Wednesday, 28 January 2009

19 June 1739
Bout of Mr John Browning a Flute and Cane with China Head too 15/-

(don't I wish I had those two items to take to Sothebys!!)

25 June 1739
Bought of Mr Payne and Paid him for them
7½ yds of fine Barrigon for Coat & Breeches £1.17d6d
2 yds Broad Scarlett Serge Denim 13/-
4½yds fine Shallon
30 June
Paid Mr Payne for making Coat and 2 pair of Breeches and finding all Triming £1.14s

So Denim wasn't always blue. "Barrigon" doesn't seem to mean anything in English - I need to do some more investigation of that.

16 June 1739
Spent with Mr Porter at a Baudy House in Drury Lane for funn 2/-

Although this account is rather later, it refers to a House in just the same part of London

From the “Memoirs of William Hickey 1749-1775”

Writing of visits to bawdy houses, he says.
“In these houses we usually spent from three to four hours, drinking Arrack punch, or, as far as I was concerned pretending to do so, for being a composition I had an uncommon dislike to, I never did more than put the bowl to my lips, without swallowing a drop, and romping and playing all sorts of tricks with the girls. At a late or rather early hour in the morning, we separated, retiring to the private lodgings of some of the girls, there being only two that resided in the house, or to our homes, as the fancy led, or according to the state of finances”

23 September 1739
Cupping & Bathing at the Bageno in Newgate Street 5/-

Thomas had visited one of the first Turkish Baths in the country, though it had actually been in Newgate Street since 1679. In 1708, the charge was 4/- so either inflation or "Cupping" (still performed by alternative practitioners today) cost 1/-.
(source)Walter Thornbury, Old and New London (Thornbury & Walford) 1878
30 October 1739
Paid for part of a Boat with Mr Ashton and Mr Genison to see all the barges on Lord Mare's Day 12d and spent 12d

The Lord Mayor was Sir John Salter, who was a director of the East India Company. Portrait from the Fitzwilliam Museum collection...


  1. Thomas's spelling gotcha.

    Try barragon which was a cotton 'fustian of coarse quality strong and twilled, shorn of the nap before dying' On the other hand since he seems a bit of a dandy he may be writing about barracan which was a fine woolen worsted cloth, often batch dyed after weaving, which was felted by being boiled. I wonder if they boiled it in dye because otherwise you would think the color would go. It was used for coats and cloaks which needed to be somewhat water repellent. 100 years later barracan was called paragon cloth.

    Serge de nim was not denim as we know it which is a cotton woven from one white and one colored thread, it was classified as fustian and generally either cotton or linen and wool or silk blend.

    To add to the confusion a similar fabric to serge de nim made in Genoa Italy known as jean (woven from 2 colored threads) was a very popular import in the 16thC but being woven in Lancashire by the 17thC