Trade card for a 'Bug Destroyer' Andrew Cooke, London, England, 1770-1779

1770-1779 in London

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Trade card for a 'Bug Destroyer' Andrew Cooke, London, England, 1770-1779.
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Trade card: Bugg destroyer, Andrew Cooke, at the King's-Arms, Holborn-Hill, opposite the Dog's Head in the Pottage Pot, near Hatton Garden, the sign of the Original Flying-Fishes, over the Door, with the Word Cooke upon it. His House No.6, in Union Court, where he has lived near 30 Years. (Calv. 98)

Andrew Cooke advertised his services as a ‘Bug Destroyer’, especially bugs which destroy wooden furniture, walls and paper, including woodworm and book lice. He probably also dealt with bed bugs, which were a common problem. He claims to have “in the course of practice cleared upwards of 20,000 beds” of insects. In the 1770s he styled himself as the unofficial “Bug Destroyer to His Majesty” based on the large amounts of work he did for the King.

This unofficial patronage of the then monarch George III boosted confidence in Cooke’s abilities – the King would only hire the best. The advertisement also suggests he had a lucrative line of work, which he jealously guarded against rivals, some of whom had apparently reported him as dead in order to gain his business.


Object Number:
trade card
  • visual and verbal communication
  • advertising card
Donated by Mr Thomas H. Court (Court Collection)

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