Saturday, 23 June 2012

Anyone for Cocoa

What is a Carman?

The Worshipful Company of Carman website with some historical information Link at A description of the work of carmen is found at Link to The term "carman" is also used on railroads in USA and Nova Scotia and as a streetcar driver in UK. Usually it meant the driver of a covered cart. In colonial America carmen were regulated and had responsibilities for maintaining the streets. In the Dutch-Colonies mailing list Peter Christoph quotes from the Donogan Papers as follows: "The regulations in Albany in the 1680s appear in The Dongan Papers, 1683-1688, Part 1, pages 46-47 (where they are called Carmen). There were to be five and no more, appointed by the mayor and aldermen. They were to repair the streets when required by the mayor without compensation, cart the "dirt" (a euphemism) from all the streets to some convenient place. They were to be paid no more than three pence for hauling a load of goods except that for pantiles and bricks they were to be paid six pence, since they required special handling. The loads should be "reasonable for a horse to draw." The carmen are to unload and transport corn and wheat "with all possible speed." They are to make satisfaction for any goods they damage, and to behave civilly to all persons. No Negro or other slave shall drive a cart under penalty of twenty shillings to be paid by the owner of the slave (brewers' drays and beer carriages the only exceptions)." For all who have searched the surname Carman and found the occupation instead, this is a description of the English use of 'carman' as an occupation. The term was also used in 17c New York where carmen had specified responsibilities for maintaining roads. A carman was a delivery driver usually working for an employer. Could possibly be self-employed doing general haulage with his own horse and covered cart or wagon but these were mostly called 'carriers'. The Worshipful Company of Carmen was formed in 1516, to have the monopoly of plying for hire as carriers in the City. The Company would licence the vehicles, arrange where vehicles could stand awaiting custom and decide the rates to be charged. The livery colours are white and red, and a history of the Company (The Worshipful Company of Carmen by Eric Bennett, 1952) Records surviving at the Guildhall Library run from the 1660s to the late 20th century - the Court Minutes are the longest run, and some of the other records only cover very limited periods - lists of Freemen are only available up to the 18th Century, for example. In later time, a person may describe himself as a Carman, when he means that this is his trade, but if he is an employee within a large firm is most likely not to be a member of the Livery Company. The use of Carman (Master), or Master Carman probably indicates that the person is the proprietor of a firm of carriers, who may, therefore, (but not necessarily) be a member of the Livery Company.

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