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So far I have been able to find and transcribe 29 Trade directories which list the village. The oldest is about 1798 and I have stopped at 1939 because after that date directories became more lists of residents than of trades people. The accuracy of the data they record must be treated with caution. Not only do initial vary from edition to edition (e.g. I becomes J) but each compiler seemed to have his own agenda. When comparing the entries of Lucy and Kelly in the period between the wars each have there own bias and way of describing occupations so George Skittral seems happy to oscillate between being described as a Hurdle Maker and a Woodsman. Also, according to Kelly's, both Mrs. WH Burrough and Mr. JW Hilliard closed their drapers business in 1935, possibly they had gone on holiday with Mrs. Perry, the dressmaker from East Sands! So be aware that just because a person does not appear does not mean they were not trading. Also note that most of the people listed (especially in Kelly's) are professionals, proprietors or self employed so journeymen tradesmen and employees do not often appear. Special care should be taken when reading about retailers as descriptions such as shopkeepers and grocers were freely interchanged so check other occupations to get a fuller picture of the types of outlets available. One final word of caution; the date given is the year of publication of the directory and not necessarily the year the information was gathered.
However, despite the obvious shortcomings, the directories tell an interesting story of trades practised in the village and the rise of both the railways and then the motor car. Little gems can also be found in the detail; such as the short lived post office at Leigh Hill, the private schools at Eastcourt, Westcourt and Durley and the fleeting presence of a fishmonger.
Much of the detail can be (and one day will be) cross validated against the census returns but it is hoped that the data as presented will be of interest to many. Sadly the limitations of web pages limits the scope for presenting the information (the spreadsheet covers 24 A4 pages) so I have decided to firstly group them into broad categories then expand each one with a page per occupation. This is fine if you simply want to see who the village doctors were or the list of occupiers of Goldenlands Farm but it you want to know what Mr. Vines did then my advice is to return to the HOME page and use the SEARCH facility as these directories cover over 180 individual web pages and some only have 1 entry!
One final comment; many of the entries have symbols attached (such as * or (1)). The key to these lies below and there is a link to this table on each screen
|Professionals and People of Status|
|Essential Village People|
|Craftsmen and Retailers|
|Farming and agricultural trades|
|Inns, Pubs, Hotels and related trades|
If you have or know of other directories please let me know. I am indebted to Rob Dickens for details from his personal copy of Lucy's 1932.
ALSO if any of the people listed are relatives of yours I can easily add text about him/her (especially details of where the businesses were located) and/or add a photograph - please send me whatever you have. Adding a human angle greatly improves the interest to other visitors and adds a new angle to publishing facts from your family tree.
|*||This indicates that there are more than 1 entry for this person this year's directory|
|~||Indicates farms over 150 acres (as recorded in Kelly's of 1923 or later)|
|[...]||The person is listed but no occupation given, the entry has been assumed|
|(1)||Also Slate Merchant|
|(2)||In 1830 and 1842 a William Bartlett was the surgeon in Great Bedwyn and is probably the same person|
|(3)||Also slate, salt and lime merchant|
|(4)||Also salt and slate merchant|
|(5)||The occupier appears in the Gentry section so it may be that he was a Gentleman Farmer|
|(6)||"& at Marborough"|
|(7)||Medical Officer Pewsey Union No 3 district & public vaccinator|
|(8)||Bailiff to Lord Charles Bruce|
|(9)||Initially the National School (built 1856) also had its own Infants Mistress but from 1895 the 1861 Infants school is also called the National School and so must have been merged with its neighbour|
|(10)||Also Refreshment Rooms, at the GWR railway station|
|(11)||gamekeeper to C Phipps Esq.|
|(12)||described as a Woodsman|
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©Colin Younger 2003