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Author Topic: Kelly's (and other) Directories  (Read 5143 times)

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Online davpott

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Re: Kelly's (and other) Directories
« Reply #6 on: December 26, 2012, 17:18:19 »
Is there any record on how many Kelly's were printed each year and how much they would have cost?  I ask as there doesn't seem to be many coming up for sale on e bay and one I bid for went way past my, (I think) £20 bid.

....how many old phone directories have you kept?
Once replaced by a new edition the old ones are binned.

Offline numanfan

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Re: Kelly's (and other) Directories
« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2012, 09:31:19 »
Just had a quick flick through & can't find any mentioning the circulation - but it must of been 1000's because the whole point was advertising.

The 1955 copy was being sold for 20 Shillings.

The 1974 (I think the last version printed) was £3.40

And you're right about the scarcity nowadays, with the few available costing £25 or more.
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Offline smiler

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Re: Kelly's (and other) Directories
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2012, 08:55:03 »
Is there any record on how many Kelly's were printed each year and how much they would have cost?  I ask as there doesn't seem to be many coming up for sale on e bay and one I bid for went way past my, (I think) £20 bid.

Offline Leofwine

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Re: Kelly's (and other) Directories
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2011, 21:58:10 »
I'm glad you posted that, I was going to mention it, then couldn't find my bookmark. Also, if you have an ancestry.co.uk account, they have lots of county directories from the 19th and early 20th centuries in digital form.  I know quite a few public libraries can give you ancestry access too, but I can't say for sure if the directories are available via the library accounts.
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Offline grandarog

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Re: Kelly's (and other) Directories
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2011, 21:53:59 »
 :)  There are a lot of directories on line here .

                http://www.historicaldirectories.org/hd/

                    Bit cumbersome to trawl through but useful none the less.

Offline Leofwine

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Kelly's (and other) Directories
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2011, 21:34:12 »
Following LenP's request in another thread (expanding on my previous post in that thread).

Kelly's Directory (or more properly the Kelly's, Post Office and Harrod & Co Directory) are the best known example of Trade directories that were widely produced in the 19th and 20th centuries. They were the forerunner to the modern Yellow Pages or Thomson local, listing tradesmen, shops, businesses, etc. Some were laid out by name, some by business type and some by street (or a combination of these).  Early directories tended to only list Gentry and Clergy in the private residents section, but by the late 19th century most private residents were included.

The oldest version I know of was the British Universal Directory produced in the late 1700's. In the early 1800 Pigot's produced a series of directories in the 1820s and 1830s (maybe longer). The 1840-70s saw the Post Office Directory being produced and later in the 19th century Kelly's Directory was produced, continuing into the late 20th century.

Other 'independent' directories were also produced from time to time, usually by subscription, such as Wright's Topography (1838) or Melville's Directory and Phippen's Directory (both 1858)

The originator of Kelly's directory was Frederic Festus Kelly. In 1835 or 1836 he became chief inspector of letter-carriers for the inland or general post office, and took over publication of the Post Office London Directory, whose copyright was in private hands despite its semi-official association with the post office, and which Kelly had to purchase from the widow of his predecessor.  By the late 19th century there were two types of directory, the county anf local. As the names imply the County covered a whole county, usually with just an alphabetical list of businesses and a second list of private residents sorted by town.   The local directories tended to cover a smaller area of just a few closely situated towns, and included street by street listings as well as alphabetical ones. The information in the County and Local directories can be different even for the same year as the directories seem to have been produced some months apart.

He founded Kelly & Co. and he and various family members gradually expanded the company over the next several decades, producing directories for an increasing number of UK counties and buying out or putting out of business various competing publishers of directories.

The directories were published annually, or biannually at different periods and do not seem to have been produced during WW2.

The front cover of a Kelly's Directory sometimes stated "Kelly's Directories Ltd., established 1799", however this was based on the date of issue of the first Post Office London Directory by an earlier inspector of letter carriers several decades before Kelly's involvement with that publication. In 1897, Kelly & Co Ltd became Kelly’s Directories Ltd. This name stuck for another 106 years before being renamed Kellysearch in 2003 to reflect its focus away from hard copy directories and towards an Internet based product search engine.

Many reference libraries and archives still keep their copies of these directories (mostly on microfilm), which are now an important source for historical research.


Before Kelly's there were Pike's Blue Books, which were much the same...
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