Historical background

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Census return (1881)

The census helped the government estimate how many men were available to go to war and to assess the health of the nation.

This page contains an image of the document and a simplified transcript.

Census return, 1881.  TNA: RG 11/641 f35
Census return, 1881. TNA: RG 11/641 f35
Enlarge image of 1881 census return

Read a transcript

Street Name Role Status Age Job Place of birth
3 1/2 George Street William Towers head Married 42 Brick­layer Chelsea Middx
Mary Towers wife Married 39 Richmond Surrey
William R. Towers son unm 20 Brick­layer Richmond Surrey
George Towers son unm 18 Grocer Richmond
Henry Towers son unm 16 Brick­layer Richmond
Edwin Towers son unm 14 Scholar Richmond
Thomas Towers son unm 13 Scholar Richmond
Jim H Towers son unm 11 Scholar Richmond
Arthur Towers son unm 9 Scholar Richmond

What's interesting about this document?

Compare the ages of all the children shown here to the other census returns. Is there anything you find unusual? How could you explain that? Notice that the younger children are at school - but at what age do the children appear to start working full-time?


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Go to the timeline

Find out what Oscar Wilde thought of the way children were treated in prison.

Go to Oscar Wilde's letter