Page created: 17 June 2006
Reformatted: 27 December 2011
Latest revision or update: 31 December 2013


City Directories for 1855, 1888, 1927 and 1934

By: Ann Rabinowitz
June 24, 2001

 ALL UK Database

One of the many enticing things about researching the city of Manchester, England, is the great diversity of people who made the decision to live there and the various types of employment that they became involved in. Mainly, this was due to the fortuitous circumstance of the town being situated at the confluence of three Rivers . . . the Medlock, Irwell and the Irk, and its connection with the Manchester Ship Canal, built in 1894, and its distinction as a major rail center and essential stop for travelers and immigrants.

From Roman times, the city has held a position of prominence in the north of England and continues to this day. During the 1800's it was the most well-known industrial city in the world with factories that pumped out cotton material, clothing and manufactured goods with tremendous commercial success.

It was also the home of various prominent critics of society such as Marx and Engels, social welfare advocates and trade unionists. It had an intellectual life and a cultural one too which flourished due to a large university, free libraries, numerous newspapers, plays, musicals, and orchestras dominated the scene. There was a ferment of activity.

It drew a Jewish population from earliest times, but the one's who we find recorded in the greatest numbers are those who came in the 1800's and 1900's. The Austro-Hungarian, German and Sephardic Jewish communities settled in and made themselves at home quite readily as the climate for commerce was full of possibilities. They thrived. The great flood of Eastern European Jews followed with Ukrainian, Rumanian and Lithuanian Jews predominating. These were Jews who came with little urban or industrial skills. They began to find their niche in several areas, many of them poor industrial areas with sub-standard slum housing and facilities. The force of the immigration caused growing pains in the community, but they managed, in time, to form the necessary community institutions such as synagogues, schools and welfare organizations to ameliorate this situation.

Certain streets took on the primary commercial focus for the Jewish community such as York Street, Bury Old Road, Bury New Road, and Cheetham Hill Road. The streets off these major thoroughfares were thickly settled with the new immigrants.

As you look at the growth of these major streets from 1855 to 1934, you will see that the gentile merchants gave way to an increasing amount of Jewish trade, although many of the non-Jewish institutions such as churches remained. The immigrants developed professions to meet the needs of the industrial revolution that was exploding around them. They began with tailoring, shmeering, and rag dealing and proceeded up the ladder to the pinnacles of factory ownership, factoring, retailing and the educational, banking, legal and medical professions.

This cohesive Jewish lifestyle continued until WWII and the Manchester Blitz of December 22-24, 1940, and further air raids of the area until July 27, 1942. Thereupon, entire Jewish areas were destroyed and the finely-woven fabric of Jewish society was torn asunder. Jews were forced to move to unfamiliar and mostly gentile areas. Slowly, their major commercial streets were expanded to the areas where they now lived in the north and south of Manchester and the outer suburbs.

This database reflects the period prior to WWII during which the vitality of the Jewish community could be measured by these major streets . . . that special time when they were the lifeblood of the community.

The information for the database was taken from what are called City Directories. These books preceded telephone directories and listed information by street address with the person's name and occupation. The directories commenced in 1772 with the last edition being published in 1969. There were a number of publishers of these directories over this long period of time, but the main ones were Slater's and Kelley's.

The Directories are available in hard copy and microfilm from the Manchester Library and other libraries in Great Britain. Whilst these directories are no longer published, further detailed information on them can be obtained from Reed Business Information, Ltd., which holds the copyright.

Since access to the City Directories is so limited outside the United Kingdom, the ability to view even a few of them on-line is an important step forward for researchers of Manchester Jewry.

The database is presently composed of approximately 1,344 entries, which includes both Jews and gentiles. All information contained in the City Directories is provided in the database. The years covered are 1855 (143 entries), 1884 (230 entries), 1927 (560 entries), and 1934 (411 entries). The next addition to the database will be the 1905 entries for certain streets.

The database contains the following fields:


The year refers to the year of the Directory from which the information was taken. The years covered are 1855, 1888, 1927, and 1934. Other years such as 1905 will be added in the future.


The streets covered are Bury New Road, Cheetham Hill Road, and York Road, all of which stretched from the Jewish ghetto of Strangeways to the Higher Broughton sections of Manchester. Other streets such as Bury Old Road and those in the south of Manchester will be added later.


In order to differentiate between both sides of the street, one is called West (the odd numbered side) and the other East (the even numbered side).


This refers to the number of the home or business. Very often there are subdivisions or multiple tenancies in the property and these are seen as "a", "b", "c", etc. Also, some buildings or estates do not have numbers at all, i.e., St. Chad's Roman Catholic Church, Manchester Jews' School, and Jews' Synagogue.


To give an idea of exactly where the property is located, the Directories give the cross streets. For instance, 31 Bury New Road, is on the west side of the street between Cheetwood Street and Harris Street. So, the entry would read: Block From - Cheetwood Street.


In the same vein as the previous paragraph, the address 31 Bury New Road would read: Block To - Harris Street.


The last names are usually spelled correctly, but there are exceptions. Since the information covers 1855 through 1934, you may find that individuals changed their names or modernized them to suite the times. For instance, in 1905, Morris RADOWANITZ, who lived at 43 Bury New Road, spelled his name as he had in Lithuania. In much later years, he and his family had revised their name to Radivan. Very often, last names were anglicized.

