The UK 1921 Census

The 1921 census was taken on the 19th of June 1921 at a time when the population for England and Wales stood at over 37 million.

The 1921 census gives greater detail than any previous census. In addition to the questions asked in the 1911 census, the 1921 census included more information about the profession and branch within it. It asked what materials they worked in, place of work and their employer’s name. For those over the age of 15 information about marital status, including if divorced was given. For those under 15 the census recorded whether both parents were alive or if either or both parents had died. It also had detailed questions on education including whether you were in full-time or part-time education.

For the first time individuals in a household could also make separate confidential returns.

The censuses from 1921 onwards were taken under the Census Act 1920. The 1921 Census and later censuses are held in the custody of the UK Statistics Authority. It will take some years and considerable financial outlay to prepare and digitise the original 1921 Census paper records for release online in January 2022. See 1921 Census Substitutes

1921 Census Substitute

Our sister site has transcribed Directories from this period to create a searchable database which allows family historians to:

  • search on forename, surname and profession
  • search by street, town and county
  • look for a business name
  • discover your ancestors’ addresses
  • find professions listed

You can try their service out here:

1921 News

17th March - Birth Control Clinic Opens

Marie Stopes and Humphrey Roe opened the first Birth Control clinic in the World, called the Mothers' Clinic at 61 Marlborough Road, Holloway, London, on the 17th March 1921.

Maria Stopes

The staff included midwives and visiting doctors. It gave married mothers advice on birth control and supplied Stopes brand cervical cap.

Stopes was against abortion and provided alternatives for families and education about birth control and reproduction.

31st March

State of emergency declared after coal miners' strike is called.

3rd of April

Coal rationing.

24th of April

The 1921 Census should have been taken on 24 April, but was delayed by nearly two months in the wake of the Black Friday strike by railwaymen, coal miners and transport workers. This is the one and only time that the census date was changed.

Coal Miner
TheGenealogist Image Archive - Coal miner with wagon down pit

19th June

1921 Census Taken

R.38 Airship

The world's largest airship, the R.38, makes its maiden flight at Cardington

R38 Airship

The R38 was designed for the Admiralty to be an airship capable of patrolling for six days with a range of 300 miles. It was specified to be heavily armed to protect vessels at sea.

28 June

The coal strike ends.

6 December

British and Irish negotiators sign Anglo Irish Treaty

9 September

Charlie Chaplin visits London and is met by thousands of fans.

Charlie Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin (with cane) and French boxer Georges Carpentier (left) outside Claridge's

16 December

Parliament ratifies the Anglo Irish Treaty.