Directories and Phone Books

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Directories, such as Trade Directories and Post Office Directories for Glasgow, are an easy to use and fascinating resource for family historians

​What do I need to know before I start?

Try to find out:

  • name of person  

  • what trade or profession they were engaged in

  • ​when they were working in Glasgow​

​What records can I find in the Mitchell: Special Collections


Directories for Glasgow




The directories contain an alphabetical list of Glasgow’s main inhabitants, a street directory and a trades directory, listing people by their address and profession or trade. The first directory was published in 1783 by John Tait and included other nearby towns, then by Nathaniel Jones , and thereafter by Walter McFeat as the Glasgow Directory.


In 1828 the directories became known as the Post Office Annual Glasgow Directory. There is a directory for each year from 1800 with the exceptions of 1802, 1808 and 1816. 


As the city and businesses grew, the later directories naturally contain more information than the earliest directories, with content such as public institutions and memberships, local travel times and methods, mail deliveries and costs, educational, law or medical directories and suburban directories.


Trade Directories for Glasgow


Kelly’s Directory Glasgow 

  • 1921- 1974 for most years


Glasgow Trades Directory

  • 1906-1928 for most years


Glasgow and Lanark Trades Directory

  • 1902-1967 intermittent coverage 


Glasgow and West of Scotland Trades Directory

  • ​1902-1966 intermittent coverage


Trades Directories list business types, names, addresses and often the names of individuals associated with the business listings. There are many trades directories for Scotland also available. 


Phone Books for Glasgow

  • 1889 to date. Coverage for most years for each decade 


Yellow Pages for Glasgow

  • ​1929 to date. Coverage for most years for each decade


The Phone Books and Yellow Pages for Glasgow list the names, addresses and phone numbers of residential and business customers respectively. 

What records can I see online?

You can view Glasgow Directories from 1783-1911 on the National Library of Scotland Scottish Post Office Directories site through the Local History pages on our Glasgow Libraries website and link to NLS Scottish Post Office Directories​

What records can I see elsewhere?

British Phone Books for 1880-1984 can be seen on Ancestry for which there is free access on any library computer and click on the link to Ancestry



A digital collection of the trade directories of England and Wales (1766-1919)


Street directories held by the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland 1819-1900