Manuscripts and Special Collections

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In the City

The development of banks and commerce, the physical growth of cities as they expanded, and the life style pursued by wealthy town dwellers are all recorded in research sources.

An idealised perspective of 'Kings Square in Sohoe' shows a railed garden in the middle of the square. It was drawn up in connection with proposed improvement in 1748 and survives in the archive of the Dukes of Portland, formerly the proprietors.

From 1818, an illustration of the Royal Exchange provides a fitting symbol of the world of commerce. It appears in Thomas Mortimer, 'A grammar, illustrating the principles and practice of trade and commerce; for the use of young persons intended for business' - one of many publications aimed at the growing numbers of young men who found employment in towns and cities.

An expanding urban middle class, with money and social aspirations, meant new customers for firms such as Edward Thomason of Birmingham, who supplied plated cutlery and dinner wear. The Thomason letterhead is a reminder of the success of mid-19th century manufactures, which met the consumer demands from London and beyond.

Lieutenant Colonel Marriott, who was going abroad on military service, bought two sets of beef steak dishes from Thomason.

Further sources relating to this subject area are held by Manuscripts and Special Collections at King's Meadow Campus. See our website for information about our collections and catalogues.

Soho Square Gardens Zoom in

Soho Square Gardens

The Royal Exchange Zoom in

The Royal Exchange

Bill for steak dishes Zoom in

Bill for steak dishes

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