This collection provides access to our digitised Historical Directories. Due to software and hardware obsolescence the original website through which these were accessed has been withdrawn.
Trade directories are a vital source for the study of local and family history. This collection contains all 675 directories for England and Wales originally digitised under a Lottery funded project run by the University of Leicester. The aim of this project was to make available one directory for each English and Welsh county for the 1850s, 1890s and 1910s. In addition, a sample of directories was made available for the period 1750-1849, and for the 1860s, 1870s, 1880s and 1900s. In Britain the first recognisable directories emerged during the late seventeenth century, meeting a growing demand for accurate information about trade and industry. The content of the directories varies, but typically they contain:
- descriptions of cities, parishes, towns and villages. These may include geographical, historical and statistical details
- information about local facilities, institutions and associations
- listings for private residents, traders, trades and professions
- details of important people
Search tips: To start your search, Browse by Location or enter your search term (e.g. surname or place name) into the search box at the top of the page. From the results page, use the "Narrow your search by" options to filter results by county or decade or choose "Advanced search" for a wider range of search options. Note that the default setting is for "Exact phrase" searching. E.g. a search for "Smith John" will find directories with only find entries where "John" appears immediately after "Smith". For further help with searching this collection see the Historical Directories FAQ page.