Library resources

2. Trade and telephone directories

The library holds a range of historic trade directories for the local area. They date from the late 1700s to the late 1900s. The oldest was written by Stockport’s own Elizabeth Raffald who created the first directory for Manchester.

Directories worked like a modern phone book. They listed businesses, government offices and schools etc., but they give the address rather than a phone number. They would often also list the addresses of ‘Gentry and Clergy’ and other prominent residents. Some even gave detailed historical or geographical information about the cities, towns and localities they covered.

Most of the early directories covered wide areas such as whole counties and are less detailed. However those for a single town will often be much more complete. There will be an A-Z by name and by trade sections and street-by-street listings.

We also hold a collection of residential and commercial (classified) telephone books for Manchester, South Manchester and Stockport. The earliest dates are from 1925.