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Occupations - AllOccupations - MaleOccupations - Female

Occupations in Beeston, April 1881

Industry GroupOccupation Group  Total Population Heads of Household  Wives
.Land Services2.220.220.0
ManufactureMfr/W-sale - Food/drink.25232.18180.0
.Mfr/W-sale - Other.43358.30291.0
.Labour - General3.41410.27270.0
MiningQuarry, etc5.770.440.0
.Gloves, etc10.000.000.0
.Other textile.531934.10100.5
TradeRetail - food/drink.968214.55487.2
.Retail - other.483414.24231.2
.Total Employed.21151368747.87781067.114
.Own Means13.441232.331122.1
.At School.872450422.000.0
.Not Employed.14483221126.40634.638
.Overall Total.447921522327.950827123.753

The table shows the pattern of employment in Beeston in April 1881, which may be compared with similar tables for 1871, 1861 and 1851. After a period of virtual stagnation over the 20 years up to 1871, it is clear that the 10 years up the 1881 has seen a significant changes and indeed, growth in Beeston employment patterns and a consequential significant increase in it's population. These last 10 years saw an increase of 1344 in the population as a whole, a growth of 42.9%. As always, behind this global picture are a number of interesting changes and trends to be found in the details.

Between 1851 and 1871, we had seen a steady upward trend in the ratio of females to males - from a base in 1851 when females had outnumbered males by 10% in 1851, the difference had reached 13% in 1861 and 16% by 1871. Now, in 1871, the difference is down to 8% - a significant correction. It is also interesting to note the following, possibly related trends:
  • Although the actual number of working wives, at 114 remains almost the same as in 1871, the substantial increase in population since that date means that the proportion of working wives in the female population has again decreased - to 15.1%, which compares with 19.9% in 1871.
  • The actual number of female domestic servants increased by only 6 (2.8%) since 1871 and, within that figure, the number of wives that were employed in that capacity outside their own home, dropped by 33.3% (to only 20).

    It is possible that these factors point to the availability of better quality male employment or earlier marriage. More work is needed to identify the actual cause.
There continued to be significant changes in the detail of those in work, in part because of the emergence of new industries and employers:
  • Despite a recovery in the numbers working in textile industries - now 823 compared with 682 in 1871, it is still well down from earlier years (952 in 1861 and 1108 in 1851) and, as well, the proportion of the working population in the textile industry, now at only 38%, shows a continued decline (from 43% in 1871 and 64% in 1851). However, this decline in the proportion of the overall working population, was greatest amongst working men and masked an increase in the proportion of working females in the industry (now 50% of all working women compared with 45% in 1871.
    This is large decrease in both absolute terms (682, down from 952 in 1861 and 1108 in 1851) and in the proportion of those working.
  • Now, only 30% of all household heads were dependant on the textile industries (compared with 34% in 1871 and 50% in 1851) although the industry had become more significant for women. 374 females now worked in the industry, compared with 290 in 1871 - an increase of 12.9%. This is now 45.4% of all those in the industry (42.5% in 1871) and is 50.1% of all female workers (45.4% in 1871)
  • Much of the recovery in numbers is found in the lace industry where numbers have risen to 423 compared with 264 in 1871 (an increase of 60.2%) with the increase in female workers (97.3%) being proportionately greater than for males (46.1%). Whilst much of this significant increase undoubtedly arose from the opening of Frank Wilkinson's Anglo-Scotian Mill in 1874, other mills - such as Pollards - will have contributed to the clear upturn.
    Overall, despite an increasingly diversified workforce since 1871, the industry is more significant to the population as a whole. Now, those employed in the lace trade represent 20.0% of the total working population (compared with 16.6% in 1871), although still less significant than 30 years earlier (it was 24.6% of the working population in 1851) 151 households are now dependent on the industry - up from 124 in 1871 - although, with a proportionately greater number of females now working in the trade, this now represents only 15.9% of all households (down from 17.5% in 1871).
  • The silk trade continues to decline, both in numbers and overall significance. A further decrease in workers is evident - down from 273 to 187 (31.5%) - with a slightly greater proportionate decrease in female workers - down from 169 to 112 (33.7%)
    Only 5.8% of all households are now dependent on the silk mill (down from 7.5% in 1871) although this is significantly higher than in 1851, when it was only 3.6 when the much larger workforce at the mill consisted mainly of young, unmarried people - mostly girls, often school-age children.
  • The number working in hosiery and glove knitting continued to decline and was now only 101 compared with 112 in 1871 and 279 in 1851. Again, no person now described themselves as a glove knitter. The trade now represented only 7% of the working population compared with 16% 20 years earlier.
  • Significantly, other employment sectors have emerged or grown during the previous 10 years:
    The cycle industry, in the form of the Humber Company which opened in Beeston in 1875, is now employing 20 local men, While still a small number, this represented support for 11 families and was soon to become very much more significant.
    Other engineering activity - mainly male jobs in the foundry industry - now employs 62 workers, compared with only 17 in 1871 (an increase of 264%).
    Other textile work - mainly shawl making, new to Beeston, associated with the Anglo Scotian mill - now employs 53 of which about two-thirds are female.
    There is a significant increase in the number of coal miners in 1881 - 32 men, an increase of 23 (255%) since 1871. They would have been working outside of Beeston, possible at Wollaton.
    Employment on the railway has also increased significantly - from 33 in 1871 to 141 now. 8.1% of all households were dependent on railway employment.
  • This rise in general economic activity and population appears to have has at least two indirect effects:
    A large increase in the number engaged in building - up from 50 to 123 (a 146% increase) - appears to arise from the considerable amount of new house building that began around this time - including the Imperial Park estate.
    Retail and craft employment, now employing 280, has risen from 211 (a 32.7% increase) with 14.7% of all households now dependent on the sector.
  • The most significant looser is the farming sector, where employment has dropped from 106 in 1871 to 62 in 1881 (a decrease of 41.5%). Only 45 households are now dependant on farming compared with 80 ten years earlier.

