Mallet, Francis Peter

48 Clerkenwell Close, Clerkenwell Green, London; cabinet maker and upholder(b. 1729–d. 1799)
First noted in 1765 by which year he had become a partner with William and Richard Gomm in the business which operated from the former Newcastle House, the Close, Clerkenwell. In 1771 the business was named as Gomm, Son & Mallet and on 6 February of that year Mallet was made free of the Upholders’ Co. under the terms of the 1750 Upholders’ Act. His address was recorded as ‘of Clerkenwell’. Directories of 1774–75 list Mallet and give his address as Clerkenwell Green or Garraway's Coffee House, Exchange Alley. Mallet may have ceased his partnership by this date, possibly because of the anticipated financial difficulties of the business for, when bankruptcy occurred in 1776 only William and Richard Gomm are named in the proceedings. Mallet was further conveniently on hand to take over the business. Insurance cover taken out in that year was in his name and indicates the extensive size of the manufactory. Newcastle House was said to have six warehouses and workshops and shed and a sawpit which were covered by insurance of £9,100 of which £6,000 was for goods and stock. Insurance was also taken out earlier in this year on 8 Red Lion Sq. for £5,000 which included £3,200 for utensils and stock. Following on his bankruptcy Richard Gomm was living at this address in 1777 taking out insurance cover of £200 on the house only. The scale of production under Mallet's ownership was probably smaller and in 1782 insurance cover was a mere £600 including £100 for utensils and stock. Soon after 1790 Mallet probably retired and in 1794 he was recorded at Buckingham. He died in November 1799 at Islington Spa aged about 70 and was said at that time to be resident at Edmonton. He was described in his obituary notice in the Gents Mag. as ‘an eminent cabinetmaker and successor to Mr. Gomm’. An invoice from Mallet is in the Heal Coll., BM. It is made out to a — Peck Esq., dated 24 December 1783, and concerns the supply of a large mahogany secretairebookcase costing £21 15s. This bookcase on a cupboard base survives. [D; GL, Upholders’ Co. records; Sun MS vol. 245, p. 580; vol. 248, p. 305; vol. 301, p. 305; V&A archives] B.A.