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The Na­tional Records of Scot­land’s re­search guides in­clude a gen­eral one cov­er­ing crafts and trades which can be found at nrscot­land.gov.uk/ re­search/guides/ crafts-and-trades. The Na­tional Ar­chives’ guides also cover gen­eral top­ics in­clud­ing ap­pren­tices and busi­ness records ( na­tion­alarchives.gov.uk/ records/look­ing-for-per­son/other- oc­cu­pa­tions.htm).

Al­though there’s not a huge amount spe­cific to metal work­ing, the land­ing page for Ances­try’s oc­cu­pa­tional record sets at ances­try.co.uk/cs/uk/oc­cu­pa­tions-alta lists col­lec­tions such as Rail­way Work­ers (1833-1963) and Civil and Me­chan­i­cal En­gi­neer Records (1820-1930) de­tail­ing 100,000 names.

The Find­my­past equiv­a­lent is at bit.ly/1BKfVlb, and you can also trawl a range of oc­cu­pa­tional sets on the­ge­neal­o­gist.co.uk by click­ing the full list of Di­a­mond Data­bases via the ‘ Why Sub­scribe?’ box.

Cheshire Record Of­fice has var­i­ous data­bases on its web­site, in­clud­ing one that is based on 15 sur­viv­ing reg­is­ters of em­ploy­ees of the rail­way works at Crewe. You can ac­cess it at archive­databases.cheshire.gov.uk/archivesand­lo­cal­stud­ies/ search.aspx?archiveid=1.

Avail­able for free at ar­chive.org is In­dus­trial Bi­og­ra­phy: Iron-work­ers and Tool-mak­ers (1864) by Sa­muel Smiles, a com­pre­hen­sive bi­og­ra­phy of im­por­tant in­dus­tri­al­ists of the era.

Those with North­ern Ir­ish roots can try PRONI’s ded­i­cated di­rec­to­ries site at street­di­rec­to­ries.proni.gov.uk. An­other lit­tle Genuki gem is Stan Cook’s Gun­mak­ers & Al­lied Trades In­dex which can be found at genuki.org.uk/big/Gun­mak­ers.html.

Other sites of note are the In­sti­tu­tion of Me­chan­i­cal En­gi­neers ( imeche.org/knowl­edge/li­brary/ar­chive); the North of Eng­land In­sti­tute of Min­ing and Me­chan­i­cal En­gi­neers Li­brary ( minin­gin­sti­tute. org.uk); Union His­tory ( union­his­tory.info); the Peo­ple’s His­tory Mu­seum’s Study Cen­tre ( phm.org.uk/ ar­chive-study- cen­tre); the Work­ing Lives Re­search In­sti­tute ( work­inglives.org) and liv­erycompa­nies.com, which in­cludes use­ful links to an­cient Lon­don Liv­ery Com­pa­nies.

For more gen­eral ad­vice there’s the Fam­i­lySearch oc­cu­pa­tions wiki ( fam­i­lysearch.org/learn/wiki/en/ Eng­land_Oc­cu­pa­tions), His­tor­i­cal Di­rec­to­ries ( bit.ly/1Hqm­pLy), where you can search by firm, busi­ness, re­lated trade or in­di­vid­ual and the Work­ing Class Move­ment Li­brary ( www.wcml.org.uk) which in­cludes an on­line cat­a­logue con­tain­ing archival ma­te­rial such as trade union records, per­sonal pa­pers and records of or­gan­i­sa­tions.

The Peo­ple’s His­tory Mu­seum’s Study Cen­tre can be a use­ful re­source

The Na­tional Records of Scot­land’s site has a Crafts and Trades sec­tion

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