Trade Directories were published as early as the late seventeenth century to meet the need for accurate information on the increasing number of tradesmen. These early directories were mainly restricted to larger cities, and it was only in the early nineteenth century that they became more organised and widespread.
This development was closely linked to the growth of the Postal service, and Post Office officials such as Frederick Kelly quickly saw the possibilities of using directories to aid their work. Production of directories reached a peak in the 1930s and declined after World War II in the face of competition from other media.
Directories are an important source of information as they contain descriptions of parishes, information on local institutions and listings of private residents, farmers and traders.
Eardisley Trade Directories, spanning nearly 100 years, are now available in PDF format for you to peruse and search.