Sunday, 16 November 2014

Historic advantages of immigrant selling skills to English Trade and Commerce

The political football that is immigration, has been kicked about in England for hundreds of years. 

Recently our Prime Minister,  David Cameron has outlined some plans to cut the level of migration from the EU by limiting the number of new national insurance numbers available to low skilled immigrants. The timing of this is probably not unrelated to the forthcoming political by-election in Rochester next Thursday 20th November 2014.
Yet for business to thrive immigrants are part of the deal particularly as far as trade and Professional Selling is concerned.
 Such actions on European immigrants have a long history in England.
Back in the day, the prosperity of the Hanse merchants, who were in direct competition with those of the City of London, induced Queen Elizabeth  I to suppress the Steelyard and rescind its privileges in 1598.
 James I reopened the Steelyard, but it never again carried the weight it formerly had in London.
Most of the buildings  of the Steelyard were destroyed during the Great Fire of London in 1666

In the tiles that line Fruiterers Passage
 on the Thames Path in the City of London
is a reproduction of
1616 engraving of London
 by Claes Janszoon Visscher
detail of above showing the 'Stilliarde'
I was walking along the Thames path in the City of London last Saturday and came across a street sign “ Hanseatic Walk”. 
 Seven hundred years ago in this location, German merchants set up a trading post or a kontor in this area under the auspices of the Hanseatic league .
 For the next six hundred years they built up a thriving business conclave. There is little one can see of it today but the history is kept alive through street signs.
  As the Thames path goes under the Canon Street Railway station the sign reads ‘Steelyard Passage’.
Out of hidden loud speakers the sounds of  the works of the trading wharfs is played to evoke a past not evident by today’s buildings:a huge gym complex, Nomura Bank and the railway arches of Canon Street and Fuller Pub "The Banker". 
The Steelyard was located on the north bank of the Thames by the outflow of the Walbrook, in the Dowgate ward of the City of London.
The site is now covered by Cannon Street station and commemorated in the name of Steelyard Passage.
The Steelyard, like other Hansa stations, was a separate walled community with its own warehouses on the river, its own weighing house, chapel, counting houses and residential quarters.

The first mention of a Hansa Almaniae (a "German Hansa") in English records is in 1282, concerning merely the community of the London trading post, only later to be made official as the Steelyard and confirmed in tax and customs concessions granted by Edward I, in a Carta Mercatoria ("merchant charter") of 1303.

 The true power of the Hanse in English trade came later, in the 15th century, as the German merchants, led by those of Cologne expanded their premises and extended their reach into the cloth-making industry of England.

 This led to constant friction over the legal position of English merchants in the Hanseatic towns and Hanseatic privileges in England, which repeatedly ended in acts of violence.

 Not only English wool but finished cloth was exported through the Hansa, who controlled the trade in Colchester and other cloth-making centres

In 1475 the Hanseatic League finally purchased the London site outright and it became universally known as the Steelyard.

Lübeck, Bremen and Hamburg only sold their common property, the London Steelyard, to the South Eastern Railway in 1852.
Cannon Street station was built on the site and opened in 1866
Commemorative plaque of six hundred years of peaceful selling
 by Germans in the City of London
In 1988 remains of the former Hanseatic trading house, once the largest medieval trading complex in Britain, were uncovered by archaeologists during maintenance work on Cannon Street Station

So why is this on my mind ?

I am off to run a  Selling Skills programme in Hamburg next week  or to give the city its true title Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg  -the free and Hanseatic city of Hamburg.
View of the Southbank from where the
 Hanseatic Steelyard stood
“The old collapses, it changes the time
 and new life blossoms in the ruins.” --Schiller

1 comment:

  1. You have such an interesting blog. Thanks for sharing, I enjoyed reading your posts. All the best for your future blogging journey.