A snapshot of Bush Houses in 1911

The database of the 1911 census on Ancestry (for England and Wales) is currently in a rather frustrating half-way state. The images of the individual records are online, organised by the original Enumeration District. However the information on the records hasn’t yet been transcribed and indexed, so you can’t directly search them by name (or by anything else). The census summary books, where the local census collector tallied up the records for each area, ARE indexed but they generally only give the surname of head of household, and don’t directly connect to the individual images. If you already know where a family is likely to be, you have a chance of finding them, although the precise ‘Civil Parish’ each Enumeration District is grouped into can be less than obvious (particularly in Wales?).

The Cutlock Transcription

One thing that the 1911 images on Ancestry are useful for though, due to the original enumeration sequence, is exploring a particular place at the time of the 1911 census, on 2nd April {1}. Bush Houses in Cwmclydach (Tonypandy) is one such place worth exploring. I already had five Osborne related households known to be living here in 1911 {2}, but with 50 terraced properties in total, and many containing two families, there were certainly going to be more who’d moved from Somerset like the Osbornes, and possibly some more direct connections.

Bush Houses, rear centre/right

So I’ve downloaded the forms and transcribed the data  for the 71 households, which can be seen in this BushHouses in 1911 census spreadsheet.

A few statistics

– 95 Welsh speakers, out of 399 people (but some are youngsters not shown as speaking either Welsh or English). Nobody is shown as only speaking Welsh (although I have a nagging doubt that I might have missed one).

– Average of 8 people per house. Most houses are shown to have 5 rooms, which excludes “scullery, landing, lobby, closet, bathroom” if the person completing the form had followed instructions.

– Counting all those up to and including age 18 years as children, there are 164 adults, 235 children.

There aren’t as many other families from Somerset as I expected – villages include Glastonbury, Meare and Carlingcott, as well as Bath. One adult is from Germany (Abram Glass), while in a family where the father isn’t present (but the mother is shown as married) two children were born in Wilkesbarre, USA. Was Dad still overseas trying to earn money, or perhaps due to the strike had gone off to find other work?

What the census doesn’t say

When you stop to think for  a moment, what stands out from these records is that there isn’t any indication that the census was taken while the Tonypandy coal miners strike, started November 1910, was still in full swing. Just one or two forms clearly state that the employer is Cambrian Colliery Combine, the focus of the dispute.

Most of these families would have been suffering greater hardships than usual from lack of money. See Tonypandy Riots page for a little more.

Osborne connections

The Osborne families in Bush Houses in 1911.

Already known:

  • Number 9 Ernest Osborne and Gwenllian (nee Herbert), plus young daughter Elizabeth Ann.
  • Number 10 Matthew Picton and Sarah (nee Thomas), with 6 children including Sophia, who marries a Gregory child (see no. 12)
  • Number 11 Levi Osborne and Elizabeth (nee Larkham), plus 3 children and niece Maud Pearce.
  • Number 12 Albert Gregory and Rose (nee Osborne), with 7 children.
  • Number 50 Richard Herbert (also known as Parry) and Eliza Ann, plus 3 children including Naomi, who marries a Gregory.

Newly discovered at Bush Houses:

  • Number 16 William Harwood and Amelia (nee Osborne), 1 baby boy.
  • Number 17 Probably the couple showing in the marriage records for 1910 as Bert James and Lizzie Osborne – Albert and Elizabeth.
  • Number 17 Edward Sheldon and Matilda (Osborne), plus 3 children.

Note 1. The 1911 census records on Find My Past , which had access to the sources first, are not arranged in this way. While you can search by address, getting all of them in one or two hits depends on the transcription being consistent, assuming that the individual householders had all written the address in a consistent fashion back in 1911. The latter is highly unlikely for Bush Houses (the location may be given as Blaenclydach, Cwmclydach or just Clydach, for instance), and the clarity of writing varies from excellent to terrible.

Note 2. Thanks to a previous subscription to the 1911 census on FindMyPast.

Note 3. If you want to find these records on Ancestry, they are at Wales > Glamorgan county > Rhondda civil parish > Rhondda sub-district > Enumeration district 42 > images 488 to 629.

Also See


2 responses to “A snapshot of Bush Houses in 1911

  1. The only offspring of Eva and Harold that I have recorded is John Lofthouse, born 1942. I’ve got a few notes on his probable marriage and children but I ought to check this properly first. Eva and Harold may well have had other children – there’s probably something in my mum’s notes but I don’t have easy access to those.

    I’ll drop a line to your email address Bill, so you have my direct contact details (no compulsion to reply!).

  2. Bill Richards

    After posting my info. it came into my mind that Eva Brookstone was of Jewish nationality but I was unaware you had covered this aspect elsewhere on the web-site. In the 1980s I fitted the home of Eva and Harold’s son with carpet at Pontyclun near Llantrisant. I do not know the son’s forename but the property in which he lived was expensive and brand new, very slightly set back from left of the main road passing through Pontyclun as one proceeds in that direction from Llantrisant.