A Journey through the Trade Directories

Kelly's Directory was a precursor to today's Yellow Pages.

Kelly’s Directory was a precursor to today’s Yellow Pages.

Lisa Canning has been lost to us for a little while… she’s been working her way through the early 20th century Trade Directories held in the Hive in Worcester, trying to find out the range of occupations held by the residents of Abberley.  Here are her first findings:

Trade Directories offer an invaluable insight into village life. They list all businesses in Abberley. The 1950’s saw a move towards directories such as the yellow pages which then listed the trades for a much wider area alphabetically so they do not provide the snapshot the earlier directories offer.

I have compared the 1912, 1924, 1932 and 1940 Kelly’s Trade Directories in the Local Studies section of the Hive to see how Abberley evolved and finally I shall look at Abberley as it is today and the types of business run from the village now.

To help you see how the different periods compare, I have put Lisa’s findings into a table.  We are gradually accumulating more information about the fluctuations of the village population and types of trade and occupation.  Lisa’s research provides a very useful baseline for us.

1912 1924 1932
population 504 (figures taken in 1911) 467 [in 1921, down by 37 in 9   years.] No population figures
religious houses Reference to the Wesleyan Chapel,   the parish church of St Mary and states that St Michaels was put in good   repair in 1908 and is used for funerals and daily services. Both churches and the Chapel are   noted
sacristan  The sacristan was William Childs, who was also   the village blacksmith. The specific listing of this position indicates its   importance  at this time. William Childs is still listed as   Sacristan. None listed
Post office Annie Hill was Post Mistress.  The office had two collections daily and   one on a Sunday.  It was open to   callers only on that day. Jessie Austin was Post Mistress.  The post Office is now a Post and Telephone   Call Office, a significant development for the village.
Village school The village school had an average   attendance of 98.The Master was William Causton.  The village school Master is Thomas Thacker   Stimson. The village school is not   include.Abberley Hall School is listed   however: Gilbert Ashton was Head Master.
Public transport There was an omnibus to Worcester   three times a week that left the village at 8.45 and returned at 4 pm.  A motor omnibus operates to Worcester 4 days   a week and three times daily. None listed
Carriers Four carriers are listed, covering Worcester,   Kidderminster, Tenbury and Stourport. Four carriers are listed, covering Worcester,   Kidderminster, Tenbury and Stourport. Only one carrier Philip Owen and   Sons, covering Worcester, Stourport and Kidderminster.
Trades Other trades listed include: farmer,   shoemaker, baker, blacksmith, carpenter, tailor, wheelwright, grocer Other trades listed include:   shoemaker, baker, blacksmith, smallholder, carpenter, brick maker, tailor, A Baker, fruiter ,blacksmith, brick   maker, carpenter, grocer
Occupations Also listed are the agent to the   Estate Office of J A Jones Esq [at Abberley Hall], the Assistant County Roads   Surveyor [to the County Council], Clerk to the Works and Assistant   Overseer/tax collector to [the parishes] of Stockton and Abberley.A number of people listed had two   occupations including two farmers who were also carriers Also listed are a colliery manager,   assistant overseer and an agent to J A Jones Esq.Interestingly Miss Emma Davis is   listed as the farmer at Crocketts Farm and Rebecca Palmer as Tailor   previously William Palmer had been listed ( so possibly his wife or daughter   has taken over)? Also listed are an agent to J A   Jones Esq.
Public house Richard Mills ran the Manor Arms   Public House. Thomas Edward Palmer is listed as beer retailer, most likely at   the Royal George, possibly when it was a drinking house. The Manor Arms and another beer   retailer are listed. Fanny Mills now runs the Manor Arms   and Agnes Palmer is the beer retailer.
Farms There were 19 farms listed 19 farms are listed again. There   was a significant number of people employed on the land in agriculture. Farm   machinery was basic and expensive. Farm labour was available and   comparatively cheap. Larger numbers of labourers were required during harvest time. Pickers would travel every year from the black country and Birmingham, entire families coming particularly for the hop picking that was prevalent   around the greater area. Farms were generally smaller and diverse mixed farming was more prevalent. It was noted in the school log book that during   busy times children would be absent from school to help on the farms. There are still 19 farms listed, of   which two are run by women.
Domestic help Large houses needed domestic staff, including cooks, gardeners, maids etc. Even farms and not so grand homes would have domestic help. The houses that were specifically mentioned in 1924 are Apostles Oak, The Elms, The Rectory, Firleigh (Tump   House) and Abberley Hall.
Local industries The natural resources of the area   such as coal and clay for brick manufacturing were exploited at this time,   there were a number of collieries in the area around Abberley, they employed   a number of local men underground and a ground level. A number of fatalities   occurred through accidents in the village, inquests were subsequently held at   the Royal George and the Manor Arms into these deaths.
Police station There is mention of a police   station in Abberley in the Introductory section of the Directory.  The Police Constable assigned to the   village was PC John Jackson. The Police Station opposite the   shop is  referred to for the first   time.

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