There are now sevaral archives containing records on specific occupations or trades. This is a list of those now available on Ancestry or Findmypast (both pay-to-view), or on free websites. Other places to try are trade directories, and search on Google Books limiting the search to 19th century (or whichever century is applicable) will probably reveal general background information on how the trade or occupation was conducted.
This is an example of the type of occupation records that are available.
Newspaper archives are now a very important source of information for researching your family tree.
Find your ancestors in the newspapers.
Try our example search to discover if your ancestors are in the British Newspaper Archive.
Also look at other newspaper archives and learn how they can help you research your ancestors. >>more
Ebay is a good source of old images of Essex towns and villages. If you're looking for pictures to add to your family tree album, then try one of the auctions, or there are several 'Buy It Now' shops offering postcards which have been touched up and improved - so if you're unsure about bidding, try these. Link already formatted for Essex Postcards. Browse through or type the name of the location in the Ebay search box.