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A little known fact is that a census of London was performed in 1896.

On GENUKI it states:

A quinquennial census was held covering the London County Council area on 29 March 1896, paid for by the local authority, and with primary aim of establishing parochial populations in connection with local rates. In line with the recommendations of the Treasury Committee which had developed the proposals for the 1891 census, this was only a summary enumeration, in which name, sex and relationship to head of household of each person were recorded. The enumerators' books from this census are believed not to have survived.

The Registrar General published a summary as a Parliamentary Paper in August 1896, and the LCC published a statistical return giving the population in each ward or parish divided into males and females, the number of rated households, and the numbers of inhabited and uninhabited houses (this was LCC Official Publications Vol.27, at LMA under reference SC/PPS/063/027). There are no personal details in either publication.

This suggests that the records containing individual details "are believed not to have survived." However, I have been unable to find a definitive source to confirm this. Were the 1896 London census enumeration records destroyed intentionally, or accidentally? Or do they actually still survive and are archived somewhere? It would not be the first time for records thought to have been lost to resurface. If they did survive it would be useful to track families between 1891 and 1901.

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In a presentation at USCIS, historian Marian Smith answered a similar question by going through the correspondence for the agencies involved in order to trace what happened to the records.

Just as we do for a person, we can build a timeline for records and trace them from creation to archive (plus the steps in between). Questions like this can help us fill in the waypoints:

  • Which agency created the record?
  • What were the rules of record retention and disposal in effect at the time?
  • If the records did become archival, which archive received them?
  • When did the records become archival?
  • Have the records been accessioned?
  • Do restrictions exist which prevent the records being viewed by researchers?

If an answer can be found, it might be in TNA's RG 19/42, whose catalog entry reads:

Census of London 1896; proposed censuses in 1906 and 1916: correspondence

and

This record has not been digitised and cannot be downloaded.

The catalog entry is brief, so this record group may only be correspondence.

A thread on the forum FamilyHistory.uk.com titled London 1896 census. has a post by user BraisherT, who says:

The Registrar General published a summary as a Parliamentary Paper in August 1896, and the LCC published a statistical return giving the population in each ward or parish divided into males and females, the number of rated households, and the numbers of inhabited and uninhabited houses (this was LCC Official Publications Vol.27, at LMA under reference SC/PPS/063/027). There are no personal details in either publication.

A quick search on Google revealed some medical journals that referenced the census (some looking forward to the upcoming census) but I did not search extensively. No obvious research guide popped up in the first few pages.

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