Place of birth


The Census form asked for the birthplace of everyone, and the nationality of everyone born in a foreign country. Those born in the UK were instructed to write the county and town or parish, those born in any other part of the British Empire to give the name of the colony, dependency, etc. and the province or state, and those born in a foreign country to give the name of the country. The final category was "At sea", and one of our respondents, a 41-year-old printer's artist, did put that, but sadly we have no further details. Persons born elsewhere than England and Wales were supposed to state whether they were residents or visitors, but not all did. Anyone born in a foreign country was asked if they were British by parentage or naturalisation, and if neither to give their nationality.

There were fourteen people who had been born outside the British Isles, five in the Empire, and the rest in foreign countries. Three children from the Charlton family had been born in Toronto, Canada, but their oldest sister and youngest brother and sister had been born in London. Was this a failed emigration attempt? Or possibly their father, in 1911 a builder (and employer) by trade had gone there for work. Two women had been born in India. One, born in Orissa, was the daughter of a "civil engineer retired on pension from the Government of Bengal", the other the visiting midwife. There were four German nationals, two married couples, Andreas (an employment agent working on his own account) and Louisa Philipps, with four young children all born in London, and Ludwig (a cabinet maker) and Marie Bedel, with two children born in London. Two individuals were born in France. Eugene Gennesson was a 26-year-old watchmaker and dealer, and a French national, and Lucie Marguerite Tofts, 30, with a new baby, was "British by parentage". There were three people born in Russia. One of these, Marie Sophia Sparshott, born in St Petersburg in 1887 and married to an assistant teacher, is described as British by parentage. The other two were a married couple, the Chekins, both aged 25, with a one-year-old son. Interestingly his name is very clearly given as Andrew (an Anglicisation?) but the baby is called Anatole-Felix. His occupation is given as "man of letters".

The home nations of the British Isles were represented in comparatively small numbers. There were four people who had been born in Ireland, fifteen in Scotland and four in Wales. The Irish, three women, all married, and a man, a telegraph clerk, came from the island's three major cities, Belfast, Cork and Dublin, and from Navan in Co. Meath. The Scots, eight women and seven men, came from a mix of cities - Glasgow, Dundee, Aberdeen - smaller towns, and from the countryside. There were a variety of occupations from architect and sculptor to lady's maid and engine fitter. The two women and two men born in Wales came from Cardiff and Swansea, Pembrokeshire in the west and Machynlleth, once Owain Glyndwr's capital, in mid-Wales, modern Powys. Their occupations were law clerk, tailor, milliner and housewife.

The remainder, nearly 93%, had been born in England, and 64% of those had been born within the area of modern Greater London, very similar to the numbers of London-born in London as a whole, 68%. In 1911 Acton was in Middlesex, but our area is very close to the boundary, and a number of people put Acton, London, rather than Acton, Middlesex. There were similar confusions among those who put Chiswick. Only four out of the 55 born in Acton were adults, and thirty-nine were under 5, reflecting both Acton's rapid population growth in the preceding years and the appeal of the new houses to couples with young or new families. (For more information on age structure see Ages.) Out of all those born in London, 19% were under 5 and 40% under fourteen. Most came from the neighbouring boroughs to the east or from Chiswick, 31 from Kensington, 29 from Hammersmith and Shepherds Bush, 18 from Paddington, and 16 from Chiswick. The areas immediately to the west were scarcely represented, one from Hanwell, one from Brentford. The remainder of the London-born, 151 in total, came from all across the capital, north and south of the river, from Bromley by Bow to Barnes, Willesden to Wimbledon.

For those born in England, but outside London, every English country was represented by at least one person, with four exceptions, Derbyshire, Northumberland, Oxfordshire and Rutland. Only four had representatives in double figures. There were eight men and two women from Kent (ten households), five men and five women from Cornwall (six households), six men and five women from Lancashire (seven households), and four men and eleven women from Norfolk (twelve households).