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Posted by Guy Fairbank on 12th May 2020 in History | hudson bay,trading,city of london,bishopsgate,canada,hudson's bay company,north america,radisson,charles II,hasilwood house,skinners,beaver,winnipegIn the mid 1600s two Frenchmen, the grandly named Médard Chouart, Sieur des Groseilliers (1618-1696) and his brother-in-law Pierre Ésprit Radisson (c. 1640-1710), were exploring the vast interior of what is now northern Canada. Working their way inland via the many rivers that flow into Hudson Bay, they came across a wealth of fur, in particular on a rodent with a large paddle-shaped tail and prominent teeth. “Ideal for coats,” they reported, and went to find a backer. Their fellow countrymen in Québec and France showed little interest but the English settlers were far more receptive. The two intrepid trappers travelled to England and managed to ga...
Posted by fairbankguy on 5th April 2018 in Design | coade,coade-stone,tours,walks,mrs coade,skinners company,lambeth,watermen,vintners,lion brewery,twiningsHow many times have you crossed Westminster Bridge and gazed up at the large Lion Brewery feline on the southern end of the bridge? Or admired the two Chinese figures above the doorway to Twining’s in the Strand? Both sculptures were the product of a remarkable businesswoman by the name of Eleanor Coade. She was born in 1733 in Devon, the daughter of an unsuccessful wool merchant. In her thirties she headed for London and began to set up her own drapery business. She added the title ‘Mrs’ as a courtesy as it was highly unusual at the time for an unmarried woman to run their own company. Before long Mrs Coade had gone into partnership with a Da...