May 27, 2024


1921 Census of England and Wales reveals nation reeling from war

The National Archives 1921 Census of England and Wales was made available to the public on Thursday, providing an intimate and unusual portrait of a nation reeling from the devastation of World War I. On Thursday, the National Archives made the 1921 Census of England and Wales available online. It demonstrates the influence of the war and the Spanish flu epidemic on the economy, housing market, and social changes. For the first time, the Census inquired about each household member’s occupation. Constance Bernard Fitzhamon of Middlesex listed among the occupations she wanted her children to do as “getting into mischief,” “occupying feeding bottles,” and “getting into greater mischief.”

“The census enumerators rarely had a sense of humor about these entries and struck them out,” said David Olusoga, a public history lecturer at Manchester University. On the night of the census, Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of Sherlock Holmes, looked to be conducting a seance. He went on to say, “Lloyd George is hereby requested to bring forth that “land suited for heroes.”


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