The Reffell Family in 1911

A snapshot in time on Sunday 2 April 1911

One Hundred Years ago...

A comprehensive survey of the Reffell family of one hundred years ago..

The 1911 Census

The 1911 census for England, Wales & Scotland was taken on the night of Sunday 2 April and was the most detailed questioning of a census up until that time. Information recorded was :-

  • Where an individual lived
  • Their age
  • Who (and if related) they were living with
  • Marital status
  • Their place of birth
  • Occupation and whether they were an employee or employer
  • Details of nationality
  • Duration of current marriage
  • Number of children born, and those who were alive or who had died
  • Number of rooms in dwelling (in Scotland, those with a window)
  • Languages spoken (in Wales & Scotland only)

The count included all individual households, plus institutions such as prisons, workhouses, naval vessels and merchant vessels, and it also attempted to make an approximate count of the homeless.

Frustrated with the government's refusal to grant women the vote, a large number of women boycotted the 1911 census by refusing to be counted. There were two forms of protest. Firstly, there was a refusal to fill in the form, often recording their protest to the enumerator. Secondly, a number of women evaded the census by staying away from their home for the whole night. In both cases, any details relating to individual women in the households may be missing from the census. The exact number of women who boycotted the census is not known, though some have estimated that it may be as many as several thousand. Interestingly suffragette Adela Pankhurst was actually recorded on the 1911 census at 45 Marlborough Road in Sheffield. The entry is very vague as it has been carried out by the local Registrar of Births, Marriages & Deaths.

ThomasFinally, it has been widely reported that a man described one of the occupant of his house as 'Peter Tabby' and listed his occupation as 'mouser' and his nationality as 'Persian'. The enumerator subsequently crossed out the entry with red ink and noted somewhat sternly: 'This is a cat'.
Unfortunately so far this particular entry has not been indexed and thus has yet to be seen by myself, although the following one has. Thomas Cooke of 37 Bentinck Street in Doncaster entered the following boarder; Jim the Cat whose occupation was listed (and crossed out) as 'mouse catcher'.
However all this does give me a gratuitous opportunity to include a photograph of my own tabby cat called Thomas. For the avoidance of all doubt, it should be stated that he was not entered in the recent 2011 census!