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Fellowship Fruit Token

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I assume anyone that checks ebay for tokens will have come across these tokens offered for sale in groups at a low cost recently.



Brass 31mm

The seller has provided no background information about the tokens, after doing some research I decided to share the info and I purchased some for myself.
The British Museum has one donated in 1895, the date is significant in that the previous year the Fellowships were dissolved.
1895 Middlesex & Hertfordshire Notes and Queries: Volumes 1-2 extract,
City of London "Fellowship Porters." Being servants of the Corporation, they were regulated by orders made from time to time by the Court of Common Council. There is little doubt that the Fellowship is ancient. It is said to have existed from the reign of Edward I , but the ordinances which were in force for the governance of the Fellowship are contained in an act of the Court of Common Council of 5th October, 1620. Previous to this date the body was governed by the Court of Mayor and Aldermen. From the Act of 1620 it appears that certain unauthorised foreign, i.e., outside, porters had intruded themselves in the work to the injury of the members of the Fellowship. Their number, which had formerly been 120, was to be fixed at 400, and every man was obliged to be a freeman of the City. The charge for carrying a load of corn or grain from a vessel at the waterside to a granary, or from one small vessel to another, was 2d. ; for the porterage to any house at a greater distance from the quays than the Cross in Cheapside, the payment was to be fixed, in case of dispute, by the Alderman of Billingsgate Ward. For every light burden, called a " catching burden," carried " as far as is distant from Billingsgate to Leadenhall, 2d"
("The power of the official city portering organisations had been evaporating since the very beginning of the 19th century. As the big dockyards began opening to the east of the City from 1802 onwards, the companies that built and operated them barred the ticket porters and fellowship porters from exercising any right to work in their dockyards.
Fewer than a hundred men earned their living as a Fellowship Porter in the 1860s, though when a meeting was held to talk about dissolving the fellowship in 1892, more than 160 members turned up. An Act of Parliament finally dissolved the fellowship in 1894", extract from "The forgotten story of London’s Porters" by Martyn Cornell, an online post, re the beer called Porter)
"The illustrations over-leaf represent the metal tokens, one of which was given to the porter by a lad for every load of corn or fruit which he carried. The smaller token represented twopence, and for every six of these which the porter delivered to the shifter at the close of his day's work he was paid lld., Id. being deducted for the "shift." The larger oval token represented the value of threepence." (Id = I old penny, IId = II pence)
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