Hemel Hempstead Directory 1797



Old Herts


Hemel Hempstead


Description and Gentry

Traders, etc.

Attorney - one who acts for another. [Fisher's Dictionary, 1777] nowadays a solicitor

Bailiff - An officer that arrests, a steward [Fisher's Dictionary, 1777] (Hemel Hempstead was a Bailiwick - which allowed it to appoint a bailiff.)

Baker - One whose occupation is to bake bread, biscuit, etc. (Bakers would have a large oven with thick walls which was kept hot all the time. Some bakers may well have provided a service by roasting Sunday joints of meat.)

Basket Maker - Basket - A vessel made of rushes [Fisher's Dictionary, 1777] (Salter's Basket Shop was in Hemel High Street from 1870 until it closed in 1982.)

Blacksmith - A smith that works in iron, and makes iron utensils. (Not necessarily a farrier, q.v.)

Bone-setter - One whose occupation is to set and restore broken and dislocated bones. (While the one bone-setter listed was also a farrier, he may also have treated human patients.)

Bookseller - A dealer in books [Fisher's Dictionary, 1777]

Bowl-turner - maker of wooden bowls. (The poor may well have used wooden rather than pewter or china plates.)

Brazier - An artificer (skilled worker) who works in brass.

Brewer - One whose occupation is to prepare malt liquors

Bricklayer - One whose occupation is to build with bricks, a mason. (A builder)

Brick-maker (There is no good natural building stones in the area. Virtually all the private houses from the period that survive are brick - and there were beds of brick earth on the top of the hills - such as at High Street Green and Leverstock Green. See Brickmaking.)

Butcher - who kills meat [Fisher's Dictionary, 1777] (A butcher's shop would have the slaughterhouse behind - and pens to keep the fattened animals until needed.)

Carpenter - A workman in wood [Fisher's Dictionary, 1777]

Cooper - Maker of casks and barrels

Corn Dealer (Because of the importance of the Hemel Hempstead market, these undoubtedly dealt mainly, or exclusively in wheat.)

Currier - One who curries (dress, prepare for use), dresses, and colours leather, after it is tanned

Draper - one who sells cloth [Fisher's Dictionary, 1777]

Farmer - one who rents land, etc. [Fisher's Dictionary, 1777] (The term was almost certainly used in something close to its present day meaning and it is interesting how many farmers are listed. Pigot's directories, and the first Post Office Directories, either did not list, or under-represented farmers.)

Farrier - A smith who shoes horses, or a veterinary surgeon.

Gardener - One who manages a garden [Fisher's Dictionary, 1777] (We would probably call them market gardeners today.)

Glazier - one who makes glass windows [Fisher's Dictionary, 1777] (Two of the three glaziers listed were also plumbers. This is not surprising as it was impossible to make large sheets of glass so all the windows would have been leaded.)

Grocer - a dealer of sugars, etc. [Fisher's Dictionary, 1777] A trader who deals in tea, sugar, spices, coffee, liquors, fruits, etc.

Haberdasher - A dealer in many wares. [Fisher's Dictionary, 1777] A seller of small wares, such as ribbons, tapes, pins, needles and thread.

Hairdresser (Not to be confused with a barber. A barber originally bleed you - in the days when bleeding was a fashionable cure - which is why a red [blood] and white [bandages] pole is the sign of a barber.)

Inn Keeper - A tavern keeper. Inn - A house of entertainment for travellers [Fisher's Dictionary, 1777]

Ironmonger - A dealer in iron wares or hardware.

Leather cutter

Linen Draper - Linen - made of flax. [Fisher's Dictionary, 1777] Thread or cloth made of flax or hemp. Includes cambric, shirting, sheeting, towels, table-cloths, etc.

Maltster - one who deals in malt. Malt - barley prepared for brewing. [Fisher's Dictionary, 1777]

Mantua-maker - A ladies' dressmaker. Mantua - Woman's loose gown in 17th-18th century [Concise Oxford Dictionary]

Mealman - One that deals in meal [Fisher's Dictionary, 1777], usually wheat flour.

Miller (These would have been water mills on the River Gade, grinding corn to make flour.)

Milliner - A person, usually a woman, who makes and sells head-dresses, hats or bonnets, &c., for women.

Paper Maker (In the early 19th century the area became an important centre for paper making - particularly alongside the Grand Junction Canal at Apsley.)

Patten maker - Patten - A clog of wood standing on iron ring, worn to elevate the feet from the wet (and mud!).

Plumber - Plummer - one who works on lead. [Fisher's Dictionary, 1777] (There was no mains water in those days and lead would have been used for gutters,, etc., in roofing, glazing windows, )

Postmaster - Postboy - one who carries letters. [Fisher's Dictionary, 1777] (It is important to realise that there was a postal system before the introduction of the penny post in 1840.)

Saddler - one who makes saddles. [Fisher's Dictionary, 1777]

Salesman - a shopkeeper or auctioneer. [Fisher's Dictionary, 1777] {In context the later is the more likely, as no auctioneer is listed.]

Schoolmaster - he who teaches a school. [Fisher's Dictionary, 1777]

Shoemaker - one who makes shoes. [Fisher's Dictionary, 1777]

Shopkeeper - one who sells in a shop. [Fisher's Dictionary, 1777]

Smith - one who works in metals. [Fisher's Dictionary, 1777] see also blacksmith and whitesmith

Stage-wagon - A wagon which runs between two places for conveying passengers or goods. (Compare stage coach, where a long journey is broken into stages where the horses are changed for fresh ones.)

Surgeon - One who practices surgery - Surgery - the art of curing bodily diseases. [Fisher's Dictionary, 1777]

Tanner - one who tans leather. [Fisher's Dictionary, 1777]

Taylor - Tailor - one who makes men's cloaths. [Fisher's Dictionary, 1777]

Victualler - publican, provider of victuals. [Fisher's Dictionary, 1777] Where victualler is used without the name of a tavern it is not clear whether the word is used in the sense of tavern keeper or grocer.

Victualler - (in the sense) One who keeps a house of entertainment, a tavern keeper.

Watchmaker - who makes watches. [Fisher's Dictionary, 1777]

Wheelwright - A man who makes wheels and wheel-carriages, as carts and wagons.

Whitesmith - Worker in tin

Wool sorter

Wool stapler - One who deals in wool

If you can add to the information given above tell me.

Page changes January 2008