This is a general guide to the resources available to those researching the history of a specific company or industry sector.
Printed material deposited here by the Stock Exchange includes loan and company prospectuses from 1824 to 1964 and annual reports of quoted companies from 1880 to 1965. Historical files of commercial periodicals and statistical series are also available.
Annual reports of companies quoted on the London Stock Exchange are available for the years 1880-1965. We advise to first consult Burdett's later Stock Exchange Official Intelligence, 1882-1933 (merged with the Stock Exchange Yearbook from 1934) to confirm if the company was listed.
We do not hold annual reports from 1965 onwards except for nationalised companies for the period when they were state-owned.
Other sources for company information include:
Prominent members of the business community can be traced using sources such as trade and court (residential) directories such as:
We hold a number of useful bibliographies and guides to tracing business histories. These list firms for which a history has been published or indicate where surviving company archives have been deposited.
The library also holds the International Directory of Company Histories, a multi-volume work published from 1988 which contains historic profiles of international firms.
In addition to sources held in Guildhall Library, archives of many businesses with City of London connections are currently held at the London Metropolitan Archives (LMA). LMA also has comprehensive business guides with an A-Z, trade index, and geographical index for firms operating in countries outside the UK. Prior written permission from the depositor may be required in some instances.
We advise you check our online catalogue as we buy business histories for City and London firms as well as major UK companies.
If a company was quoted on the London Stock Exchange, the Stock Exchange Yearbook for the relevant year will provide some information and also indicate the category or industry name. Company reports and accounts are filed annually by industry within the Stock Exchange collection.
Company dissolution sources
Notices of bankruptcies sources
Company liquidation sources
**These are stored offsite and advance ordering is required when consulting the files.
We have microfilm index of company registrations between 1856 and 1973 covering the UK including the Channel Islands and Eire. While not complete, it gives the official registration number, date and reference to printed registration details. The library holds separate listings for Dublin, Belfast, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.
Details of company registrations are published in the following sources:
We have one of the largest collections of historic trade and telephone directories in the United Kingdom and these include:
We also hold London and provincial historic trade directories and current and previous editions of UK phone books including:
Purchasing power of the pound
Retail Price Index/Cost of living
Information on share prices listed on a daily basis
Annual average share prices
The Stock Exchange Highest and Lowest Prices and Dividends, 1895 to 1991.
For monthly and annual security values index numbers
The Financial Times Guide to using the financial pages and A Guide to Financial Times Statistics explains where to find the relevant information.
For more information or assistance email Guildhall Library or call 020 7332 1868/1870.