Information from the 1911 Census

What sort of people lived in these houses when they first built? The 1911 Census, the eleventh decennial census to be held in England and Wales since the first one in 1801, provides a wealth of information on the households of the four roads.

The Census was held on 2 April 1911, a Sunday. The head of household was asked to supply information on everyone staying in the house on that night. Most of the questions asked repeated those in the 1901 census - relationship to head of household, age and sex, marital status, occupation, employment status, whether working at home, birthplaces and medical infirmities. But there were also some new questions, on the nationality of people born outside of the country, the 'industry or service with which [the] worker is connected', and lastly the children born to married women. Because of the increasing complexity and volume of the data the General Register Office introduced the use of Hollerith machine tabulators, which had been developed in 1890 for the US census of that year, the first use of automation in a British census. Partly because of the complexity of the data, but largely because of the massive disruption to the GRO caused by the First World War, the final results of the 1911 census were not published until 1923. You can find more information on the 1911 Census and links to some of the published reports on Histpop - The Online Historical Population Reports Website.

The website Find my past makes the 1911 Census data available online, though one has to either pay for a subscription or buy credits to view individual records. All the material has been transcribed, but it is also possible to view the original forms which the households completed, and which the enumerators used to compile the first summaries of data. (Being able to view the originals is crucial, as there are a number of errors in the transcriptions.) On the whole the standard of handwriting is high, a tribute to the Board Schools set up under the 1870 Education Act. The records for our area will be used to look at:

The Census returns for our area cover a total of 131 households, 43 in Alexandra Road, 20 in St Georges Road, 45 in Hatfield Road, and 23 in Southfield Road. Six of the houses in Alexandra Road were shared between two households, and Hatfield Road had one shared house. All the other houses and each of the Southfield Road flats contained a single household. There were also a few houses for which there are no returns, presumably because they were unoccupied on Census night, either because the houses were vacant or the household members were staying elsewhere.

The average occupancy for each household was four people. St Georges Road has a slightly higher occupancy per house, five, and the Southfield Road flats a slightly lower average of three. There was one single person household in Alexandra Road, a 39-year-old single dressmaker, two in Hatfield Road, a widowed 41-year-old law clerk and a single 46-year-old motor cab driver, and one in Southfield, a single 67-year-old lady's maid. The largest household, in Alexandra Road, held a husband and wife, their eight children, aged 1-14, and the wife's mother. There were twenty-three two-person households, twenty of them husband and wife, one widow with a small child, a single woman living with her elderly father, and another single woman living with her stepsister. There were forty-one households of three people, largely married couples with one child, but also married couples living with in-laws, and three single sisters in their 40s who did fancy needlework.