City Women in the 18th Century Exhibition

22 August 2019

This new exhibition of the trade and business cards of eighteenth- century women reveals their important economic role across London’s Cheapside. Recent research has demonstrated the prominence of women plying a trade at the heart of commercial London. These women were single, married, and widowed: marital status made little difference to their gainful employment in the city. They traded because they had valuable skills and capital assets. These women were entrepreneurs and they involved themselves in a multiplicity of commercial activities.

The extent of their activity and the fortunes of various individual women are chronicled in this free outdoor exhibition presenting new research in the British Museum collections as well as the records of the City of London and its various guilds.

From business cards produced by women, displayed in the vicinity of where they originally ran their shops, visitors will be exposed to the diverse and complex economic role of City Women in eighteenth-century London. Additionally, views of Cheapside and details of the trades conducted there by both women and men will chart the area’s contribution to the exploding commercial economy across the century.

The free exhibition, stretching over a 700-metre route from Paternoster Square to the Royal Exchange, will be available to view from 21st September to 18th October 2019.

For more information see