The city's importance began to grow following Parliament's decision in 1698 to end London-based Royal African Company's official monopoly in England on the triangular slave trade. By 1750, 43% of all British slave ships were setting sail from Liverpool, rising to 79% by the time the trade was abolished in 1807. This resource comprises all the street and trade directories in the collections of the Liverpool Record Office up to 1900, beginning with the first one to be published by John Gore in 1766. With few exceptions chiefly in the early years, Gore's directory thereafter appeared annually, enabling the researcher to chart the expansion of Liverpool as a commercial centre in the later 18th century, the effects of the cessation of the slave trade on the economic life of the city, and the revival of its fortunes in the Victorian era, as a major port bringing raw materials from the Empire to the industrial heartlands of North West England.
Also reproduced here are surviving examples of the half dozen unsuccessful attempts by other publishers to rival Gore's directory. These include: Lewis's Liverpool directory for 1790; Baines' History and directory of Liverpool for 1824; Robson's Alphabetical directory of Liverpool (1840); McCorquodale's Annual Liverpool directory (1848); Slater's Directory (1869); and A. Green & Co.'s Directory for Liverpool & Birkenhead (1870); as well as the section entitled "Description and directory of Lancaster and Liverpool", from the Universal British directory, dated c.1794.