  • As a start, we have prepared a breakdown of the population by gender and age. To view these, choose from the following options:

    Click to view our analysis of the male population by Age and Occupational Groupings in 1881 (and in 1851, in 1861 or in 1871)

    Click to view our analysis of the female population by Age and Occupational Groupings in 1881 (and in 1851, in 1861 or in 1871)

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    Notes on Methods :This, and other analyses of the Beeston census, have been prepared from the author's database of Beeston database which includes transcriptions of all available censuses. The author's own industry and occupational classifications have been used; these attempt to present an analysis based, wherever possible, entirely on industrial groupings and without, for example, considerations of social class14; in particular, ancillary workers (such as factory engine drivers, clerks, managers, etc) have been included in the respective industry totals as it is felt that this reflects more accurately the effect of that industry on the local economy - although the numbers involved are relatively small. Another example of the effect of this is that station masters, railway engine drivers, railway booking clerks and station porters would all be classified in the "Transport:Railway" as they all contribute to running the railway and are working in that role because of the existence of that railway. In particular, the analysis attempts to avoid factors relating to social class - such as those included to some degree by Tillott15 and by Armstrong16 in studies elsewhere. Analysis by this dimension will be attempted separately at another time.

    The figures for "Wives" only include those who are recorded as living with their husbands who are recorded as Head of Household.

    Notes on occupation groupings
    1Includes masons, architects, bricklayers, plumbers, joiners, painters, etc and their apprentices
    2Includes gamekeepers, veterinaries, land surveyors, etc
    3Labourers not identifiable to a specific industry
    4Included to quantify a major industry not present before about 1875
    5Includes brickyard workers
    6Includes clerks & bookkeepers (except those associated with specific industries), insurance workers, bankers, house agents, etc
    7Includes local and state officials, military, police, firemen, tax collectors, etc
    8Includes hairdressers, chimney sweeps, piano tuners and others performing services for individuals.
    9Includes winders, etc who may be more specifically part of the lace industry
    10Those making gloves and similar products, usually on knitting frames; an extension of the hosiery industry
    11Includes blacksmiths, shoemakers, cabinet makers, saddlers, printers, tinsmiths, etc and their apprentices
    12Includes tailors, dressmakers, bonnet makers, stay makers, shirt makers, etc
    13Living on personal wealth, annuities, share and property income, etc

    Source References
    14Similar to that used by Charles Booth, in 1886 for his social survey, Life and Labour of the People of London - but with much less detail and with an emphasis relative to local occupations.
    15P. M. Tillott - who devised a classification used in census analysis by extra-mural classes in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire in the 1960s
    16Alan Armstrong, Stability and Change in an English County Town - A Social Study of York 1801-51, Cambridge University Press

    © David Hallam - 2012