When the town underwent rapid expansion in the mid to late 1st century, a large workforce of clerks, craftsmen and labourers was required to sustain this economic growth. All these Roman Londoners and their families needed somewhere to live in the rapidly expanding town.
The majority were probably native Britons drawn to work in the new town, hopeful of making their fortunes. Many of these would have made up the working classes, although specialist craftsmen may have been brought to London from abroad, commissioned for specific works.
Most of the buildings of early Roman London consisted of properties built as long strip buildings with narrow frontages. Such buildings were common, lining the main road that ran east to west through the northern settlement and to the south, abutting the main road leading to the bridge across the Thames.
These narrow structures were probably divided between commercial areas with shops and bars to the front and workshops, stores and residential quarters to the rear. The most likely occupants of these Mediterranean-style buildings were the craft-workers and shopkeepers of the town.
The evidence for craft-working in Roman London is threefold. Firstly, the site of hearths and workshops indicate where crafts were being practised, pinpointing areas where craft-workers may have congregated together for the specific requirements of their trade or industry.
Secondly, the material discarded from any craft provides strong evidence that those practical skills must have been practised in London and finally, the tools used by the workers may indicate the craft-worker as a consumer or as the manufacturer of tools supplied to the trade.