One of the most frustrating things about census returns is trying to work out which houses then match the postal addresses of today – the adoption of house numbers is a surprisingly modern phenomenon!
Kate Andrew has spent the past week pondering this mystery whilst looking at the 1911 census returns for Abberley. With the aid of a map and her knowledge of local footpaths, this is her theory…
The approximate route the census enumerator took was starting at the Dunley end of Netherton Lane, worked their way into the village and around Suffolk Lane and Bank Lane, then moved to Crundle End and Glazzards Green, hopping over to Elmbatch Lodge presumably using the Abberley Hall drives around Abberley Hall, past Apostles’ Oak down Churchfield Terrace, back to Clows Top road to the School, to St Clair’s, Pool House Farm. then to the Home Farm and back to the Common before finishing at The Walshes.
Some people gave a detailed postal address bottom right, so it is possible to work out some of the house numbers on The Common, 56 for instance, other people just wrote “Abberley, Worcestershire”.
She was also pleased to see that the 1911 census gives details about the size of properties as well. This means we can get a better idea of the state of people’s living conditions and whether or not the houses might have been overcrowded:
By looking at the number of rooms, it is possible to estimate if cottages were detached or semi-detached – 4 rooms – likely to be a 2 up 2 down detached cottage. 3 rooms, 1 up 1 down with a kitchen downstairs too. Some people didn’t read the instruction properly and list rooms in detail – one house had three bedrooms upstairs a kitchen and a parlour.