This talk looked at the area through the 1901 census returns.  There has been a census in England every ten years since 1801, with the exception of 1941, during the Second World War.  Many of the early returns have been destroyed and the information that they contained was scant.  Those from 1841 have been preserved and they were the first to list the names of every individual although ages were rounded down to the nearest five for those over 15.  More detailed information is available from 1851 onwards and this includes, in the following order: name, relationship to head of house, marital status, age, sex, occupation, place of birth, and whether there were any medical disabilities.  A final column was available for the enumerator to record whether a person was deaf and dumb, blind, or lunatic, idiot or imbecile.  It is fascinating to look at homes in the area, large and small, detached or terraced, that still exist and see who lived there over 100 years ago. The larger houses, particularly, had servants and were often home to many more people than today, although at the Harrock the number was relatively modest.

James A Marsden  Head  Married  39  Surgeon  Surrey, Burstow

Elizabeth M Marsden  Wife  30  Lancashire, Atherton

Maude Marsden  Daughter 4  Yorkshire, Lightcliffe

James P Marsden  Son  11months  Yorkshire, Lightcliffe

Mary A Marsden  Nurse 45  Certificated nurse  Cheshire, Congleton

Sarah Connell  Cook-domestic  40  Yorkshire, Castleford

Who was Mary Marsden?  It appears that she was a relative acting as nurse and the most likely conclusion is that she was the widow of James’s brother. Or was her name simply a coincidence?

What is particularly noticeable is the number of in-laws and older relatives, often widowed, living with families, and in the smaller houses the number of lodgers who were clearly helping to pay the bills. Occupations listed provide an interesting reflection on how an area’s workforce has changed over the years.  In some returns there is page after page of, for instance, coal miners, railway or woollen mill workers recorded, giving a clear picture of how a place developed in the 19th century.

                                                                                                                                                                        CB & JMB

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