1871 Analysis

The total number of residents in Woodlands Place doesn’t appear to have changed much between 1861 and 1871. There were 43 males and 41 females altogether. There were slightly fewer children than in the previous decade: 25 compared to 29.

The oldest resident was William Owen, age 72, a leather dresser, living at number 4. The youngest was 3 month old Susannah Anderson, living at number 7.

Population by age (1871)

I was surprised to find that there was only 1 person in their 30s bearing in mind how many children under the age of 13 were living in the street. A closer look at the data shows that the average ages of parents were 40.6 (fathers) and 43 (mothers). Two couples with children, Francis and Hanna Gibbons of number 5 and Alfred and Emily Anderson of number 7, were in their twenties.
As well as married couples, there were 3 ‘single’ people living with children:
– Unmarried mother, Maria S Tucker (age 25) living with her daughter Ada (8 months) at number 5
– Widower, Robert Evans (age 42) living with his daughter Emma S (age 10) also at number 5
– Grandmother, Mary Riordan (age 60) living with her grand-daughter Caroline (age 13) at number 6

I’m interested to see how long families stayed in Woodlands Place as my own family lived there for decades. Comparing the census returns, I found that 5 dwellings had the same families living there:

1861 census

h/holds in

1871 census

h/holds in
William & Charlotte
4 sons
William & Charlotte
3 sons, 1 daughter
William & Eliza
1 daughter
William & Eliza
Jeremiah & Margaret
1 son, 1 niece, 1 granddaughter
2 lodgers
Jeremiah & Harriett

Alfred & Eliza
3 sons
Alfred & Eliza
4 sons, 1 daughter
No. 10NYE
William & Elizabeth
1 son, 3 daughters
William & Elizabeth
3 sons 4 daughters
Places of birth (1871)

The number of residents born in Bermondsey almost doubled in the 10 years between censuses: from 32% to 57%. There was still a significantly large proportion of people born in Ireland living in Woodlands Place; 9 altogether. There was more information given about the area of Ireland in this census: 5 were from Cork, 2 from Tipperary, 1 from Castletown and 1 not stated.

Google Maps

The majority of men in Woodlands Place worked in the leather industry as in the previous census. One main difference from 1861 was the number of men who were unemployed. Their ages ranged from 20 to 63. Three of them were previously involved in the leather trade. They gave their occupation as unemployed fellmonger, leather dresser and tanner. Were they ‘between jobs’ or was the industry declining in this period?

The youngest workers were George Green and Henry Biggs, both 13, employed as a greengrocer and a tanner respectively. The oldest was leather dresser, William Owens, who was also the oldest recorded resident.

Male employment by type of occupation (1871)

More women undertook paid employment in this census; 52% of the female working age population compared to 30% in 1861. Half of the total (7 out of 14) were single women. The type of employment also changed. There was more variety of job in this decade. This is the first time women were recorded as working in the leather industry and manufacturing. A variety of industries were given including biscuit packing, feather making, book folding and neck tie making, a reflection of the type of industry in the area. Women involved in manufacturing were also younger than the other women working; aged between 17 and 25.

Female employment by type of occupation (1871)

2 thoughts on “1871 Analysis

  1. Sounds odd, doesn’t it, but apparently it was a real job.
    The 1921 dictionary of occupation terms says that a feather maker was a ‘general term applied to any worker engaged on preparation of feathers for use in connection with articles of dress’.

    Liked by 1 person

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