Using the Bibliography

BHE comprises two components – 1] publication details which can be searched for under the ‘Publications’ tab and 2] business, industry or subject details which can be searched for under the ‘Business/Subject’ tab.

Businesses/Subjects Information Fields:

BHE has the following data fields relating to businesses, industries and subjects:

Name of business, industry or subject: One name only is provided and not multiple names. In the case of a business – which in its history may well have traded under several names – the actual name selected is 1] wherever possible a legal name, as opposed to the name of a person or plant, and 2] the name under which the business traded for the longest period or otherwise with which it became most closely associated.

Notes on businesses: This text field provides a short account of a business’s history to assist the searcher in assessing its significance. It presents key information such as dates of formation and closure; names under which the business traded other than that given in the Name of business, industry or subject field (see above); details of founder; reasons for closure; etc. It is important to note that these short histories are not authoritative and are often based on easily obtained information, acquired, say, via the internet. No histories are given for some groups of business entities, most notably co-operative societies and livery companies. Nor are histories provided for industries

Town/city: This is the principal city, town or village associated with a business or industry. Typically a business, throughout its history, is associated with just one location. When this is not so, other principal locations may be given in the Notes on businesses field (above).

Local authority: This is the present local authority area in which the Town/city above is located. This is defined as a unitary or county authority (as at 2012).

County (1974): These are the counties established as a result of local authority reorganisation in 1974 and now, in some instances, abolished and replaced by unitary authorities. They broadly equate with the current ‘ceremonial’ county structure. This field is provided as many 1974 county areas – such as Greater Manchester, Merseyside, Strathclyde, Tyne & Wear, West Midlands and West Yorkshire – coincide with areas of industrial conurbation and specialisation.

Country:  This is the country in which the Town/city above is located. Searches are possible under England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. United Kingdom is only given where an industry or subject relates to the whole country. Countries outside the UK are given when a business has its principal operations there.

Sector and sub-sector: Multiple sector and sub-sector are given per business or industry. The structure used is very loosely based on the British Industrial Classification.

Business/Subject Searches

Business/subject records: This enables a keyword search across all Businesses/subjects fields, in particular across the name of business, industry or subject field and its associated notes on businesses field. Search here to locate publications relating to a particular business. Results are delivered in relevance order although there is a facility for organising these in alphabetical order which is useful in some circumstances.

Publications Information Fields:

BHE has the following data fields relating to publications. Most need no explanation, viz:



Publication type. Monograph, periodical article, chapter, dissertation (x class), unpublished essay or manuscript, product literature, employment literature, electronic publication

Year published. The year given is generally that of the latest revised edition

Pages, if illustrated and what edition?

Place published


Notes. This is a text field where, sometimes, particular details of the publication and its content are given. These might include dates of earlier editions; whether the book is largely pictorial; etc. Sometimes a short description of contents is provided

Library. Wherever possible, a library or achives location is given for each publication. This is because much of the bibliography’s content is privately printed or had small print runs and therefore a library location might be relatively difficult to locate. Where a publication is known to exist in more than one library – which is very often the case – the library selected is based on the following order of preference: British Library; National Library of Scotland; National Library of Wales; other copyright libraries; leading specialist libraries – eg Library of Centre for Business History in Scotland, Glasgow, and Guildhall Library, London; local authority reference libraries; private collections. When no library location can be found, wherever possible the source of information about the publication is given in the Notes field.

Publications Searches:

Publication records: This enables a keyword search across all Publications fields, in particular across the title field, its associated notes field and author field.