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1921 Census - The Postcard Census

29 April 2021

The 'Postcard Census'

It may seem a simple matter to collect information in a census. Just ask the questions and analyse the answers. However, life is not that simple. The 1921 census asked a new question about each employed person's place of work. This is not a problem if you work around the corner from your house, but what happens if you ask where a person works and it is in a different town to where they live? How does the system know how to analyse the information? Here's the process which went on behind the scenes.

Census 1921 - Sabbath Concerns

22 April 2021

Sabbath Concerns – the 1921 Census and an advertising slip

On 12 June 1921, The Observer reported:  "The Census. Delivery of Schedules. Handsome Advertising Revenue. Distribution of schedules started yesterday, with the enclosed slips explaining that 'where the dates Sunday and Monday, April 24 and 25 occur, Sunday and Monday, June 19 and 20, must be read.  The back of this correction slip has been sold to a firm of advertising agents, who are paying £1,000 for the use of each million copies". The sale of this advertising space, while rewarding the Exchequer, caused some concern in Parliament, and a series of questions was asked about tendering for the sale of space, and the outcome in terms of suitability for what could be seen as government endorsement of a product.

Census 1921 - Give Peace a Chance

15 April 2021

Give Peace a Chance

The Defence Force was established in April 1921 when the British Government put in place the 'Emergency Powers Act 1920'.  This directive was triggered in order to overcome an industrial crisis in the coal mining industry and a threat of civil unrest.  The Government was planning to decontrol the mines and railways in 1921.  The coal industry was making heavy losses and owners argued that wage cuts were needed. On 1st April 1921 the Miners Federation of Great Britain (MFGB) refused terms of the wage dispute and miners were subsequently 'locked out' of the pits. Their leaders appealed to railwaymen and transport workers for a sympathy strike but on 15 April 1921 they refused and this became known as 'Black Friday'. This resulted in the end of the unions 'Triple Alliance'.

Census 1921 - Baby it's Cold Outside

09 April 2021

Baby it's Cold Outside!

We think of our ancestors homes with only a coal fired stove to cook with and a small fireplace for warmth we may imagine them to be delightful and cosy but few perhaps consider the practicalities of the situation.  In winter, there would have been times when it was so cold that ice would form on the inside of the bedroom windows, it may have been impossible to take a bath because the bathroom was so bitterly cold.. Therefore, in 1921 when the miners took  decisive strike action against pay cuts it was a disastrous turn of events for everyone.

Census 1921 - It's Coming

16 March 2021

It's Coming!

As family historians Sunday 21 March is probably a date we all have circled on our calendars.  This is because we know how important it is to provide information in order to be counted for the Office of National Statistics (ONS).  Maybe secretly we are hoping that the information we provide today will be as useful for our descendants as previous census material has been for us.

Census 1921 - Taxing Times

07 March 2021

Taxing Times

Now just a rapidly fading memory, the car tax disk made its first appearance on 1 January 1921. For nearly 100 years replacing the tax disk was one of the annual motoring rituals.

Present Arms!

21 January 2021

Imagine a highly virulent virus, of unknown origin, which was killing thousands of people young and old.  And, the only way to stop it sweeping though communities and save inhabitants was to develop a vaccine and inoculate the population.  The government would no doubt need to establish a vaccination policy and in fact make it compulsory.

Alternative Facts

06 December 2020

"You're saying it's a falsehood and Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that" (Kellyanne Conway, 22 Jan 2017). But it isn't just presidential inaugurations which give rise to "Alternative Facts", we may find our own family research produces more than one picture of the story.