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Guides to directories on open access

This is a selective list of general guides to directories held on open access in the Reading Rooms. Shelfmarks are given at the end of each entry. Directories on specific subjects can be found at the Dewey Decimal Classification number for the subject in Humanities 1 and 2. Current directories on specific subjects can also be found in the quick reference section at HLQ in Humanities 1.

Free online directories can be traced in the Virtual Reference Library under the headings Companies; Government; Telephone directories/postcodes.


Non-current directories such as Kelly's can be traced and ordered using the Explore the British Library Advanced Search option. Enter "directories" as Subject and other keyword (e.g. place name, trade or profession) as Word from title. They are also collocated in the printed British Library general catalogue of printed books to 1975 under the heading DIRECTORIES and then three subheadings: I General, II Local, III Professions, Trades, etc.

Guides to UK general directories

Current British directories. London, New York: Staples Press, 1952- . Current edition.
HLQ 011.7
OPQ 016.05
Jasinski, J., Union list of telephone directories : Central London reference libraries. 6th edition. London: Tower Hamlets Libraries, 1999.
HLR Enquiry Desk 384.65
Keen, M. E., A bibliography of the trade directories of the British Isles in the National Art Library. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1979.
HUR Enquiry Desk 941
Maxted, I., British national directories 1781-1819 : an index to places in the British Isles included in trade directories with general provincial coverage. Exeter : J. Maxted, 1989.
HUR Enquiry Desk 914.1
Norton, J.E., Guide to the national and provincial directories of England and Wales, excluding London, published before 1856. London : Offices of the Royal Historical Society, 1984.
HUR Enquiry Desk 942
HUR 942
Shaw, G. and Tipper, A., British directories : a bibliography and guide to directories published in England and Wales (1850-1950) and Scotland (1773-1950).2nd edition. London: Mansell, 1996.
HUR Enquiry Desk 941(annotated with British Library shelfmarks)
HLR Enquiry Desk 941
HUR 941
Society of Genealogists, Directories and poll books, including alamanacs and electoral rolls, in the library of the Society of Genealogists. Edited by N.J.N. Newington-Irving. 6th edition. London : Society of Genealogists, 1995.
HLR Enquiry Desk 929.341 (P)

Guides to UK local directories

Atkins, P. J., The directories of London, 1677-1977. London : Mansell, 1990.
HUR Enquiry Desk 942.1(annotated with British Library shelfmarks)
HUR 942.1
OPL 942.1025
Bergess, W.F., Kent directories located. Compiled, edited and analysed by Winifred F. Bergess and Barbara R.M. Riddell. 2nd edition. Maidstone: Kent County Council, County Library, 1978.
HLR 942.23
Goss, C.W.F., The London Directories, 1677-1855. A bibliography with notes on their origin and development. Denis Archer: London, 1932.
HUR Enquiry Desk 942.1
Torrance, D. R., Scottish trades, professions, vital records and directories : a selected bibliography. 2nd edition. Scottish Association of Family History Societies, 1991.
HLR 941.1
Tupling, G.H., Lancashire directories, 1684-1957... Revised, enlarged and edited by Sidney Horrocks. Manchester: Joint Committee on the Lancashire Bibliography, 1968.
HLR 942.76

Guides to overseas directories

City directories of the United States 1860-1901 : guide to the microfilm collection. Woodbridge, Conn. : Research Publications, 1983.

City directories IV: Temporary guide to the microfilm collection.
Woodbridge, Conn.: Research Publications, 1985 - .
RAM 973
Current African directories. Incorporating 'African companies: a guide to sources of information’. Edited by I.G. Anderson. Beckenham, Kent: CBD Research, 1972.
OPL 016.05
Current Asian & Australasian directories : a guide to directories published in or relating to all countries in Asia, Australasia & Oceania. Edited by I.G. Anderson. Beckenham: CBD Research Ltd, 1978.
OPL 016.05
Current European directories. Répertoire des annuaires européens. Beckenham: CBD Research, 1969- . Current edition.
HLQ 011.7
OPQ 016.05
*The directory of directories: an annotated guide to [United States] business and industrial directories, professional and scientific rosters, and other lists and guides of all kinds. Edited by James M. Ethridge. Detroit : Information Enterprises, [1980].
International bibliography of special directories. Internationale Bibliographie der Fachadreßbücher. 7th ed. München ; London : Saur, 1983.
HLQ 011.7
Spear, D.N., Bibliography of American Directories through 1860. Worcester: American Antiquarian Society, 1961.
HLR 973

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