The largest city in England, that of London, has been a major factor in millions of English citizens lives for centuries. Even if you had an ancestor from another portion of England they were affected by what was done in London.
The online site, London Lives, is so intriguing, rich in tens of thousands of manuscripts and fifteen databases to provide information on some 3.35 million names. Now it does not mean the ancestor had to live in London. This site provides the court proceedings, criminal trials, records of employees in companies (such as the British East India Co.), records of Wills, the care of destitute, and many other topics going back to 1690 and covering to 1820 for people who lived in locations across England.
Doing a search can start with just plugging in a surname, especially if it a more unusual one. Everything related to that name will appear with a brief summary. Another approach is to browse the various documents. Just in a historical content that is fascinating with such documents as: Parish Records, Criminal Records, Coroners’ Records, Hospital - Guild Records, London Directory, Clerks of the East India Co., Fire Insurance Registers, several workhouses registers and the Marine Society Boys, to name a few. A keyword search can also be done when looking for any reference to a particular street, church, building, etc.
Not all dates between 1690 and 1820 are available; some institutions didn’t exist until 1770s. However, several documents are for places surrounding London, like Middlesex and Westminster. There is a transcript for each document and many also include a scanned copy of the original document.
Plugging in a few of my ancestral surnames I came up with 1206 items for Briggs, 166 for Kershaw, 2180 for Marsh and 288 for Anderton. So it is worth investigating this resource closely.
Image- Patients admitted to St. Thomas Hospital in January 1800.