Lloyd George didn’t know my father – the 1921 Census

What it is to be all-knowing. For someone my age the release of the 1921 census means the possibility of nosing through the lives of people you actually knew and creepily of course, you know what happened next and they did not.

Here is my Dad aged 9 months. He is briefly in rural Sussex while his First World War veteran father finds (another) temporary job at a gas works.

Here is my maternal Grandma aged 5. Her Dad is a wallpaper hanger. All eight of them crammed into a little terraced house in Kent. But the story is not sad; this bunch are survivors. They all go back to their native East End and every single one of them will get through the Second World War alive.

Not so lucky – here is my maternal Grandpa, aged 2 in rural Hampshire. The family farm is about to go bust. In a few short years the family will be either scattered or dead (one by his own hand).

The census has a few family surprises. What on earth, for instance, is my staid Great Great Grandma doing living at the Three Tuns, a pub on Jewry Street, Aldgate? Perhaps best not to ask!

Finally from the lowest to the highest in the land. Here is our esteemed Prime Minister. Lloyd George, David. Occupation: Code 800. Occupation: Prime Minister. Employer: HM Government. Residence: Chequers. (Registration District 145). Aged 58 years and 5 months.

What it does not say of course is that in 16 short months he will be an ex-Prime Minister.

One day people will be foraging through the 2021 census and having a good rummage through our lives knowing what happens next, but hopefully by then most of us will be past caring.

In memory of Professor Maurice Cranston who appears on the 1921 census aged 1 year and 1 month

* Ruth Bright has been a councillor in Southwark and Parliamentary Candidate for Hampshire East

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • Kevin Mahoney 8th Jan '22 - 1:05pm

    I checked out the 1921 census as my great grandmother once told me that she’d been a maid in 10 Downing St around this time. I was dismayed when she told me she preferred Bonar Law to Lloyd George – not sure why. However, at the time of the actual census, she was a maid in the household of Azim Birch, whose grandson Harold Caccia became Foreign Secretary in the 60s

  • Ruth Bright 8th Jan '22 - 5:57pm

    How fascinating Kevin. I was proudly told my lot were Liberals until my Grandma admitted her Dad was a Liberal UNIONIST. Alas.

  • Kay Kirkham 9th Jan '22 - 11:42am

    Make the most of the 1921 census as the 1931 census was completey destroyed by fire in 1942 and there was no census in 1941 for obvious reasons. The good news is that in 1939, the givernment compiled a register for ID cards and rationing. and this is available but with individuals born less than 100 years ago, redacted.

  • Kay Kirkham 9th Jan '22 - 11:44am

    Unless you live in Scotland of course where the records were wisely stored in Edinburgh!

  • William Wallace 9th Jan '22 - 5:06pm

    Kevin: Harold Caccia was the civil service head of the Foreign Office, not Foreign Secretary. But he was also chair of the MCC. Ruth: I have seen a photo of my father with Lloyd George sometime around 1921. There were at least 1000 other people there, of course….he was taken as a young man to a large political meeting.

  • Ruth Bright 9th Jan '22 - 6:08pm

    Wow Kay. Very interesting. I have used the 1939 register for research but it is patchy. I had not understood about the redaction.

    William Wallace. I was sure someone on LDV was going to have a picture of their father with Lloyd George. It makes me very happy that it is you; sadly there is no prize!

  • Kevin Mahoney 10th Jan '22 - 6:43pm

    Many thanks, I misread Harold Caccia’ s Wikipedia entry. Fantastic that your father was in a group photo with Lloyd George

  • I’m interested as to why this has been “released” behind a paywall and whether politically people think that’s ok.

  • Mark Valladares Mark Valladares 10th Jan '22 - 7:50pm

    @ Richard S.,

    My understanding is that, in order to digitise it, somebody had to pay for it. However, if you go to the National Archives at Kew, you can see it for free.

    You may find this link helpful…


  • The 1921 Census ? Interesting stuff, Ruth. It has triggered me into researching the lives of my Mum and coal miner Granddad to check out what they once told me about “Winston Churchill (Coalition Liberal MP for Dundee) sending in troops to maintain order” on Black Friday in April, 1921.

    When the Census was completed the family lived in a small rented colliery cottage (owned by the mine owner (and multi-millionaire), Lord Londonderry) in County Durham. Granddad’s brother was still in hospital in York suffering from Shell Shock incurred on the Somme in 1916. Granddad was struggling to keep Granny and his ‘bairns’ on wages that were slashed in March, 1921 when the Lloyd George Coalition returned the Mines to their pre-war owners.

    Details ? Speech in Hansard, December, 1922, by Stephen Walsh M.P., Vice-President of the National Union of Mineworkers, 1922 to 1924, which Bonar Law for the Government conceded was factually correct.

    Mr Stephen Walsh :, “In Scotland a wage of 17s. 8d. per day in March, 1921, has been reduced to 9s. 2d., a reduction of 8s. 6d. per day; in Northumberland a wage of 16s. 11d. has been reduced to 8s. 1d.; in Durham a wage of 16s. 9d. has been reduced to 8s. 9d.; in South Wales a wage of 18s. 9d. has been reduced to 9s. 6d.; in the Eastern area, or as it is probably better known, the Midland part of England, a wage of 17s. has been reduced to 9s. 6d.; and in Lancashire and Cheshire a wage of 15s. 6d. has been reduced to 8s. 4d. Taking the average throughout Great Britain, wages have been reduced from 16s. 11d. in March, 1921, to 9s. 1d. in November last.

    It may be said: “What are you going to do about it; what remedies are you proposing?” That question is more rightly answered by those who are responsible for having brought the industry to its present condition. They that are whole need not a physician. It is we who are sick. It is we who are seeking for a physician to prescribe for us. We are suffering now. Thousands, tens of thousands, nay, hundreds of thousands of our people. They are suffering unmerited misery. Children are suffering by going short of food. Wives and mothers hardly know where to turn for the next meal. Thousands of them have had to appeal to the boards of guardians to eke out the wages they are receiving. This state of things exists in the mining industry”.

    Happy days……. and an indication why politics and loyalties changed so dramatically after WW1.

  • Richard S fair point. Mark thank you. David Raw enthralling stuff.

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