Stand up and be counted – it’s Census Day

Census 2011Whether you’re a buttyman or a barista, an ankle-beater or an abseiler, the time has come to complete your Census form. You can do it online or on paper, and if you need any help at all, you can pop down to Paddington Library today or Wednesday (with your form) and ask.

I’ve been reading the Did You Know section of the very helpful Census 2011 website. As well as a lot of information about the history of the Census, help with filling it in and so on, there’s a whole section on job titles. When the modern Census started in 1801, you just had to pick from three occupational categories:

  • Agriculture
  • Trade, Manufacturing or Handicraft
  • Other

These have expanded over the years and in 2011 the Census people will be attempting to classify 28,000 jobs! Rather them than me (though I admit, it does sound like the perfect job for a librarian). You can find out about ankle beaters and the like in the Odd Jobs section.

There’s also, bizarrely, a section of the site dedicated to tall residential buildings. It reflects the concerns of the Census data collectors in having to climb lots of stairs to collect the forms, but I wouldn’t have predicted it was such a big issue!

Of course, for the lay person, much of the interest in the Census lies in its usefulness for family history research. You can access old Census data through various online resources available in Westminster Libraries & Archives. And perhaps enjoy the thought that your descendants can do the same in a hundred years’ time.


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