They give important clues to dates when schools and railway stations were built. Some give more information on one larger town such as Derby.
They were published less regularly in Derbyshire than in more urban areas. The earliest was published in the 1790s. The last directory giving whole county coverage was published by Kelly in 1941. Within this limited time-span they give us much useful information about local government, and the growth and development of communities. For each place you will find details of public buildings and institutions, industries, churches, major landowners, and methods of communication.
The list below shows the main set of Derbyshire Trade Directories on microfiche, you view these at most larger libraries. Additional printed directories for both Derbyshire and neighbouring counties may also be available in some libraries.
As the trade directories ceased to be published, telephone directories start to take their place as a means of tracing individuals and companies. There is a comprehensive set of these on microfilm at the Local Studies library in the Derbyshire Record Office, for the whole country from 1880 to 1912. From 1920 to 1970 they cover Britain excluding London. Good sets of local telephone directories from the 1970s onward are also kept.