Tuesday 11 January 2011

Mappy Monday - a census oddity

This map is a lucky find, from a source where you would not normally expect to find maps.

Every enumeration book in the census has a page at the start, giving a brief (sometimes very brief) description of the area covered. In rural areas it might just say 'The whole of the parish of...' and leave it at that. In towns there is usually a list of the streets included, and sometimes a description of the route followed by the enumerator. The more recent the census, the greater the amount of detail is likely to be provided. But what you will rarely see is a map of any kind.

It can often be difficult to work out the exact boundaries of an enumeration district just from the written description, and the enumerators sometimes got it wrong themselves. This is why you will occasionally find a household enumerated twice in the same census, where two enumerators believed that the house was in their patch, so both delivered schedules, and the occupants dutifully completed both. Enumerators were not provided with maps, but I have seen some examples where they drew a rough sketch map to explain the area covered. If you are very lucky, as in this case, some helpful person will have provided a good clear map of the district; this might be the enumerator himself, or the local Registrar who organised the taking of the census in all the enumeration districts in the his area. We shall probably never know.

This map is for part of Marylebone in central London, close to Regents Park. It has been cut from a printed map, and the area covered by this enumerator is indicated by a heavy black line, with the list of streets written neatly at the side. I'm not too sure about the little stick-man drawing, though; it has a very 20th century look to me. If you compare this map with a modern one, the street plan is still recognisable, and the little stick man is on the site now occupied by Lord's Cricket Ground.

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