Everyday heroes

Throughout history, stories have been told of brave deeds and stoic words; the stories that don’t get told, however, are of those who are willing to work tirelessly for their families, their employers, and their fellow people. But they are no less important – as these stories illustrate. Florence, Dorothy and Noel have not been deemed ‘great’ people by history, but their efforts are no less notable for this. Click each image or link to find out about the story behind it.

A black and white portrait illustration of Florence Julia StreetFlorence Julia Street

The live-in domestic servant

Florence performed her vital role for the Colchester-Wemyss family during a transitional period for her occupation; the First World War precipitated changes in domestic servitude that irreversibly altered the future of the profession.

Meet Florence Julia Street

A black and white portrait illustration of Dorothy FaheyDorothy Fahey

The baby born just before the census

It is only by chance that Dorothy features in the 1921 Census at all; reveal the reasons behind this quirk of fate, and learn the fascinating story of Dorothy and her family, by reading the full story.

Meet Dorothy Fahey

Greyscale illustration of Noel Curtis-Bennett, on a pink background. Noel is wearing a suit and bow tie.Noel Curtis-Bennett

Founder of the Civil Service Sports Council

Noel devoted his life to improving the lives of others, striving to make changes that have, while not being common knowledge, have nevertheless left a lasting legacy.

Meet Noel Curtis-Bennett

What is 20 People of the 20s?

20 People of the 20s is a project where staff members at The National Archives have researched a story of someone from the 1920s. From family members and First World War service personnel, to famous performers and politicians, we hope these stories will encourage you to explore the breadth of experience in 1920s Britain. 20 People of the 20s is part of 20sPeople – our season to mark the release of the 1921 Census, connecting the 1920s and the 2020s.  Find out more here.

20sPeople Banner - Pink banner with face composite, one from the 1920s and one from the 2020s with a logo saying We are 20sPeople