Parish Data sheets (see left panel): include Lynsted with Kingsdown and the Teynham records for the northern part of Greenstreet (which, until relatively recently, existed as a distinct community).
For the sake of easy reading, each census is divided into four 'chunks'.
Workhouses (see right panel): Census data from our two major workhouses (Milton and Faversham) illustrate the wider conditions of people in poverty at each census. Occasionally, inmates from Lynsted, Teynham and surrounding communities appear. The project to transcribe these important social commentaries and data was led by Pip and Ian Baron. It is with thanks to them that we share that information here. Asked what thoughts recurred during the transcription, Pip and Ian
commented: "We noted the preponderance of "domestic servants" who appeared to be single mums, sometimes with multiple offspring. This did not seem to apply to field workers etc., so may well relate to the antics of the master or sons of the gentry!
The other very sobering observation related to the "imbeciles" and "idiots", who remained in the workhouses for several censuses in some cases. Apparently there is a gradation in these definitions, idiots having the lowest IQ, then imbecile, then moron. Obviously these terms are now considered offensive, but we were intrigued as to how much training the workhouse staff had in distinguishing these levels of learning difficulty.
We also noted the increase in workhouse staff over the years, with industrial trainers being added to the earlier complement of the master/mistress and their families. It must have been a lucrative position as the workhouse masters stayed for many years."
There was widespread opposition to an official census until the end of the 18th century. This finally withered away after demographer Thomas Malthus, published his essay on the 'principle of population' (7 June 1798).
This essay acknowledged the lack of reliable data, so his main conclusions were based in assertion rather than evidence. He asserted "It is an obvious truth, which has been taken notice of by many writers, that population must always be kept down to the level of the means of subsistence."
His fear was that there were already too many people in Britain - as he put it, "the years 1738, 1740, 1750, and 1751, were particularly sickly." He put this down to a failure to control the population. Uncontrolled population would, he believed, lead to overcrowding, famine, disease and social disorder (especially among the young men who had more idle leisure time in which to make mischief).
Worried by this alarmist view of the future, people generally saw there was a need for evidence through a census.
The civil servant and statistician John Rickman, and politicians such as Charles Abbot and William Wilberforce, didn’t agree with the fatalistic views of Malthus. Rickman suggested the introduction of a population census which would provide the Government with information on societal patterns, and which would also help governments to plan military recruitment drives in the continuing war with France. In December 1800, Parliament passed the "Population Act". the first official census of England and Wales was on 10 March 1801.
Information was collected from every household by the Overseers of the Poor, aided by constables, tithingmen, headboroughs and other officers of the peace. The Act also applied to Scotland, where the responsibility for taking the count was placed on schoolmasters. In Ireland, the first modern census was taken 20 years later, in 1821.
The first official head count revealed that Great Britain's population at the time was 9 million. Previous estimates had varied between 8 and 11 million. Information about every person in the land was processed by an army of clerks using nothing more than pens and paper. Technology made census taking simpler in 1911, when punch cards and mechanical sorting and counting machines were introduced. Computers were first used in the 1961 Census.
The census taken in 1841 is widely regarded as the first truly modern census, when the first Registrar General of England and Wales, John Lister, was made responsible for organising the count. The task of counting was passed on to local officers of the newly created Registration Service.
For the first time, the head of each household was given a form to fill in on behalf of everyone in the household on a certain day. This system has stood the test of time, and it still forms the basis of the method we use today.
Since 1801 there has been a census every ten years except in 1941, during the Second World War. The destruction by fire of all the 1931 Census papers means that, in due course, there will be a twenty-year gap in census data. The basic principles of census taking remain the same, though new questions have been added and others have been omitted. Up until 1911 the Government needed to introduce a new Census Act for every census held. This was changed by the 1920 Census Act which made it possible for the Government to hold a census at any time, once Parliament has approved the necessary 'secondary' legislation which lays out the details of a particular census, but no sooner than five years after the last census.
In our case, care has to be taken when comparing census data for Greenstreet. The census record doesn't always start from the same end of the toll-road - and without house numbering, that can be a challenge!
The General Report of the 1901 Census said 'the whole of England and Wales has been divided at different times into various administrative areas with little regard to previously existing divisions that, at the present time, the serious overlapping of boundaries render the work both of the Census Office and the local Officials ... laborious and extremely complicated'.
In very general terms the most significant changes have been the phasing out of 'ancient' administrative areas around the end of the nineteenth century with the introduction of more modern administrative areas.
The large majority of census results, below the national level, have been presented for areas of local government. From 1881 to 1971 these reflected an urban/rural divide, with Rural Districts and with various administrative types reflecting the size and status of urban areas.
Today, civil parishes, which currently cover the fifth least urban part of the population of England are the least changed areas which makes them a useful basis of local studies. But, of course, even parishes change as we found with the joining together of Lynsted with Kingsdown.
The exact dates of the censuses are as follows:—
|10 March 1801||27 May 1811||28 May 1821||30 May 1831||7 June 1841||31 March 1851||8 April 1861|
|3 April 1871||4 April 1881
||6 April 1891||1 April 1901||3 April 1911||19/20 June 1921|
Summary Population statistics - England & Wales only
Ancient counties 1801-1901
Hundreds, Wapentakes 1801-1881
Ancient Parishes 1801-1881
Administrative counties 1891-2001**
County boroughs 1851-1971
Unitary authorities 2001
Districts (England and Wales) 1971-1991
Districts (England) 1971-2001
Municipal boroughs 1851-1971
Metropolitan boroughs 1901-1961
London boroughs 1961-2001
Urban districts 1881-1971
Rural districts 1881-1971
Civil parishes (England and Wales) 1871-1971
Civil Parishes (England) 1871-2001
New Towns 1851-1971*
National Parks 2001
Constituencies (Westminster) 1841/1851-2001
Welsh Assembly 2001
Wards (England and Wales) 1871-
Wards (England) 1871-2001
Electoral divisions (Wales)
Sources: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/guide-method/census/2011/how-our-census-works/about-censuses/census-history/the-modern-census/index.html"Adapted from data from the Office for National Statistics and Parliamentary Archives licensed under the Open Government Licence v.1.0."