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Insights in the 1921 census in Blagdon-

 a talk with Jacky Kerly on 8th February 2024


A Census taking place every ten years gives us an insight into life at the time, but is only released after 100 years, meanng we can now access the 1921 census. It is noteworthy that the 1931 edition was destroyed by fire and there was no census in 1941 during WW2.


In Blagdon the population was 958, up from 915 in 1911: 426 men and 532 women. 22 young men were lost in the then recent WW1 so it is probable that men had to leave the village to work. We know that some went into Bristol while others worked in the South Wales mines. Three of those who died left widows, two of them with children, but the only one remaining in the village was Katie Packer who then married Frank Panes of Vale Farm. The war would have still been very prominent in the thoughts of the villagers, with lost sons and friends being mourned and the Memorial Chapel being prepared for final dedication in 1923.


As we might predict, in Somerset as a whole, and Blagdon in particular, the majority of men were employed in agriculture and related work. In Somerset the next most notable employment was mining and quarrying. In Blagdon, 43 men worked for the Wills Estate while other notable employers were Bristol Waterworks (18) and the construction company Crawfords (20). This company was working on the project to bring water from Cheddar springs via a tunnel at Rowberrow to Blagdon pumping station, en route for Bristol. Other jobs were provided by builders Milliar and Sons and Frank Puddy, and Great Western Railway. Women were often employed as servants (fewer than in 1911), including as maids in businesses like the Mendip Bungalow Hotel which became very popular with visitors, the Blagdon Court nursing home and the Nordrach TB Sanitorium, Charterhouse.

Apart from employment we can learn about how people lived: the size of their homes, family members and ages, trends in employment and more. BLHS holds copies of the individual census forms and transcriptions which are available to view.

To see a 'Zoom video' and a  full transcript of the talk with pictures click the following link:

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