Scottish Post Office directories

Did you know?

Most of our featured Scottish Post Office directories contain information beyond the many alphabetical lists and internal directories.

This could be general information — like taxes, calendars or charges for phone calls.

It might also include local statistics, news or historical and descriptive texts.

The rise of telephones

Phone numbers began to appear in directories in the 1880s, being only three digits long.

Illustrtion of old phone More about telephones >

Commercial photography begins

Directories are great for tracing the early developments of commercial photography through adverts for photographic studios.

Wording from advert for photographer More about photography >

Local statistics, events and fairs

Find out more about historic local events or the dates when markets were being held.

Woodblock illustration of corn sheaf More about local information >

Census records and population tables

Directories can help you track the increase or decrease of populations in certain areas.

Detail from Perth census, 1891 More about census and population >

Customs and duties payable

Discover the petty custom payable for a pint of honey or the shore-dues for a ton of salmon.

Detail of legacy duties More about duties and taxes >

The development of dentistry

The 19th century saw a rapid increase in adverts for artificial teeth and, maybe more importantly, painless dentistry.

Etching of an upper set of false teeth More about dentistry >

Sun, moon, tides and weather

Directories interlink the phases of the sun and moon with tides, annual calendars and weather forecasts.

Detail of document More about tides and weather >

Eminent Scots

Follow the trails of eminent Scots such as Adam Smith, Sir Walter Scott, and Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

Adam Smith's name on printed page More about eminent Scots >

Dundee's whale fishing industry

Dundee directories are great witnesses of the town's history of whale fishing and the vast industry that came with it.

Detail from company information More about Dundee whaling >

Ships and shipping

Scotland's directories contain a vast amount of information on ships, shipping lists and the country's shipbuilding industry.

Etching of a dockside with sailing ship and dock workers More about ships and shipping >

Broomielaw porters' fees

Wondering what you'd have paid for porters' services at Glasgow's Broomielaw quay in 1835? Start with the Post Office directory.

Eetching of two dock workers More about Broomielaw porters >

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