Post Office Records Newsletter is proud to announce the addition of 1,000,000 New Post Office & Trade Directories.

NEWSLETTER November 2010 - today announced the release of over 1 million Post Office records. The exciting new collection is set to grow over the coming months and will prove to be an extremely valuable resource and complement the existing Trade Directories, allowing them to be used side by side. The Post Office collection is, in effect, a Victorian version of today's Yellow Pages covering over 25 counties and major cities of Great Britain spanning nearly a century during Britain 's most prosperous years.

The records hold interesting information of not only ordinary families but also well known past and present companies and high street brands such as Lyons, Marks & Spencer's and Woolworths, listed as "Toy and Fancy Dealers".

There are a number of famous names that stand out - residences include Charles Dickens residing at Gads Hill House in Higham , Kent as well as Charles Darwin who was famous for his theories of evolution and wrote The Origin of Species, he is listed as living in Down, Kent as a Private Resident.

The Postal & Commercial Alphabetical Directory, referred to as Kelly's, contains information organised by County. The early editions, "will be found superior both in quality and extent of information to the Edition previously issued." The beginnings of these Directories can be attributed to Frederic Kelly when he was appointed "His Majesty's Inspector of Inland Letter Carriers" at the turn of the 19th century. Kelly established his company and expanded on the original publications and produced directories for a number of UK cities and several other titles.

The earliest directories were published in London where demand for commercial information was greater, followed by other major cities in the United Kingdom. Using Kelly's association with the Post Office to considerable advantage, he was partnered by Isaac Slater and taking over James Pigot's in 1853, his market dominance was established so becoming the largest directory publisher in the late nineteenth century.

It is not surprising that these guides were used over 170 years ago by travelling salesmen as reference guides when looking for new trade and opportunities, in effect these Directories were the predecessor to the telephone directory and the Yellow pages.

The format of the publications is split into sections which provides a topographical description of settlements and cities as well as landmarks together with statistical information on the population. Generally alphabetical lists of the Clergy, Gentry, commercial occupations, streets, classified trades and advertisements are published. Many of the later Directories include private residents. An example of the sort of information a Post Office provides is shown below - which includes a fascinating combination of trades including a farmer, a farrier, a boot and shoe man, a beer retailer, and a number of shopkeepers.

Robert Woods a spokesman for said "We are very pleased by the progress our digital archive department is making and we will continue to add further cities and counties covering a larger part of the UK allowing researchers the opportunity to learn what their ancestors were doing over the past 170 years".

The collection is part of over 700 million historic records available online to all members and visitors by way of an annual subscription of only £30.00 or US$50.00 has added the following new records

Post Office Records

Postal and Commercial Directory of Wiltshire
Aberdeen Post Office Directory 1862-63
List of Officers of the General Post Officers London Edinburgh Dublin 1892
Post Office Annual Directory Glasgow 1838-1839
Post Office Bath Directory 1920
Post Office Bath directory 1926
Post Office Bath Directory 1938
Post Office Directory of Bedfordshire 1869
Post Office Directory of Berkshire 1869
Post Office Directory of Buckinghamshire 1869
Post Office Directory of Cambridge 1879
Post Office Directory of Derbyshire 1855
Post Office Directory of Derbyshire 1864
Post Office Directory of Dublin 1888
Post Office Directory of Essex 1859
Post Office Directory of Hertfordshire 1859
Post Office Directory of Kent 1859
Post Office Directory of Middlesex 1859
Post Office Directory of Norfolk 1879
Post Office Directory of Northamptonshire 1869
Post Office Directory of Nottinghamshire 1855
Post Office Directory of Oxfordshire 1869
Post Office Directory of Staffordshire 1864
Post Office Directory of Surrey 1859
Postal & Commercial Directory of Norfolk & Norwich 1868