The Salters' Company Digital Archives

Welcome to The Salters' Company Digital Archives

The Salters’ Company existed in 1394 when it received a licence from King Richard II, but its exact date of formation is unknown, with the oldest surviving document in the Company’s archive collection dating from 1216.  Salters traded in salt and various chemical preparations, but as one of the smaller City of London Great Twelve Livery Companies, members have always been recruited from a variety of other trades and professions.

Contents of the Salters’ Digital Archives Website (see Browse section for full access)

NEW CONTENT – added in December 2023 + January 2024

·             Accounts, 1599-1600, 1659-1708.  (Note: in places these records are very faint and hard to read, most likely owing to water and fire damage sustained at the former Salters’ Hall in St. Swithin’s Lane during the Second World War Blitz.)

·             Court Minute Books, 1627-1747

·             Plan Book and Survey of the Salters’ Estates in the City of London, 1709-1814

·             Thomas Weston’s Salt Trade Books, 1778-1808

·             Will and Lease Book, compiled in 1611, including leases from 1560 and updated sporadically to 1668.

·             Lease Book, compiled c.1653, including one lease from 1593 and continued to 1701.

The Salters’ Company Court, or Court of Assistants, is similar to a board of trustees and led by the Master (a position normally held for one year, with ‘Election Day’ for the role taking place each June).  The Court Minute Books provide valuable detail on all aspects of Salters’ Company activities including its members, charitable activities, former estates and its role in the life of the City of London and beyond.

The 1709-1814 Plan Book and Survey focuses on the Salters’ former buildings and tenancies in the City of London.

Thomas Weston was a member of the Salters’ Company who took several apprentices, including two of his sons, from 1777 to 1790.  He was a leading member of a group of salt importers in the City of London who met regularly at the City coffee houses and at his house in Lower Thames Street to set prices and discuss the trade.  One of his principal suppliers was a Mrs Amelia Stewart, whose salt works were located at Great Salterns, on the Solent near Portsmouth.  The second salt trade book (X/TW/2) also records the annual purchase of lottery tickets and includes a list of ships importing salt.  At the back of the volume are annual lists of Captains’ names and the amounts owing to them, 1790-1799.

Content added in 2022

Prior to being digitised, the first tranche of archives to be made available to view on this site required a programme of intensive conservation work.  Thanks to generous financial support from The National Manuscripts Conservation Trust, the conservation project Salters’ Benefactors, Beneficiaries and Buildings, 1609-1929 came to life in 2018.  It was completed in 2020, and of most of the archives included in the project were digitised in 2022, as follows:

·         Distribution Book, 1609-1782

·         Distribution Book, 1783-1929

·         Book of Hyde’s Gifts, 1630-1692

·         A selection of 19th century petitions for financial assistance

·         View Reports of the Salters’ former City of London almshouses in Bow Lane, 1824-1863

·         View Reports of the Salters’ former City of London almshouses in Monkwell Street, 1824-1863

·         Plan Book of the Salters’ Estates in the City of London, 1829

The Distribution Books, the Book of Hyde’s Gifts, the petitions for assistance and the View Reports all provide wonderfully detailed insights into the charitable activities of a Great Twelve Livery Company and also of the beneficiaries of those activities.  As both the largest capital city in the UK and a major global city, London makes an ideal focus for specialist historical studies.  Furthermore, studies on past charitable activities are becoming ever more relevant in the 21st century, as are studies focussing on the lives of the poor in earlier centuries.

The 1829 Plan Book provides detailed information on the Salters’ former buildings and tenancies in the City of London.

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