City Women in the 18th Century - an exhibition of luxury businesses run by women in London

Research project
Early Modern History
Bowen Heal Whaleboneseller business card

'City Women in the 18th Century' was an open-air exhibition trail displaying the ornate business cards of women in luxury trades in Cheapside, the most expensive shopping street in the City of London. Curated in 2019 by Amy Erickson, it ran from St Paul's Cathedral in the west to the Royal Exchange in the east. Images, explanatory video and more at 

City Women in the 18th Century


London’s forgotten businesswomen



“I found it really refreshing that the research is presented in the actual locations.  So little remains of the actual buildings I think it is a great way of reminding us of the past importance of these sites … trade cards are … decorative so worked very well with other illustrations on the display posts. … thanks for promoting women in commerce in the city in such a groundbreaking way.”

“It is a wonderfully curated and presented piece - or should that be experience? It may well be the future of museum exhibitions - get us to walk the walk. Get moving - not inside but outside - not passive but active - and of course, I was drawn to read every word.”

“This work is a good corrective to the impression that the only way for women to make reasonable amounts of independent money then was on the stage &/or as a prince's lover.”