In addition, there were many sephardim as well who you will note in the listings such as Judah Bentata, M.B. Habib, Raphael Lisbona, Samson Levi and Victor Nahum. These were the Jews who came to Manchester in the early 1900's and provided the basic foundation for the Manchester Jewish community.

Looking closely, one can find that the onslaught of Eastern European Jews is reflected in the names one sees on the streets in the years prior to WWI.

While all types of businesses are listed, there are numerous Jewish-related organizations and social welfare groups that begin to appear as well including hospitals. Of note are the Zionist organizations. Manchester was a leading city in the development of Zionism due to the many years that Dr. Chaim Weizmann spent there. In addition, you will see Christian organizations catering to the conversion of the Jewish population such as the "Medical Mission to the Jews" and also fascist organizations which became so virulent during WWII.


In some cases, the first name is abbreviated and I have provided the unabbreviated form, i.e., Thos. is Thomas. Honorifics and/or titles such as Mr., Mrs., Hon., Sir, and Dr., follow the first name and are separated by a slash. For doctors and other professionals, their name is followed by the abbreviations for their specialty and the school they graduated from such as "Henry / MRCS Eng. LRCP Lon". PROFESSION

By far, the most interesting part of this database is the listing of the professions. You will notice that many professions are focused on the needs of Edwardian/Victorian times, such as bleeder with leeches, chimneysweeper, pianoforte dealer and tuner, ostrich feather merchant, saddler, and many others such as these that no longer exist.

As Manchester was often called "Cottonopolis" and was the leading exporter of cotton goods and other manufactured materials, the professions tended to reflect that industrial strength and the cold, damp climate. Some of these professions are waterproofmaker, silk mercer, cotton spinner, cotton waste dealer, fustian dyer, machine maker, ironmonger, fent dealer, mantle dealer, and hosier.

There were other professions that were practiced by the lowly immigrants when they first came to the area such as tailor, rag merchant, fruiterer, grocer, fried fish merchant, traveller, cap maker, and milliner.

The Jewish immigrants also required much needed basic necessities and these were provided by numerous bakeries, confectioners, furniture dealers, bicycle makers, drapers, beer retailers, tobacconists, dressmakers, butchers, boot & shoe makers, hardware dealers, plumbers, coal dealers, news dealers, monument makers, chemists and surgeons.


The information in the City Directories will give the researcher a beginning for their endeavors. As additional years and streets are added, the database will provide a more comprehensive feel to the Manchester Jewish Community. To further increase your knowledge of Manchester, it is suggested that you read the resources provided n the bibliography below. Many of these resources are available through the Manchester Central Library, the Manchester Jewish Museum and on-line bookstores.


"Slater's General and Classified Directory and Street Register, of Manchester and Salford, with their vicinities", Isaac Slater, Manchester, 1855.

"Royal National Commercial Directory of Manchester and Salford, with their vicinities", Isaac Slater, Manchester, 1884.

"Kelly's (Slater's) Directory of Manchester, Salford and Suburbs, 1927", Kelly's Directories, Ltd., London, 1927.

"Kelly's (Slater's) Directory of Manchester, Salford and Suburbs, 1934", Kelly's Directories, Ltd., London, 1934.

"Almonds and Raisins, The Rise and Fall of the Manchester Jewish Quarter" by the Manchester Jewish Museum, Manchester.

"Broughton and Cheetham Hill in Regency and Victorian Times by Monty Dobkin, Manchester:

"It's All Different Now . . . Some Manchester Memories by Monty Dobkin, Manchester: Neil Richardson, 1989.

"Jewish Welfare in Hamburg and Manchester c. 1850-1914" by Rainer Liedtke, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998.

"Manchester Jewry, A Pictorial History 1788-1988" by Bill Williams, Manchester: Archive Publications, 1988.

"More Tales of Manchester Jewry" by Monty Dobkin, Manchester: Neil Richardson, 1994.

"My Father was Born on Trafalgar Street, An American Finds His Way Home to England" by Harvey Gotliffe, Santa Cruz, CA: Cogitator Publications, 1997.

"Our Blitz, Red Skies Over Manchester, A Wartime Facsimile" by Kemsley Newspapers Limited, Manchester: Aurora Publishing, 1945.

"Sir Sidney Hamburger and Manchester Jewry, Religion, City and Community" by Bill Williams, London: Valentine-Mitchell, 1999.

"Tales of Manchester Jewry and Manchester in the Thirties" by Monty Dobkin, Manchester: Neil Richardson, 1986.

"The Making of Manchester Jewry, 1740-1875" by Bill Williams, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1985.

"They Came from the Haim, A History of Manchester Jewry from 1867" by Jewish Social Services (Greater Manchester), Manchester, 1995.


This database has been prepared in honor of my late grandparents Lewis Fink and Rose Oxenberg, who came to Manchester in the late 1890's, and their seven surviving children: Bessie, Ike, Harry, Ada, Sadie, Ben, and Fay. In addition, I would like to thank a number of Individuals who assisted by providing information and data. These are David Taylor, Librarian, Local Studies Unit, Manchester Archives and Local Studies, Central Library, Roslyn Livshin, Manchester Jewish genealogist and historian, and Don Rainger, Director, Manchester Jewish Museum. Also, I would like to acknowledge a special debt of gratitude to two Manchester historians, the late Monty Dobkin and Bill Williams for their many monographs and books dealing with Manchester which have provided so much background on the Jewish community.

The data contained in this dataset may not be reproduced without the consent of the author

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