|This dataset is a study of urban occupations in Britain in the early Industrial Revolution, via analysis of entries in sixteen early urban directories.
Local town directories were produced in increasing numbers from the 1760s onwards. They were ad hoc works, generally providing listings of leading local inhabitants, with their names, addresses and occupations.
The sources used for this database were selected from all large urban centres with early listings. One directory (or relevant section from a directory) was analysed for every urban centre for which such a local publication was produced either in the 1770s or 1780s. In some cases, the selection was simple, as only one such volume was available. Where there were many (as in the case of London or Birmingham), a substantial edition from an appropriate date was chosen. The range of towns investigated was as wide as possible within the British Isles, defined only by the existence of relevant sources. Most of the early directories served the larger urban communities , although not all big cities had them. In addition, a few smaller places were also included, to add to the range of urban centres in the survey. In all the time span covered was a relatively compact period of fifteen years: from 1772 to 1787.