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Duration 00:56:27

Behind the scenes: two centuries of census-taking

The census has been described as a ‘snapshot in time’, recording the nation as it stands at midnight on one Sunday every ten years. But the preparation for each census started years before each census date, and the collating and publishing of the results continued long after. This talk takes a look at the army of civil servants, temporary clerks, registrars, enumerators and others, and the part they played in this astonishing feat of organisation once a decade. Of course, there were incidents and accidents along the way, some of which are revealed in the talk, including the only time advertising was allowed on census material: it didn’t end well!