Occupation and employment - men


The 1911 Census includes four categories relating to employment. The first of these is Personal occupation, "the precise branch of Profession, Trade, Manufacture, etc. If engaged in any Trade or Manufacture, the particular kind of work done, and the Article made or Material worked or dealt in should be clearly indicated." The second, Industry or service with which worker is connected, asks the respondent to clearly state the business carried out by the employer, unless this is obvious from the previous column, and that those employed by a public body should give its name. The third column asks respondents to specify whether they are workers, employers or working on their own account, and the fourth whether people are working at home. The General Register Office analysed the data by allocating codes. There were twenty-three categories, from I, those working for the Post Office and the police to XXIII, retired, pensioners, private means, students and scholars. Each had varying numbers of subdivisions, and subsets within these. The largest number of subdivisions, 11, is in category X, metalworking, the smallest is VIII, fishermen, which has no subsets. Many of the entries are brief and unclear, and a great many respondents did not fill in the second column, Industry or service, so coding the entries cannot have been easy, and analysing them now is difficult, but some conclusions can be drawn.

The 184 adult males, that is those aged 14 and over who were not still in school, were almost all in skilled working class or lower middle class occupations, as one might expect from the character of the neighbourhood. By far the biggest group was those involved in the transport industry. The majority of these, thirty, were employed in the motor works - presumably in the factories such as Napiers, Du Cros and Vanderell and Co., manufacturing electricians and motor ignition specialists, all of which were based just the other side of the railway line, only five minutes walk away. Intriguingly, there were also a substantial group of taxi drivers, thirteen, plus a superintending clerk of motor cabs and a private chauffeur. Other workers in the transport industry included a railway engine driver, a traffic inspector on the railways, two Railway Clearing Office clerks, an electrical engineer on the underground railway, a shipping clerk, a ship's fireman, and a cycle department manager.

Twenty-three men worked for central and local government, in a wide variety of occupations. There were two architects working for the London Council, three teachers, a school attendance officer and a clerk to a local council education department. Other local government workers included two clerks for the LCC, and an inspector of nuisances (a public health inspector in today's terminology) The civil servants included clerks, messengers, and a telegraphist, and there were also two Post Office sorters.

Another sizeable group worked in food and drinks trades, bakers, brewers, fishmongers and grocers. There was a commercial traveller for a beer bottler and a hop merchant's clerk, the manager of a wholesale milk company and two provision warehousemen. The garment trades provided a similar sized group, including tailors, a bootmaker, drapers and hosiers, travellers in drapery and undershirts, a clothier and dealer, and a draper's window dresser. Those in the building trades including two builders (employers), one retired, an apprentice electrician, two joiners, a plumber, two house painters, an improver and an outside manager.

There are a small group of arts-related occupations, glass painter and artist, jewellery maker, printer's artist, silversmith, sculptor, wood engraver, and block cutter to art wallpaper manufacturers. There were two apprentices, an electrician and a woollen warehouseman, and seven men who were retired, and two were described themselves in receipt of pensions, army and police, and now employed as Civil Service messenger and motor works gateman. There were a vast range of other occupations too numerous to list in full - photographer, hairdresser, pawnbroker's assistant, foreman millwright, cabinet maker, hotel servant, and a man of letters.