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Re: Trade Directories

Elaine in Ottawa
Just adding my two cents worth.

Over the years this question has arisen every so often.

The conclusion was that it could be one year out i.e. as in this case 1930 rather than 1931.

How that was reach was that a number of people were listed in the directory who had passed away during the previous year.

Elaine in Ottawa.
Hi Elaine

Each Directory gives an expanding list of previous Lord Mayors of Sheffield. If I could find the actual date that each Lord Mayor was installed it would be possible to get a better picture, as there is usually a different Lord Mayor each year. If for instance a lord Mayor say was included in a Directory for 1951 and he/she had been installed say on 01/12/1951 you could reasonably conclude that the Directory had been printed and released after this date. Unfortunately I am struggling to find this information.

However knowing when the Directory was released, still does not tell us the cut off point when all the data was collated and the Directory began to be printed and produced.
I would imagine that this was possibly the longest part of the process with a large Directory but who knows, it must have been a mammoth task in an era before computers.

Certainly there are a lot of instances where people appear in Directories when they had died previously. My grandmother is a case in point, she died in 1968 but is still listed as living at 218 Gervase Avenue, Sheffield in the 1974 Directory. I suppose that, as the directories were being compiled for each year, if whoever was collecting the information could not determine who was the resident at particular address, they may have left the previous information in place. I have found instances where only the surname is given and then a dash, this could be because the collector of the information found no one at home, spoke to a neighbour and they only knew the surname of the family and not the householder's given name also; had they only recently moved into the property?

What I do admire is the rareness of typos that the Directories contain, I don't think I would have liked the job of a proof reader, not much of an interesting plot to a Directory.

Kind Regards


Re: Trade Directories

I knew we had a list of Lord Mayors but don't know if it covers the time period you are interested in.

Have a look at our site map.

Elaine in Ottawa.

Re: Trade Directories

If I understand it correctly then Lord Mayors' tenure normally runs for the Municipal Year, ie from May to April.

Re: Trade Directories

Hi Dave T

That's helpful, I'll look through the Directories and see which ones name the latest Mayor's tenure with the same year as the Directory's year and which do not, thanks.

This might show which Directories were finalised prior to, or after May.

I managed to find the actual full date for Uk General elections of the past in order to use the same logic, but unfortunately the MPs had long terms in office, so the idea didn't work.

Kind regards


Re: Trade Directories

Here's an interview with Festus Kelly in 1893 describing how the directories were compiled. It obviously changed over the years.

Re: Trade Directories

Here\'s an interview with Festus Kelly in 1893 describing how the directories were compiled. It obviously changed over the years.
Hi Ted

Thanks for the article which I find very interesting. As you say the process will have evolved over the years, certainly in my lifetime, up to the early 1970s I cannot remember anyone calling at my home to canvass regarding Directories., then again with both parents working and both kids at school, it must have been difficult for the canvassers to find people at home when they visited.

Regarding the production of old books, there is a link below to one of many interesting videos on the subject on youtube:

Also attached is a link to a pdf document which gives an overview on the Whites/Kelly’s Sheffield Directory editions from 1901 to 1974.

Working from the edition number sequence, I have concluded that the salmon coloured rows show years when a Directory was not produced and does not exist (see the Key at base of the table).

On the Title Page of a Directory it would seem that it was not until 1957 that the Sheffield Directory displayed a copyright and date notice.

As Elaine had previously commented, I personally can only agree with her that it seems that the information in a Directory was canvassed during the year before the year of its title. Obviously that is just my opinion working on the details in each directory regarding the ‘Council Details’ section. However interestingly from the 1951 Directory to the 1965 Directory, the title for this section changes from the ‘year before the Directories title to the year of the Directories title’; tothe year of the Directories title to the year after the Directories title’. This seems to occur for the period when the Directory for Sheffield was not consistently produced every year. Because of this, was the data collection/publication pattern altered?

Kind regards