Local Studies Resources

Guide to reference materials 

The main collection for Local Studies and Family History can be found on Floor 1 of Nottingham Central Library, although some small collections are available in community libraries across the city.

In addition, the Local Studies collection includes one copy of virtually every book written about Nottinghamshire people, places and subjects. The collection has information about the City of Nottingham specifically and the County of Nottinghamshire generally.

Historical Directories

Nottingham Local Studies Library has a large collection of historical trade and street directories dating from the late 1700s to the 1990s. Please see our list of historical directories available in the Local Studies Library.

Historical directories are a cross between modern day 'Yellow Pages' and gazetteers. They list local businesses and individuals.  Traditionally, directories were funded by subscriptions paid by the companies and individuals listed in the directory. Most directories include a historical and topographical summary of local towns and villages, and a list of notable residents.

Many of the directories have been copied onto microfiche to preserve the original printed copies, some are also available in electronic form via computers at local Nottingham City libraries. 

They are usually arranged in several parts

  • By place with an alphabetical listing of residents
  • By street with a list of individual inhabitants and businesses (larger towns only)
  • By type of business (Classified) with a list of names and addresses under each heading

Historical directories can be useful to local and family historians in a number of ways including

  • Locating an individual, either by name, address or occupation
  • Discovering who has lived at a particular address
  • Finding out about the types of trades and occupations done in the past 
  • Observing how a town or village developed over a number of years

Nottinghamshire Newspapers

All the main Nottinghamshire county newspapers have been preserved on microfilm, and are held at libraries in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire. Each title is kept at the most appropriate location for its coverage. Please see our list of newspapers on microfilm, including dates and locations.

List of newspapers on microfilm

If you are making a special journey to look at newspapers, it is advisable to contact the library in advance to book a microfilm reader, and to check availability of the film. Facilities for photocopying from microfilm exist at Nottingham Central Library and libraries in Arnold, Beeston, Hucknall, Kirkby, Mansfield, Newark, Stapleford, Sutton, and Worksop.

Local Maps

The Local Studies Library has a large collection of print and electronic maps covering the whole of Nottinghamshire. The maps include:

  • Ordnance Survey maps at a variety of scales from circa 1880 to date
  • Administrative maps of the County
  • Goad Plans
  • Geological maps
  • Tithe and Enclosure maps
  • Street maps of Nottingham

Current maps of Nottingham can be found at Nottingham Insight, providing access to data, information and intelligence about Nottingham and the surrounding areas.


Photographic Collection

The Local Studies Library has a large collection of photographs of Nottingham and Nottinghamshire subjects.  Many of the images are now available on the Picture Nottingham website.

Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Oral History Collection

The Local Studies Library's Oral History Collection contains recorded interviews with ordinary people, plus some well-known names, who lived and worked in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.

They recall their own memories of work at Boots, Players or Raleigh, in the lace and textile industries, in the countryside, down the mines and in a variety of other jobs.

They also tell of life on the dole, home life, schooldays, entertainments and social life: personal accounts of Nottingham and Nottinghamshire during the 20th century.

Nottingham Theatre Index

The Local Studies Library maintains an index of performances at Nottingham City's major theatrical venues from the early 1900s to date. The index is designed to serve both as a record of local productions and local performances by significant artists, and also acts as an aid to find playbills, programmes and ephemera associated with each production.

The main index may be viewed in the Local Studies Library. Please see our spreadsheet of articles in the index from 2012 to date. Work is in progress to add previous years - working backwards from 2012; it will be updated periodically.

Nottinghamshire Information Index


The Nottinghamshire Information Index, originally compiled by W.E. Doubleday, is a major resource containing information on Nottinghamshire people, places and events, from earliest times to the present day.

Nottingham born W.E. Doubleday spent his life recording information about Nottinghamshire and the Local Studies Library has added to the index, making it a valuable and unique resource for researchers and can be viewed in the Local Studies Library at Nottingham Central Library.

Nottinghamshire Companies Index

The Nottinghamshire Companies Index reflects the wide diversity of industries that that have existed in Nottinghamshire and helps to illustrate the change over time from a manufacturing to a more service based local economy and is updated on a regular basis.

