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A Hosier near Hungerford Market: Ann Hodgson and her Partnership in Trade

On 15 October 1718, Ann Hodgson ‘next the one Ton Tavern near Hungerford Market in the Strand’ took out an insurance policy for her goods and merchandise as a hosier.[1] No specific value for her stock was recorded but Sun Fire Office insurance policies usually covered goods worth up to £500 in this period (the modern equivalent of around £58,000), providing a sense of the scale of her trade.

A search for further sources relating to Ann Hodgson revealed a will proved on 28 April 1725, which confirmed Hodgson’s occupational title as a hosier and her continued residence in the parish of St Martin-in-the-Fields.[2] She also included further details about her work, stating:

James Loggan of the parish of St. Martins in the Fields aforesaid is and hath been for many years a partner with me in the Stock and Trade I follow and all the stock, book Debts and other Debts in Trade do belong to me and the said James Loggan. My will is that after my decease a true account and valuation shall be made of all the Stock in Trade, Debts and ready money and that they be equally Divided between the said James Loggan and my Executrix and Executor herein after named.

Tracing early modern business partnerships is not always straightforward, particularly those partnerships forged between men and women. However, the connection between Ann Hodgson and James Loggan has provided some intriguing insights into their working relationship and how women sought to protect their interests when engaged in trade. In her will, Ann Hodgson explicitly acknowledged her business partnership with James Loggan, stating that it had been in place for a considerable time and that any goods and outstanding debts should be shared equally between them. Hodgson took the opportunity of making her will to place this information in writing and it also allowed her to provide instructions for how to divide their business assets after her death. Ann Hodgson was keen to assert her occupational identity and to protect her stock in trade, firstly by taking out an insurance policy in her own name, and secondly by delineating her claim to a joint business venture. These sensible precautions might protect from lawsuits or from loss through fire, particularly as there is no mention of any formal articles of agreement arranged between the two business partners.

A search for James Loggan also resulted in a will, though it reveals (rather confusingly) that he died a few months before Ann Hodgson, in December 1724. In his will, Loggan was described as a tailor, though no further mention was made relating to his trade. He did not explicitly discuss his partnership with Ann Hodgson but he did bequeath her £10, plus a mourning ring, and he also named her as one of his executors, requesting that she – along with James Range and Mrs Margaret Braman – ‘advise and assist’ his son James ‘in all his affairs’, confirming that she was a trusted friend and associate.[3] The timing of Ann Hodgson’s will appears to have been a response to an illness as she died less than two weeks after her will was witnessed. That it was written after James Loggan senior’s death seems to have been part of an effort to ensure that her claim to a share in her joint trade with Loggan was upheld. Indeed, Ann Hodgson remarked that she was ‘minded to settle my affairs’. She made bequests to her two sisters amounting to £150, and gave a further £50 to her niece, so it was imperative that the value of her estate could facilitate these legacies. One of the executors and recipients of Ann Hodgson’s remaining estate was Margaret Braman from the same parish of St. Martin-in-the-Fields. She appears to have been a mutual friend and neighbour of James Loggan and Ann Hodgson as she also acted as one of James Loggan’s executors. Margaret Braman was the widow of William Braman, a member of the Upholders’ Company, and continued in trade after her husband’s death, binding two more apprentices as a ‘Citizen and Upholder’ in the early 1720s.[4] This evidence shows that both Margaret Braman and Ann Hodgson were actively running businesses as part of wider socio-economic networks within their parish, and it suggests that they had established reputations as reliable business associates and executrixes. It was not particularly unusual for the widow of a livery company freemen to continue in business following the death of her husband but how did the partnership between James Loggan and Ann Hodgson come about? Loggan noted in his will that Ann Hodgson was unmarried and there is no evidence of any close kinship connections between them. Perhaps the complementarity of their trades ensured that Hodgson and Loggan could increase their profits by combining their resources, sharing shop space and customers? Such practical considerations may have overcome any sense of impropriety in a partnership between a single woman and a widower. However the partnership between Hodgson and Loggan was formed, there does appear to have been a difference in the way Ann Hodgson used her will to affirm her claim to stock and profits. Certainly, it would have been difficult to glean any economic connection between Loggan and Hodgson, if her will had not survived.

Ann Hodgson’s trade as a hosier required financial acumen as well as an understanding of the material quality of textiles and accessories. According to Joseph Collyer, hosiers must ‘know the buying and selling prices’ of the various types of stockings, whether made from silk, worsted or cotton. Some sold stockings wholesale and they also sold accessories such as night caps and gloves.[5] The stockings pictured below are brightly coloured and elaborately embroidered, indicating the many different styles that could be worn by eighteenth-century Londoners. Ann Hodgson probably sold more high-end stockings given that she took out an insurance policy for her goods. Moreover, insurance records show us that she was not the only female hosier working on the Strand in this period. Elizabeth Fettisplace was based near Durham Yard, just behind the New Exchange, and Elizabeth Partridge had a shop aptly named The Golden Leg with £500 worth of stock next to the Sun Tavern on the Strand.[6] Stockings were an essential component of everyday clothing for men and women, suggesting that it was possible for multiple hosier’s shops to survive in this location.

Stockings, 1720-1750 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Stockings, 1720-1750 © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The map below shows the location of Hungerford Market on the Strand.

Section of a map of the Parish of St Martin-in-the-Fields © The Trustees of the British Museum

John Strype described this area in 1720, giving us a contemporary insight into where Ann Hodgson and James Loggan sold their wares:

Hungerford Market, built on the Ground where stood a large but old House, with a Garden, the Seat of Sir Edward Hungerford, which he converted into Buildings, as it is, having a handsome Street out of the Strand, and leading into the Market; where there is a good Market-house, and over it is a French Church. This Market at first was, in all Probability, to have taken well, especially for Fruit and Herbs, as lying so convenient for the Gardiners to land their Goods at the Stairs, without the Charge and Trouble of Porters to carry them farther by Land, as now to Covent Garden Market: But being baulk’d at first, it turns to little Account, and that of Covent Garden hath got the Start; which is much resorted unto, and well served with all Fruits and Herbs, good in their Kind. By the One Tun Tavern, there is a Passage into Heley Alley, which falleth into Hungerford Market.

This description suggests that the One Tun Tavern and its neighbouring shop were just off the Strand, increasing the likelihood of footfall from the main street.[7]

Piecing together various sources offers opportunities to explore and contextualise the business run by Ann Hodgson and James Loggan. These are some initial impressions and further sources may yet come to light that will reveal more information once the archives reopen. Nevertheless, by performing a close reading of their wills, it is possible to show the strategies that Ann Hodgson employed to protect her stock in trade, whilst also locating her business on the Strand in the early eighteenth century.


[1] London Metropolitan Archives (LMA) CLC/B/192/F/001/MS11936/008.

[2] The National Archives (TNA) PROB 11/602/362 Will of Anne Hodgson, Hosier of Saint Martin’s in the Fields, Middlesex, 28 April 1725.

[3] TNA PROB 11/600/490 Will of James Loggan, Taylor of Saint Martin in the Fields, Middlesex, 17 December 1724.

[4] TNA IR1/8, f. 67; IR1/10, f. 38.

[5] J. Collyer, The Parent’s and Guardian’s Directory (London, 1761), p. 165.

[6] LMA CLC/B/192/F/001/MS11936/007; CLC/B/192/F/001/MS11936/015.

[7] J. Strype, A Survey of the cities of London and Westminster, Vol. II, Book VI (London, 1720), p. 76.

This blog post presents new research for my project ‘Shops on the Strand: women in business in early modern Westminster, 1600-1740’. Read more about the project here.


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