Kelly's Directory of Berkshire 1920 (CD)

CD, JiGraH Resources

Although some street dircetories have appeared on the internet this valuable ancestor-tracing resource can usually only be found in the local history section of the public library in the area. While we await the arrival of the 1921 census, which will be the last that many of us will see, this CD will help you locate your ancestors living in Berkshire just after the end of the First World War. It contains a very good map of the centre of Reading, which has changed a lot over the years with inner relief roads, shopping malls and changes in the railway system and industry. A map of Berkshire is also included. The original printed directory also covered Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire as well as Berkshire, and so was too large to fit on one CD. The first pages are advertisements, which may be of interest if your ancestor was a shopkeeper or manufacturer, or provided some service, for example Allen & Simmonds Ltd, piston ring specialists, or Barnes & Avis " We can supply all your musical requirements". Following on is an alphabetical list of towns and villages with quite lengthy histories, descriptions of the local church and other pieces of information such as the population in 1911, the area of the parish, local charities, where the post office and schools are. Villages have quite a small list of private residents, for example, West Ilsley, with 313 residents, has only 15 of them named: five gentry and the rest commercial. However, Maidenhead, with 15,219 residents, has a long introduction and three and a half pages of inhabitants. The end of the book is a forerunner of the Yellow Pages, offering lists of businesses under the products or services which they provide. Later directories often provide a clue to the location described as Rose Villa one year and 24 London Road the nest. However, some of the information need to be treated with caution. In a book with so many entries, typos will inevitably appear. There will be entries for inhabitants who have left the area during the preparation of the directory. Also I found our local church at Furze Platt was described as being built of stone, whereas it was constructed of red brick. The construction dates are correct. This is a very handy version of the original guide, with plenty of background information on the towns and villages of Berkshire and the addresses of some of the more prominent inhabitants.

Judith Mitchell

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