|Diversification and the Decline of Trade
Considerable changes took place in the last quarter of the 18th Century.
On the one hand the Company flourished growing in both numbers and social status. The Company applied for and obtained a grant of Livery in 1763 and in 1793 it achieved the distinction of providing its first Lord Mayor of London – Sir Robert Peckham.
On the other hand by 1801 it was discovered that there was not one practising craftsman amongst the Company's membership. There is little doubt that this came about as a result of the greatly increased worldwide trade that was passing through the City. This in turn led to high rents and wages so that even those men who had started life as craftsmen were probably finding more lucrative employment for themselves or more profitable use for their premises.
In short, the craft had left the City and moved to the surrounding countryside. In November 1817 twenty-seven new Liverymen were admitted to the Company, amongst them were four drapers, four brokers, two grocers, two ship owners, two pawnbrokers and one fishmonger; there were no wheelwrights.