(Page updated April 2019)


Our old books were purchased for their piano content, but provide a wealth of general history too.  We have a selection of volumes of the Illustrated London News for every decade from 1844, and these include many items of general history.  Here is a brief summary of some of the directory lists and other sources we have available for reference, in addition to our more modern piano books:  some are complete originals, others are just piano lists:  there are many more to be added, containing over a million piano entries, and far too many for us to make them available online without major funding, quite apart from the enormity of the copyright problems.  There are London lists for every decade.  Early directories are written in name order, some musical instrument makers did not specify which instruments they made, and it is easy to miss piano entries unless one knows what to look for.  If you are searching for London surnames in any trade, it is worth remembering that we have a selection of complete London Directories from 1786 to 1892.  We also have incomplete lists of piano items found in London alphabetical directories for 1765 1768 1769 1771 1772 1774 1775 1778 1782 1794 1797.  In some cases, Longman’s is the only music firm listed.


          1786 Lownde’s London Directory.

          1790 Edinburgh Directory.

          1792 Lownde’s London Directory.

          1794 London directory.

          1805 Various London directories.

          1809 Glasgow.

          1814 Pigot's Directory of Chester. (Trades.)

          1814 Pigot's Directory of Leeds. (Trades.)

          1814 Pigot's Directory of Liverpool. (Trades.)

          1816 Birmingham Directory.

          1817 Leeds.

          1817 Johnstone's Directory of London.

          1817 Leeds


          1819 Post Office London Directory

          1820 Glasgow

          1820 Post Office London Directory

          1820 Glasgow

          1822 Huddersfield

          1822 Pigot & Co.'s Directory of London; Musical Instrument makers

          1824 Canterbury

          1824 Post Office London Directory

          1824 Kent

          1825 Nottingham


          1825 Pigot & Co., London

          1825 Nottingham

          1828 Leamington

1828 Pigot's National Commercial Directory covers an odd selection of major towns and cities in some (but not all) counties, and strangely avoids London.  From this, I copied every list that had piano, organ or music firms, including Chester, Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Scarborough, etc..

          1828 Worcester

          1829 Birmingham

          1830 Devon

          1830 Ipswich

          1830 Norwich

          1830 Post Office London Directory

          1830 Yarmouth

          1830 Devon

          1830 Great Yarmouth

          1830 Ipswich

          1830 Norwich

          1830 Suffolk

          1832 Manchester (Trades)

          1833 Edinburgh

          1834 Leeds

          1834 Edinburgh

          1834 Leeds


          1835 Dublin’s earliest classified Trades Directory

          1836 Isle Of Man

          1836 Norfolk

          1837 White’s Directory of Sheffield, Wakefield, Halifax, Bradford, Leeds

          1838 White’s Directory of Hull

          1838 Manchester Directory (Trades)

          1839 Ipswich

          1839 Norwich

          1839 London Pianoforte tuners

          1840 Dublin

          1840 Glasgow

          1840 Pigot & Co.'s Directory of London

          1840 Post Office London Directory

          1840 Dublin

          1841 Manchester

          1842 Norwich

          1842 Pigot & Co.'s Directory of London

          1842 Norwich

          1842 Penny Magazine – piano article


A single reel of microfiche in the Manchester Archives includes Pigot's Manchester directories for 1841, 1843, and 1845, but it is very difficult to tell which part is which, and it seems to end illogically with the 1843 list, so the most accurate description is "circa 1843".


          1844 East Anglia

          1844 Glasgow

          1844 Ipswich

          1844 Glasgow



Our collection of Victorian books, purchased for their piano content, includes a useful selection of The Illustrated London News for each decade from 1844 onwards.  As well as articles and general history, they include many piano ads, and the 1844 picture below, a cottage piano on board the Royal Yacht “Fairy”.  There was some debate in parliament during 2012 about whether the country should fork out public money for a new Royal yacht.



The Illustrated London News was first published in 1842, and suddenly, people could not only read the news, they could see engraved illustrations of major events, exotic animals, foreign peoples, landscapes, and all sorts of things about the world around them.  Here are some other items from 1844…



Death of Mormon prophet.  Monster Gun at the Tower of London.  Quatrobus.  Snippets about Steam Railways.  Tom Thumb’s Carriage.  Buckingham Palace.  Many small ads for pianos, etc..




