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London in the 1881 Census

Search for your ancestors amongst the 4 million people who were living in London on April 3rd, 1881, and discover a detailed snapshot of their life at the time.

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London in the 1881 Census

The 1881 Census for London was taken on 3rd April and is free to view on Findmypast. The 1881 London Census collected information such as; full name, age, relationship to head of household, occupation, address and more.

There were more than 4 million residents living in London on the day of the census; representing approximately a seventh of the entire population of the United Kingdom. Queen Victoria was the reigning monarch, while William Gladstone was the Prime Minister.

Even though London in 1881 was a place of incredible riches, it was also home to incredible poverty,with millions of people forced to live in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions,

It was a dramatic time for Londoners both at home and abroad; the First Boer War ended only weeks before the 1881 census.

Alongside your London ancestors, you may find a few familiar names lurking among these fascinating historical records. Perhaps you’ll find your ancestors were neighbours to Victorian celebrities such as artist William Morris? Maybe they were servants for heroic nurse Florence Nightingale or longest-serving Poet Laureate Lord Alfred Tennyson?

Search Tips

The original documents will have been given to your ancestors some time in advance before collection on April 3rd.

As illiteracy was still common, third party “enumerators” will have written on many people’s behalf, which could lead to some errors in the transcripts. Beware of inaccuracies such as wrong birth dates. Our search function allows a margin of error of two years to help combat this and you can adjust this further if you wish.

There are more than 4,000,000 Londoners waiting for you in the 1881 Census, we wish you the best of luck in your search for the ones that have contributed to your family history!

Top locations for the 1881 Census

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