Friday, 24 February 2012

Historical Directories (University of Leicester)

Ephemera related to trades (such as trade cards or advertisements) are often undated. Directories are an invaluable tool in establishing dates for a business at a particular address. The University of Leicester's Historical Directories project is "a digital library of local and trade directories for England and Wales, from 1750 to 1919", with its main focus on directories of the 1850s, 1890s and 1910s. It doesn't claim to be at all comprehensive, which does mean that you cannot trace a firm through its different addresses for example. You could, however, easily establish which businesses were in Broad Street, Oxford in 1839 or discover how many ironmongers (17), lime burners (3) or milliners (39 excl straw hat makers) there were in Exeter in 1844. A keyword search for Exeter in Pigott's 1844 directory (Pigot & Co.'s Directory of Berks, Bucks ... , 1844. [Part 1: Berks to Glos]) also reveals fascinating information about coach transport, delivery of letters etc between Exeter and other towns.

The directories can be searched by location (including an interactive map), decade, and by keywords.  The online directories can be searched by name, street name, trade, etc. with hit-highlighting on the digital images.
There are also useful tips, case studies, and links to other resources on the History notes pages.

(C) University of Leicester

1 comment:

  1. just linked this article on my facebook account. it’s a very interesting article for all...

    University of Leicester