Almost every sector of local industry and commerce is represented in the Nottinghamshire Companies Index, including:

  • chemical industries (such as Boots)
  • coal mining and its ancillary industries
  • construction industries (such as Trent Concrete and Kirton Brickworks)
  • designers (such as Paul Smith)
  • engineering companies (such as Brough Superior and Raleigh)
  • food and drink manufacturers (such as Castle Rock Brewery and Pork Farms)
  • textile trades, including lace and hosiery manufacturers (such Thomas Adams and Pretty Polly)
  • tobacco industries (such John Players)

In general, the Index includes only those companies for which there is a significant amount of information available (e.g. news cuttings, annual reports etc).  The Local Studies Library's collection of Historical directories may be used for finding basic information for example the address of company that existed in Nottinghamshire in the past.  Once a company has been located in the Index, further information may be obtained about it from the Local Studies Library.

Search the Nottingham Companies Index

Register of Electors

Electoral Roll

The Local Studies Library has old editions of the electoral register as follows:

  • a set of all registers covering the whole county of Nottinghamshire from 1838 to 2000; there is a gap covering the City of Nottingham area from 1913 to 1932
  • a set of all City of Nottingham electoral registers from 2000 onwards
  • other similar directories, such as Burgess and Citizen rolls - please ask staff for further information

Current editions of electoral registers

  • Nottingham Central Library has the full, unedited current version of the City of Nottingham Electoral Register
  • Most of Nottingham's community libraries have the current edited Registers for their local area

Viewing a current Electoral Register

The current Electoral Register for the City of Nottingham may be checked in person but not over the telephone or via e-mail.
It may be necessary for you to make an appointment to view the Register, please contact Nottingham Central Library before your visit: 0115 915 2842 or email enquiryline@nottinghamcity.gov.uk

Note: The Electoral Register does not have a name index - it is arranged by electoral ward and then by street. Please contact other local authorities in Nottinghamshire for further information about accessing their current registers - see details below.

Availability of Current Local Electoral Registers Within Nottinghamshire

Council Electoral Registration Office: Telephone: Email:
Nottingham City Loxley House, Station Street, Nottingham, NG2 3NG

0115 915 5555


Council Offices, Urban Road, Kirkby-in-Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, NG17 8DA

01623 457321

Bassetlaw Queen's Buildings, Potter Street, Worksop, Nottinghamshire, S80 2AH 01909 533533 customer.services@bassetlaw.gov.uk
Broxtowe Town Hall and Council Offices, Foster Avenue, Beeston, Nottingham, NG9 1AB 0115 917 7777 elections@broxtowe.gov.uk
Gedling Civic Centre, Arnot Hill Park, Arnold, Nottingham, NG5 6LU 0115 901 3901 elections@gedling.gov.uk
Mansfield Civic Centre, Chesterfield Road South, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, NG19 7BH 01623 463463 elections@mansfield.gov.uk
Newark and Sherwood Kelham Hall, Newark, Nottinghamshire, NG23 5QX 01636 650000 info@newark-sherwooddc.gov.uk
Rushcliffe Civic Centre, Pavilion Road, West Bridgford, Nottingham, NG2 5FE 0115 981 9911 customerservices@rushcliffe.gov.uk

Accessing Materials

  • Some materials are available for loan, but most of the stock is for use in the library only
  • Much of the collection - including all material for loan - is listed on the Online Catalogue, However a significant proportion of the stock is currently still only recorded in card catalogues on site
  • The larger part of the collection is housed in areas accessible only to staff - requests to view material may be made at the Help Desk on Floor 1
  • Because of the nature of some of the materials (such as newspaper cuttings, photographs, ephemera), many items are not individually catalogued but are filed according to their subject category

If you have any questions regarding access to materials, contact the Local Studies Library on 0115 915 2873 or email local_studies.library@nottinghamcity.gov.uk

Contact Us

Local Studies Library Nottingham Central Library Angel Row Nottingham NG1 6HP E-mail:Local_studies.library@nottinghamcity.gov.uk Fax: 0115 915 2840
Tel: 0115 915 2873

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