The 1911 Census

Since its public release in 2010, this census has provided an invaluable source for the study of this Edwardian suburb.  Providing even more detail than previous censuses it allows a glimpse into the world of suburban Bath in that year.  For the study I have initially focused on the area known as Poet’s Corner which included the roads, Shakespeare Avenue, Shelley Road, Kipling Avenue, Milton Avenue, Longfellow Avenue, Chaucer Road (the part nearest the city was built before 1911, the rest after and therefore is not part of the study),  Beechen Cliff Road (some Edwardian but with a mix of Victorian and a few Georgian) and Devonshire Buildings (the north side is Edwardian, the South Georgian). I’ve also included Wellsway, the main road running  past the estate.

My first task was to capture the data and store it in an accessible form.  This has required the design of a fairly complex database which allows me to capture, store and then manipulate the data.  The initial results of this can be seen in the General Statistics page which is a simple analysis of the raw data.

Having captured the 1911 data, I have then begun the task of going through each census return trying to trace the occupants through the census as far back as possible.  This can be difficult at times and sometimes impossible (more details of the issues with using census data are dealt with on the page about census issues).  However, enough people are traceable to give me a broader picture of where they had come from, both their geographical and occupational backgrounds.  The trends and patterns that are beginning to appear will form a major part of my later research, for the moment I have been able to write-up some interesting individual case studies.

The Results So Far

1st February 2016. A fuller picture of the estate has now been published on this website.  A summary page of each road with period photographs, where available; a household page with the full summary of each census return for the properties in the road;  a statistics page with a breakdown of the sex, age, marital status, number of people and rooms per household, followed by a breakdown of people's geographical origins. The census material has also be supplemented by other sources particularly the Post Office Directory for Bath which is being fully digitised to offer a further fully searchable data source.

The Future

More information will be provided in the near future about the vision behind the estate, there reasons for it being built and information about the architects and builders involved.  Additional analysis is being carried out on such subjects as the servants working on the estate.

It is hoped to start work on a similar analysis of the neighbouring suburb of Oldfield Park, largely working class it offers some interesting comparisons with the largely middle class Poet's Corner.  The data has been extracted from the 1911 census for just over 4,600 people in more than 1,100 households, it is hoped that this study will begin to appear on this website by the summer 2016.

Richard Williams February 2016

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