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Ann Collard (c. 1726 – 1778)

Ann Collard née Jacques was a haberdasher and milliner who worked on Bishopsgate Street in London in the eighteenth century. In 1747, aged around 21 years old, Ann married George Collard, a freemen of the Merchant Taylors’ Company, and the table below details the female apprentices bound to the Collard household between 1750 and 1773.[1] George Collard died in 1760 but Ann Collard continued in business and her will reveals that the couple’s first apprentice, Frances Jacques, was her sister, and that Elizabeth Collard, bound apprentice in 1769, was her daughter, indicating that this was a multi-generational, female-led family business.[2] The Merchant Taylors’ Company apprentice binding books show that Frances Jacques (and by extension her sister Ann) were from the market town of Coleshill in Warwickshire and that their father Thomas was a tanner. Frances Jacques sought the freedom of the Merchant Taylors’ Company in her own right in 1777, thereby confirming her ability to continue in trade in London, and she was described as a haberdasher living at number 36 Bishopsgate Street at that time, suggesting that she had lived and worked with her sister Ann for almost 30 years.[3]

Merchant Taylors’ Company apprentices in the Collard household
6 Feb 1750Frances JacquesGeorge Collard£30
4 Jun 1755Elizabeth BrayGeorge Collard£35
1 Jul 1761Mary ChurcheyAnn Collard£40
1 Aug 1764Mary RobinsonAnn Collard£40
13 Sep 1769Elizabeth CollardAnn CollardNil
4 Jul 1770Alice TattersallAnn Collard£40
5 Aug 1773Mary LongdenAnn Collard£40
Sources: Guildhall Library (GL) MS 34038/19-20, Merchant Taylors’ Company Apprentice Books 

Fortunately, further information about the business can be gleaned from a surviving trade card dating from the 1760s. This trade card confirms that the shop was at the sign of the ‘Lamb and Sun’ and was located on the corner of Great St. Helen’s in Bishopsgate Street. In 1773, John Noorthouck noted that Great St Helen’s was ‘a handsome large court’ and ‘well inhabited’, and that the north end of Bishopsgate Street itself had retained its character by escaping the Great Fire of London, and a later fire that destroyed the south end in 1765.[4] Though Ann Collard’s occupational identity was given as ‘haberdasher and milliner’ in the Merchant Taylors’ Company records, the trade card specified ‘Haberdasher’, suggesting that this was Ann Collard’s choice of nomenclature. Her trade was large enough to offer wholesale wares, most likely in hats, along with other related items of haberdashery. Ann Collard was certainly wealthy at the time of her death as she left her daughter Elizabeth £325 in ‘four Per Cent Consolidated Bank Annuities’ and a further £500. To her son George Collard, she forgave a debt of £500. She also bequeathed her sister Frances 20 guineas for mourning.[5]

DRAFT Trade card of Ann Collard, haberdasher, Heal,70.40 © The Trustees of the British Museum

Ann Collard’s daughter Elizabeth married James Collard Esquire, who was ‘moneyer’ of the Royal Mint, in 1776, and her will dated 1842 shows that she lived in Walthamstow and left substantial bequests including ‘my Household furniture farming and and Garden implements and live stock’ to her nephew Thomas Collard.[6] This indicates that though Elizabeth Collard was well-placed to continue in trade as a haberdasher after her mother’s death, she instead managed a farm in Walthamstow in widowhood. There is a monument to James (d. 1790) and Elizabeth Collard at St Mary’s Church in Walthamstow to mark where they were buried.


[1] London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) DL/A/D/004/MS10091/088/001, Marriage Allegations, 1747-1748, fol. 132.

[2] The National Archives (TNA) PROB 11/1043/315, Will of Ann Collard, Widow of Bishopsgate Street, City of London, 18 July 1778.

[3] GL MS 34018/8, Merchant Taylors’ Company Freedom Register, 1731-1782, 6 August 1777.

[4] J. Noorthouck, A New History of London Including Westminster and Southwark (London, 1773), p. 554.

[5] TNA PROB 11/1043/315.

[6] LMA DL/A/D/24/MS10091E/089, Marriage Bonds, 1776; TNA PROB 11/1960/329, Will of Elizabeth Collard, Widow of Walthamstow, Essex, 29 April 1842; TNA PROB 11/1201/1, Will of James Collard, Moneyer of Walthamstow, Essex, 19 February 1790.


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