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Key Reading

  • Historical Population Reports: see especially essays on What is a Census?; Urbanisation and Urban Growth and Historical Research from Census Enumerators Books. But there are many more essays and resources that will be of use on the site.
  • Shani D'Cruze, 'The Family' and Ian Whyte, 'Migration and Settlement' in Chris Williams (ed.), A Companion to Nineteenth-century Britain
  • David Feldman, 'Migration' and Simon Szreter and Anne Hardy, 'Urban Mortality and Fertility Patterns' in Martin Daunton (ed.), The Cambridge Urban History of Britain
  • Michael Anderson, 'The Social Implications of Demographic Change' and Leonore Davidoff, 'The Family in Britain' in F M L Thompson (ed.), The Cambridge Social History of Britain

Group presentation

For this seminar each group will be expected to give a short presentation on the population characteristics of an industrialised community of your choice. The presentation should cover the following questions:

  • How quickly and to what extent did population grow in your chosen community? And to what effect?
  • What are the problems with using the population census to study demographic change in this period?
  • What does the census reveal about class in the Victorian city? (Consider location, household size and structure, occupation)
  • What was the nature of the Victorian family and how did this differ from the household in your community?
  • 'A community of immigrants'. Is this a good description of the Victorian city?

Census data is available from the following sites:

Further Reading

M. Anderson, Family Structure in nineteenth century Lancashire

W. A. Armstrong, Stability and change in an English country town. A social study of York 1801–51 

John Foster, Class struggle and the industrial revolution: early industrial capitalism in three English towns 

Eilidh Garrett, Alice Reid, Kevin Schürer and Simon Szreter, Changing family size in England and Wales: place, class and demography 1891–1911 

E. Higgs, A clearer sense of the census

E. Higgs, Making sense of the census: the manuscript returns for England and Wales, 1801-1901

E. Higgs, 'Women, Occupations and Work in the Nineteenth Century Censuses', History Workshop Journal, 23 (1987)

E. Higgs, 'Domestic Servants and Households in Victorian England', Social History, 8 (1983)

R. Lawton (ed.), The Census and social structure: an interpretive guide to nineteenth century censuses for England and Wales

Richard Lawton, 'The population of Liverpool in the mid-19th century', Transactions of the Historical Society of Lancashire and Cheshire, 107 (1956)

E. A. Wrigley (ed.), Identifying people in the past

E. A. Wrigley (ed.), Nineteenth century society: essays in the use of quantitative methods for the study of social data

The journal Local Population Studies also has a wealth of relevant articles and community studies.

Victorian Children 1890s (from East Lothian Museum)