Blacksmiths' Company apprenticeships

The older records of this Company are deposited at the Guildhall Library.

The Court Minutes of the Blacksmith's Company start in 1605, with some apprenticeships from 1604 recorded, and full details concerning apprenticeships from as early as 1596 on which there were turnovers from 1605 and later. The first minute book (GL Ms 2881/1) contains Jun 1605 to Jul 1611 (apprenticeships 1604-11) and the second (GL Ms 2881/2) Jul 1611 to Sep 1617. There is then a gap before GL Ms 2881/3 which contains 1626-31 and GL Ms 2881/4 which continues with 1631-39. There is a parallel series of minutes, the first volume of which, GL Ms 2882/1, covering 1625-33, contains some entries not in the GL Ms 2881 series. Apprenticeships have been taken from these records from 1605 to 1632. Furthermore, some early freedom admissions by apprenticeship give details of parentage, where no record of the apprenticeship itself survives. Details of these entries have been included in the index. Occasionally, also, an early freedom admission has included details not given in the apprenticeship entry itself - these have also been added, without comment, in this index.

The regular series of apprenticeship registers of the Blacksmiths' Company runs from February 1631/2 to 1781 (GL Mss 2886/1-5) with a gap from May 1652 to February 1679/80. This gap has been partially filled from the Court Minute Books (GL Ms 2881/6 to Jul 1658 and GL Ms 2881/7 from Aug 1658 to Jun 1662 and Sep 1667 to Feb 1667/8). There are no Court Minute Books for the remainder of this gap, the regular series not resuming until 1686. Even for this period, entries are not detailed and only contain the names of the apprentice and of the master.

Details are not given in entries from mid-1776. Entries subsequent to 1776 have been taken from the Orphans' Tax Book 1747-1856 (GL Ms 2889/2), with further details added from the Court Minutes. However, again the Court Minutes 1766-78 (GL Ms 2881/14) merely state the number of apprentices bound. The succeeding volume for 1779-85 (GL Ms 2881/15) does give the names of the apprentices and the master from the beginning but no details until Mar 1781. The rough court minutes 1769-79 (GL Ms 2882/16) is similarly uninformative. From 1781 details have been added from Ms 2881/15 to the record and then from the following volume for 1785-1828 (GL Ms 2881/16).

There are 13,248 apprenticeships recorded in this index.