Saturday, April 26, 2014

An important Hertfordshire Directory from 1854

Craven's 1854 Directory
Between 1846 and 1937 a regular series of Post Office/Kelly's directories were published for Hertfordshire at about 4 year intervals. I have access to digital copies of most of them and use them regularly in my research.  A tiny number of competitors entered the market, without much success, and I was delighted when I was able to acquire a pretty good copy of the hard to find Craven and Co's Commercial Directory of Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire published in 1854. 

St Albans
I had not seen a copy before and found that it was organised in a different way to, for example, the 1851 Post Office Directory. I was worried when I found that at least some of the place descriptions were little more than a cut and paste rewrite of the 1851 directory. However when I looked at the directory listings I was delighted. The early Post Office Directory were very selective on who they included and it was clear that that the Craven directory was significantly more informative. A quick check of the first 20 "Trades" entries for St Albans included many entries which would have been not important enough to be included in the P O Directory for 1851 - including Eliza Allen (matron of the Goal), John Scott Allen (head turnkey of the Goal) and David Arnold (Town Hall Keeper). Charles Arnold was at "The Goat" which was not named in the P O Directory  and the entry for William Bennett, builder, included the additional information "and brick, tile and lime manufacturer."  

To estimate the amount of extra information in the directory I have transcribed the entry for the village of Sandridge - highlighting the extra information. In addition there are a large number of interesting adverts at the back of the directory and I have added the following to the main web site:

You will undoubtedly be hearing more of the "goodies" in this valuable directory.

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