [The London Fishery Laid Open>, London, 1759, pp.35-6].