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Though not strictly ‘official’, these resources make up a substantial part of the collection and are heavily used. A mixture of almanacs, yearbooks and directories, including Post Office directories and Kelly’s directory, are held, together with staff lists published in the United Kingdom, such as the Colonial Office List and the India Register. Items in the collection range in date from around 1850 to 1970 and include a number of rare texts. Almost all of the collection, some 99%, is in English though a few titles in German and French are included. Yearbooks and directories are an important resource for research into social, economic and family history.


Topics covered include:

  • Historical and descriptive information about what a place was like and what facilities were offered
  • Information on government and administrative departments
  • Industry, commercial and trade information (at times including addresses of businesses and lists of staff)
  • Information on transport and communication
  • Lists of solicitors, medical practitioners, holders of ecclesiastical office, etc.
  • Social information such as listings of societies, information on local events and dates of feast days

Many people also find yearbooks and directories fascinating because of the old commercial advertisements they contain. Examples of these can be seen on some of the images at the bottom of this page

The level of detail in some yearbooks is astonishing. For example, in the 1905 yearbook for Trinidad and Tobago, pictured here, information on which vegetables are in season when, where and how large taxi stands are, and when vehicles, including bicycles, should use their lights during each month of the year is included. Times during which vehicles should be illuminated are very precise. In January, for example, lights should be on between 6:25pm and 5:50am whilst by December this has changed to 6.10pm to 5:40am.

Requests for Directories and Yearbooks should be made in the Rare Books Reading Room.

Images of other rare and/or interesting examples of items in the RCS collection of Directories and Yearbooks can be found below:

Egyptian Directory, 1927

West Indies and Caribbean Yearbook,

East African Manual, 1932

Links to online catalogue
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