Life 100 Years Ago

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What we perceive as poverty nowadays is very different to the reality of many people’s lives a 100 years ago. Sometimes documentation from over 100 years ago can be a real shock and will produce a scene that is almost impossible to imagine.


In the 1911 census in Morpeth there is this household of 8 people, the parents, 2 adult children and 4 young children from 6 to 15 years of age. This family of 8 people live in one room. The enumerator is instructed to count the kitchen as a room but to not count sculleries, landings, lobbies, bathrooms or offices as rooms. This means this family lives in one room with only a fire to cook on, with all of them sleeping in that one room.

The 1911 census was the first to ask about marriage length and you can see that this couple have been married for 23 years and that during that marriage 15 children were born, 8 of whom have died already. This leaves 7 live children, 6 of whom are still living with their parents.

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