The merchants, manufacturers and etc. for each place are categorized. Categories include ironmongers, linen drapers and surgeons. Inns and coopers, attornies [sic], and cabinetmakers are well-represented. There are at least three entries in every grouping. Also, there are multiple entries for crafts and jobs that scarcely exist any more: stone masons, and woolstaplers, and bell hangers. But for every town there is a 'miscellaneous' section. These are people working uniquely at a craft or occupation in their community.
For Birmingham, the 'miscellaneous' list is large, reflecting the fact that the entire list of Birmingham occupations takes up more than thirty-five pages in the directory. Here is a portion of the 'miscellaneous' category:
It was remarkable how many items were manufactured by small, independent workers. Things that now are turned out in the millions by huge factories were, during the Regency, produced by individuals often working in their own homes. For example, above Ralph Heaton, a button-shank-maker, and William Evans, key-maker.
|from The Book of English Trades|
This Commercial Directory makes it clear that the Regency world was a bustling, mercenary place. Those with a trade or a craft were fortunate indeed, earning a living by providing a product to turn the wheels of commerce.
I will be revisiting the Commercial Directory in the future to share more of its fascinating information.
'Til next time,
N.B. Both The Book of English Trades and The Commercial Directory for 1818-19-20 are available from Google Books.