White’s 1857 Directory of Derbyshire

Transcribed by Neil Wilson
PDF version


What is White’s Directory?
It is just over 1000 pages long and to quote:
History, gazetteer and directory of the county of Derby, with the town of Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire comprising a general survey of the county with separate historical, statistical, topographical, commercial, agricultural and mineral descriptions of all the towns, parishes, chapelries, townships, villages, hamlets, manors and extra-parochial liberties, shewing their situation, extent and population, their trade and commerce, their agricultural and mineral productions, their markets and fairs, the lords of the manors and owners of the soil, their eminent men, their public buildings, institutions, churches, chapels, and charities, with the seats of the nobility and gentry; magistrates and public officers, and a variety of others commercial and statistical information, to which is added a directory of the borough of Sheffield, Yorkshire.
The spellings are as they were originally in the Directory; whether the misspellings were by Mr. White, one of his compilers or by the printers, I am not sure. Examples: Ashbourne is spelt as Ashbourn, Ashbonrn, Ashborne or Ashburn. A postmistress called Mary J. Brace, is also shown as Bracey Mary Jane.
Names are also as in the directory; therefore sometimes it is William Bacon, Wm. Bacon, Bacon William, Bacon Wm., or Bacon Willm.

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Why and how I did it
Well genealogy and computing have a lot to answer for. The all singing, all dancing PC and a book on tracing your family history increased my interest in the history of my hometown of Clay Cross. My maternal grandfather said the family had come to Clay Cross when George Stephenson built the tunnel beneath the town, which in those days was a village called Clay Lane.
In May 2001, I borrowed the family’s copy of Francis White’s Directory of Derbyshire and after an unsuccessful attempt to scan it into the computer, my wife asked someone at her work to photocopy the relevant pages. He was also interested in the directory and before long I had set myself the task of putting all the pages onto the computer. I am scanning the photocopies, in batches of around 20 pages at a time and using the OCR text converter, to convert them into Word. Now the easy bit, anyone who has used a text converter will know that it will misspell words, miss them off completely or put “{[*(!,,’ wherever it wants and have a total disregards for columns, setting them out anyway it wants. Then the document was re-formatted. The unwanted bold highlights were removed and I changed the font size. Next was the first read and check against the photocopy pages, this was to ensure that the layout of the page was as close to the original as is possible and most of the spelling and grammar is correct according to Mr White and not the version that the PC spell checker would prefer. I used the Find and Replace function on the software, because a lot of the errors were repeated. The document was printed and I repeated the check, but this time it was paper copy against the photocopy. I found that due to the font size of the original, I could only check about 3 to 4 pages at any one time.
I had promised copies to Tom, who carried out the photocopying and to another fellow researcher, but why keep it to myself, hence this. I had set myself a target date of 2004 for completing the transcription of the directory, and finished it with a week to go.
I have now saved the pages as pdf files, and sections which start half way down a page will show the begining of the page, unlike when I did the original web pages.
Therefore, some pages will appear twice, at the end of a section and then again at the begining of the next section. Also, the pages are set at A5, so if you feel like printing sections out, either set your page options to 2 pages per sheet or to resize to paper.
If you require a pdf reader, click here
For the original HTML version of the Directory, click here

With thanks to
My family for the loan of the directory.
Tom for the photocopying.
Ann Andrews, who put me in touch with Alison Merricks who has a copy of the book and she kindly, copied the last 2 pages, to which I am deeply indebted.
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Last revised: 15 April 2009