Cork Merchants and the Cork Trade
My family history
has been traced back as far as the founding couple of a Cork Merchant
business in Dover, UK. This couple were married in Uttoxeter where
they both declared themselves to be Cork Cutters, logically working
for another Cork Merchant at that early time in the 1860's.
In trying to
trace more about this couple, I've been looking at Cork Cutters
in the UK, and this page aims to share some of that information,
and appropriate links to help others with Cork Cutters in their
Cork come from?
Cork is the bark of the cork oak tree. The bark is still removed
today in a traditional manual way, carefully peeling off the thick
bark layer every 10 years. The tree is then left to regrow the bark,
allowing future harvesting from the same cork oak tree.
If you have a Cork Cutter in your ancestry, this will be a person
who was paid to cut bottle stopping "corks" from the strips
use and trade
If you've not
noticed the declining use of cork, take a look at your wine rack
and you'll probably notice the use of screw caps for many bottles.
As you open bottles you may also notice many non-screw caps use
a synthetic "cork" stopper instead of the traditional
Corks have been
completely replaced in most bottles, with wine remaining the last
real use of the traditional cork stopper (previously medicine bottles,
perfumes etc.. would be stoppered by a traditional cork stopper.
This wide use saw the Cork Merchant and Cork Cutter become a common
occupation in the UK.
Beyond the reduced
usage of cork, the trade has also been hit by mechanical advances
which have seen the ability to punch highly accurate corks from
bark stripes very quickly, and with minimal labour effort.
searching Cork Merchant/Cork Cutters
I've found information
on the Internet on Cork Cutters and Cork Merchants, but one of the
big challenges is that searches often return information on the
city of Cork in Ireland. I therefore remember you use the exclude
option on any search engines to exclude the word "Ireland",
assuming of course that your family isn't associated to Ireland!
This will help refine your searches.
Historical Cork Merchants in UK
I intend to reference any Cork Merchants or Cork Cutters I come
across in my search below. Please note this is by no means a thorough
list. Below information may be of particular
use to those looking in Uttoxeter or Kings Lynn, as these are my
From History, gazetteer, and directory of Norfolk, and the city
and county of the city of Norwich (1845)(on
CORK CUTTERS. (NORWICH)
Briggs Wilson, St Paul's opening
Robinson Ann, Bridge st. St George's
Rose George, 68 St Stephen's st
Smith Alexander, Union place
HOTELS, INNS, AND TAVERNS. (NORWICH) <-- Not strictly related
but logically there is a reason for this name (re: owners or location
of the pub?)
Cork Cutters' Arms, John Robinson, Bridge Street, Saint George's
CORK CUTTERS. (YARMOUTH)
Burman Jas. North entc
Hallett Wm. Chur. sq
9 Stokes Joseph, cork cutter
KINGS LYNN DIRECTORY
Bullen John, cork cutter, 68 Kirby st
CORK CUTTERS (KINGS LYNN)
"Marked * are Cork Merchants also"
Brooks Robert, Austin street
*Monement & Son 79 Norfolk street
*Mugridge Thomas, 17 Broad street
From History, gazetteer, and directory of Staffordshire (1834)
CORK CUTTERS (WOLVERHAMPTON)
Fielding James, Lichfield street
Hudson Richard, Lichfield street
CORK CUTTERS (UTTOXETER)
Vernon John & Co. Balance street
Leake George, cork cutter
From White's 1857 Directory of Derbyshire:
Radford Mary, baker, 26, Cork market
Vernon Cath. & Son, cork cutters, 7, Irongt
Willisford Jemima, cork manufr., 13, Corn market; h. 16, Victoria