Local trade directories

This guide was last updated in 2014

Trade directories were invaluable in finding out about the ancestors of Mary Berry.

On the programme she is shown her great great grandfather Robert Houghton listed as a baker on Ber Street in Norwich. Going from the alphabetical listings to the separate trades and street listings produced the exciting discovery that Robert Houghton had more than one occupation.

In White’s 1864 Directory he was listed as a baker and a builder and in others as a grocer and flour dealer too. These give an indication of how Robert Houghton was part of the growing entrepreneurial Victorian middle classes, seizing new business opportunities.

You can find trade directories at local archives, but there are also a growing number going online. A great free resource has been created by the University of Leicester here, but there are also a number of trade directories that have been digitised and are available on various subscription sites.

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