Hampshire Archives and Local Studies describes trade directories:
Directories provide information on local communities, and can help to fill in gaps between censuses.
They contain descriptions of parishes, towns and villages, including institutions such as the church and local government, lists of well-to-do private residents, trades and professions, and also advertisements.
The increasing number of travelling tradesmen in the 18th and 19th centuries used directories for commercial purposes.
Online, you can search Trade Directories at www.historicaldirectories.org and at subscription webistes including Ancestry and Find my Past.
Ancestry can be accessed for free at Hampshire Record Office and several Hampshire libraries. Find my Past is available in all Hampshire libraries.
A project by Leicester University to digitise several trade directories around the United Kingdom between 1750 and 1900 and to make them available online includes the following Hampshire Directories, which have information at village level.
Post Office Directory of Hampshire, Wiltshire and Dorsetshire, 1855. (733 pages)
Directory of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, 1859. (667 pages)
Harrod and Co.’s Directory of Hampshire and Isle of Wight, 1865. (754 pages)
Post Office Directory of Hampshire, Wiltshire and Dorset, 1875. (1062 pages)
Kelly’s Directory of Hampshire and Isle of Wight, 1898. (1095 pages)
Archive CD Books sell some of the missing years
Most local libraries have some trade directories, for example Andover Public Library. And Hampshire Archives and Local Studies also has several on its open shelves.
[To avoid problems of copyright, these extracts have been taken from photocopies from the original books].