About 1901: Living at the Time of the Census
This web exhibition uses words, pictures and documents
to open a door onto life in 1901. It accompanied the release in January
2002 of the 1901 census for England and Wales - an unrivalled resource
for exploring our rich heritage. The exhibition introduces you to the
history of the time, and to historical documents held at The National Archives and elsewhere.
Navigation: around the exhibition
On entering the exhibition, from the site's front page, you will be
presented with a choice of four main galleries to explore:
Watch contemporary film clips.
People and Places of 1901
In the stories in this section, we have combined images and transcripts
from the 1901 census with other historical sources to illustrate how the
census can be used to trace family and community history. The section
contains useful pointers for your own research.
In People, discover the histories of a typist, a telephone operator,
a naval officer, a railwayman, an actress, an army officer, a soldier,
a war widow, a refugee, a metropolitan policeman, a composer, and a
In Places, visit the village school of East Tuddenham and Honingham
(Norfolk); find out about life in Senghenydd (Glamorgan) at the time
of a devastating pit explosion; learn about the immigrant communities
of Spitalfields (east London); and discover more about the mills of
Living in 1901
Learn here about what it was really like to be alive in 1901. Explore
a choice of eight different themes: Making a Living, Education, On the
Move, A Place to Live, Food and Drink, Health, Time Out and Crime and
Events of 1901
Enter this gallery to find out what was in the news in 1901, and to read
about Britain's political and economic situation and its place in the
world. This gallery also contains a history of the census for England
Navigation: in the galleries
From the main menu of each gallery you can link to the gallery's main
themes, and then to individual chapters.
From each page, the icon for the gallery
('Events', 'People and Places' or 'Living') takes you to the menu of that
gallery; the 1901 icon takes you to the main menu of the exhibition; and
the 'key' icon provides a link to other PRO exhibitions in Pathways to
the Past, the PRO's adult learning site.
Click on the thumbnail images to access an enlarged picture, caption and
(where relevant) transcript or fuller explanation.
Other links within the text take you to further material on the theme
you are reading about. The links connect to parts of the 1901 exhibition
and to different National Archives exhibitions and other parts of our
The National Archives
The National Archivesholds the records of the central UK government and
the central law courts. Its records stretch back for almost a millennium.
For details of opening hours and access, as well as our catalogue, please
visit our main
In this exhibition, we have used not only material held by The National
Archives, but also items held in other archives and items that are
not crown copyright. We would like to thank all these institutions
and individuals for granting us the necessary permissions. Despite
our best efforts, we have not always been able to locate copyright
holders after such a long period of time. If we have inadvertently
contravened rights that you feel are yours, then please contact us.
Please follow this link for fuller
details of images.
Content editor and principal author:
Web editor: Marion
Writing and research also by: Steve Cable, John
Cassidy, Lynne Cookson, Bruno Derrick, Cecilia Doidge-Ripper, John Fisher,
Peter Goodwin, Clive Hawkins, Rena King, Justin Lyon, Michael McGrady,
Dawn Norton, Sarah Price, Jessamy Sykes, Nigel Taylor, Ralph Thompson,
James Travers, Chris Watts, Carol Wright
Emma Wallis, Dominique Yves
Exhibition designed and created by:
Emily Booth, Harpal Sabharwal, Robert Daoust