          1845 Slater’s Directory of Sheffield, York, Huddersfield, Hull, Leeds

          1845 Williams’ Directory of Huddersfield

          1845 Birmingham

          1845 Norfolk

          1845 Birmingham

          1845 Norwich

          1845 Post Office London Directory

          1848 Aberdeen's first directory classified in trades

          1848 Slater’s Directory of Bradford, Dewsbury, Doncaster, Halifax

          1848 Manchester

          1848 Post Office London Directory

          1850 Birmingham

          1850 Exeter

          1850 Birmingham

          1850 Devon

          1850 Post Office London Directory


          1851 Great Exhibition; Official Catalogue has many items of general history

          1851 Great Exhibition; Art Journal Catalogue has many items of general history


          1853 Tomlinson’s Cyclopaedia of Useful Arts & Manufacture has many items of general history.

          1853 White’s Directory of Leeds & Halifax

          1854 London

          1854 Imperial Dictionary has many items of general history

          1854 London Gazetteer has many items of general history

          1855 Post Office London Directory

          1856 Post Office London Directory

          1858 Nottingham



          1858 Illustrated London News has many items of general history

          1858 Nottingham

          1859 Illustrated London News has many items of general history

          1860 Post Office London Directory

          1860 Illustrated London News has many items of general history

          1863 Exhibition Catalogue - South London Working Men. No illustrations.

          1865 Exhibition Catalogue - South Kensington Museum. No illustrations.

          1866 Devon

          1866 London

          1866 Devon

          1867 Paris Exposition:  Extracts from two catalogues

          1870 Bristol

          1870 Family Friend magazine has many items of general history

          1870 Post Office London Directory


          1871 Rudall & Co. stock records

          1871 Manchester


          1871 Franco-Prussian War, broken book


          1872 Family Friend magazine

          1873 Bristol

          1874 Bristol

          1874 Exeter

          1875 Bristol

          1876 Bristol

          1877 Bristol

          1878 Bristol

          1878 Pigot & Co.'s National Commercial Directory

          1878 Reconstruction of part of Sherborne's stocklist


          1878 Illustrated London News has many items of general history,

such as the Norwich floods, and Paris Exposition.

          1880 Melbourne Exhibition

          1880 Post Office London Directory

          1881 Yorkshire

          1882 Illustrated London News has many items of general history

          1882 Post Office London Directory

          1884 Glasgow

          1884 London

          1884 Glasgow

          1886 Birmingham


          1886 Kelly's Directory of the Cabinet & Furnishing Trades is our earliest list of

piano firms covering the whole of England, Scotland & Wales.


          1886 Scientific American – inventions, patents, general history

          1888 Concertina Makers & Dealers

          1890 Birmingham

          1890 Dublin


          1892 Musical Opinion & Music Trades Review


          1892 Post Office London Directory – 8 inches thick, with references to names, trades, streets etc..

          1894 Kelly's Directory of the Cabinet & Furnishing Trades

          1894 Exposition Universelle, Antwerp

          1894 Birmingham

          1895 Essex

          1897 Book on 60 years of Queen Victoria’s reign.

          1899 Kelly's Directory of the Cabinet & Furnishing Trades

          1900 Birmingham

          1900 Dublin


          1901-1904 “The Connoisseur” magazines include ads, art and furniture, just at the time when there was an explosion of advertising for Automatic Piano Players, which suddenly took over most of the piano ad space.

          1901-2        Books on the life of Queen Victoria.

          1903 Illustrated London News has many items of general history

          1905 Musical Herald has items of general history

          1908 Middlesex

          1910 The Times – a huge bound volume, last quarter of the year, has many items of general history

including a report on Dr Crippen's trial, cars, fashion, and player piano ads.

          1911 Kelly's Directory of the Cabinet & Furnishing Trades

          1911 Coronation books

          1911 Alfred Dolge "Pianos and their makers"


          1913 Cabinet Maker magazines include many piano ads and listings

          1914 Chas. Begg & Co., New Zealand, stock records

          1914 Music Trades Directory


          1928 Musique Adresses Universel - worldwide lists of music firms

          1929 Kelly's Directory of Norfolk & Suffolk

          1936 Kelly's Directory of the Cabinet & Furnishing Trades

          1938 Music Trades Directory

          1938 List of Collard & Collard dealers

          1939 Berlin

          1949 Who's Who in Music: Pianoforte Manufacturers

          1951 Directory of the British Music Industry

          1960 Post Office London Directory

          1962 Who's Who in Music; Pianoforte Manufacturers

          1968 Music Trades Directory

          1969 London Pianoforte Manufacturers


…and various more modern trade directories, Yellow Pages entries, piano books, etc..  Without donations, I will be fine, but PianoHistory.Info may not survive.  If every visitor to this site made a donation, we would be able to add more displays to our museum building, and improve facilities for research within our own archives.


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