Books on Hertfordshire

Population, economy and family structure in Hertfordshire in 1851

Volume 1

The Berkhamsted Region

by Nigel Goose

Hertfordshire Publications

Covers Berkhamsted, Northchurch, Tring (including the hamlets of Wilstone and Long Marston) and the villages of Little Gaddesden, Frithsden, Wiggington, Aldbury and Puttenham.

This book effectively consisted of two sections. The first is an unindexed academic study of the population in the area in 1851, while the second part is an indexed transcription of the 1851 census returns for the area - which is very useful, but would be more useful if in computer-readable form.

The first part includes tables by occupational structure and shows that in Tring 20% of the female labour force were involved in textile manufacture (mainly at the silk mill) while in nearby Wigginton nearly 90% of the women were working with straw (straw plait to make hats, etc.) - and there is quite a bit of discussion about the straw plait industry - with many references. There is discussion of how the census underestimated the agricultural labour force. For instance the census was taken in late March, which was the peak of the straw plaiting season, so that many who worked on the fields at harvest time would not be recorded as agricultural labourers. However much of the information is of little interest to genealogists - although the determined family historian could find information on the occupation, etc., of his ancestors despite the absence of an index.

There is a web page for the 1851 Census

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Page updated April 2005