Crook Family Metalworkers of Harefield

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 Maria Crook born December 19, 1833 in Harefield, Middlesex, England emigrated aged 16 to Western Australia in 1852 with her mother Patience, her brother Christopher, and sisters Ellen and Patience. They sailed on the ship ‘Mary’, Plymouth-Perth, under the authority of the Colonial Land & Emigration Commissioners (State Records of Western Australia, Perth, Australia, Lists of Emigrants by CL&EC ships 1851-1867)

Maria married Alexander Frederick Duncan May 23 1853 in Fremantle, Western Australia, Australia. They later settled in Adelaide, South Australia, Australia.
 
Many of the men in Maria Crook’s family, both fathers and sons of the 19th and early 20th century were employed in metalworking.
 
Were our Crook ancestors, and all metalworkers, required to join The Worshipful Company of Armourers and Braziers, which regulated employment in the City of London until 1835, as an early form of industrial insurance? This organization covered copper and brassworkers (braziers).  They operated almshouses in Camberwell in 1895; their records are at the Guildhall London. There is an unindexed list of apprentice bindings 1835-78 held there (Ms 12082) and Stamp Duty related to freedom registers 1765-1876 (Ms 12081/1) and 1876-1934 (Ms 12081/2)
 
The Harefield copper mills were built in 1803 to produce copper sheet sheaths and bolts, on the site of the earlier paper and corn mills beside the Colne. These had previously been leased by the Mines Royal Copper Company in 1781. The construction of the Grand Union Canal in 1794/1800 allowed the waterside location to be used for transport of raw material and finished goods, in particular to Portsmouth and Chatham Dockyards.
 
The practice of using copper to sheath ships was to prevent the timbers being attacked by the teredo worm, a marine-boring animal found in the tropics.  The copper ball of St Pauls Cathedral, made in 1821 by Richard and Edward Kepp, is said to have been made from Harefield copper sheets. The copper mills were finally closed down in 1863; in 1803, during the Napoleonic wars, they were employing 121 workers, but this had fallen to 72 men and boys by 1818.
 
We have added the colorful emblem of The Worshipful Company of Armourers and Braziers Connection. The little banner around the little man on top reads ‘MAKE ALL SURE’ and the words on the base are ‘WE . ARE . ONE’. 

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