Graphical version

London Metropolitan Archives



Reference code(s): GB 0074 LMA/4553

Held at: London Metropolitan Archives


Date(s): 1699-192-

Level of description: Collection

Extent: 0.15 linear metres.

Name of creator(s): Mendes da Costa | family | of London


Administrative/Biographical history:

Emanuel Mendes da Costa was born 25 May 1717 in London to John, alias Abraham, and Johanna Mendes da Costa. A Sephardic Jewish merchant and public notary operating in the City of London, he engaged in the trade of goods including books and geologic specimens. He was interested in the study of natural science and served as Clerk to the Royal Society of London.

Emanuel Mendes da Costa's siblings included brothers Jacob, alias Philip, David (who was involved in the supply of bread to British troops in Flanders) and sister Sarah (married to Abraham Fernandes Nuņes).

Other family members included Abraham, alias John, Mendes da Costa, who refers to his brother Jacob the 3rd, (died 3 March 1752) in his will, and Moses, alias Philip, father to Abraham and grandfather to Emanuel, Philip, David and Sarah.

Emanuel was married to Elizabeth Skillman. Members of the Skillman family were living in Hendon during the 18th and 19th centuries as evident from the admission of Richard Skillman (recorded 5 May 1761) and Elizabeth Mendes da Costa, formerly Skillman, (1767). Elizabeth also figures in the apprenticeship of William Skillman, nephew of John Skillman, serving a carpenter in Hendon (1799).

In the 19th century, descendants included Emanuel Mendes da Costa Skillman (died 1903, aged 76), married to Caroline (died 1906, aged 73). They had a daughter, Amelia Jane Skillman, born at 1 Landseer Road, Upper Holloway in December 1871. Emanuel Skillman, a carpenter by profession, resided later at 54 Kingsdown Road. He and Caroline eventually resided at 7 Cromartie Road, Islington at their time of death and were buried at Islington Cemetery.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the Mendes da Costa family, including contracts, wills, certificates, extracts, letters, invoices, certificates, and one drawing document for Emanuel Mendes da Costa and his family. Of note are documents settling the accounts from Emanuel's brother David's involvement in the sale and distribution of bread and other provisions to British troops during King George's War in Flanders, 1743. The bulk of his business-related papers show many accounts in arrears.

Several family members were known by two given names, both a Jewish and a Christian alias. Names are recorded in this catalogue as described in the documents.

Also letters, contracts, burial records, and photographs documenting the life of the Skillman family, including their life involving Hendon Manor in North London.


Language/scripts of material: French and Latin.

System of arrangement:

The records are arranged as follows: LMA/4553/01 EMANUEL MENDES DA COSTA; LMA/4553/02 SKILLMAN FAMILY.

Conditions governing access:

These records are available for public inspection, although records conta.ining personal information are subject to access restrictions under the UK Data Protection Act, 1998.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright to this collection rests with the City of London.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:


Archival history:

British Records Association reference: BRA/1239.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Gifted to the archive in July 1963.


Related material:

See also records of Spanish and Portuguese Jews' Congregation (LMA/4521).

Records relating to Emanuel Mendes da Costa can be found elsewhere (source: National Register of Archives):

c1748-67: correspondence and papers (c 60 items), Derby Local Studies Library, see Bridson, Natural history MS resources 1980

1737-87: correspondence, commonplace book and papers, British Library, Manuscript Collections Add MSS 9389, 28534-44, 29867-68; Eg MS 2381

Catalogue of fossils and notary business, Royal College of Surgeons of England see HMC MS papers of British scientists 1600-1940, 1982

Papers, Royal Society see HMC MS papers of British scientists 1600-1940, 1982

1735: notebook relating to fossils in England, Natural History Museum see Accessions to repositories 1985

1749-76: correspondence and papers (19 items), Cambridge University: Fitzwilliam Museum see HMC MS papers of British scientists 1600-1940, 1982

1752-74: correspondence with Michael Lort and Samuel Pegge, Society of Antiquaries of London MSS 447/2-3, see PJ Willetts, Manuscripts in the Society of Antiquaries of London (2000)

1752-80: correspondence with Thomas Pennant, Warwickshire County Record Office CR 2017/TP408, NRA 23685


Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: Records prepared May to September 2011.

Business administration | Business
Business management | Management
Family archives | Personal papers | Primary documents | Documents | Information sources
Family correspondence | Personal papers | Primary documents | Documents | Information sources
Family records | Personal papers | Primary documents | Documents | Information sources
Jewish | Cultural identity
Wills | Primary documents | Documents | Information sources
Business x Enterprises
Business administration x Business management

Personal names
Mendes da Costa | family | of London

Corporate names
Manor of Hendon

City of London | London | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe
Hendon | Middlesex | England | UK | Western Europe | Europe