Cooks' Company apprenticeships

The early records of the Company are deposited at the Guildhall Library. However, many records were damaged by fire in 1771; although they have been conserved and repaired, there are some periods when they have been sufficiently damaged that there has been loss of information. Fortunately there are some alternate sources which help fill many of the gaps. In other cases part of the information within individual entries is still missing and these are indicated by an ellipsis '...' in the appropriate places of the abstract. The exact dates of many entries are uncertain, and therefore many are marked, e.g. cOct 1720.

The Cooks' archive is a complicated one. The first register of apprenticeships (Guildhall Library Ms 9995) is marked and listed as covering 'ca1656-94', the starting date being uncertain due to damage at the beginning of the register. However, closer examination as part of the process of generating these abstracts makes it clear that some information survives for apprenticeships from 1654. A series of court minutes starts with a volume covering 1663-1682 (GL Ms 3111/1), but there is a substantial gap until 1738 when the next volume (GL Ms 3111/2) starts, which volume continues to 1784. GL Ms 3111/3 continues to 1807, but has only been abstracted here to the end of 1800. From 1689 to 1745 there survive another series of court minutes (GL Ms 9994/1-5). GL Ms 9994/1 and 9994/3-5 are draft minutes; GL Ms 9994/2 is a fair copy (from 1690-93). GL Ms 9994/4 has been misbound so that several places are out of chronological order. GL Ms 9994/5 though covering 1724-45 has been wrongly labelled on the outside 1724-25.

These records can be further supplemented by the register kept of payments of the Orphans' Tax (GL Ms 3114); covering the period 1694-1861, this only gives the bare names of the parties, but is a useful check on the completeness of the other records, and has been used extensively (and silently) to supply missing information. In some cases, only the entry in the Orphans' Tax register survives. These (comprising some 42 entries) have been checked against the Apprenticeship indexes at the Society of Genealogists, and any details found there included. It is in line with the experience of similar checks in regard to other companies, that only ten of these apprenticeships were found recorded. Records with extra information from this source have been asterisked in the abstracts.

By the Charter of 1664, confirmed by an act of council in 1753, any freeman exercising the trade of cook was to be translated from their own company to the Cooks' Company.

The records of 3,073 Cooks' apprenticeships have been abstracted.