Celebrating Disability  everywhere in everything. Disabled persectives

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Disability Perspectives: History



From 1851 the  questions on the UK Census asked about impairments, but this did not include physical impairment, the focus was on gathering data on those who were "Deaf", "Blind", "Lunatic", "Imbecile" and "Feeble-Minded".

1851census.jpgQuestions on the 1851 & 1861 census included
"Whether Blind, Deaf or Dumb" 


for 1871, 1881, 1891 the question changed to:


1. Deaf and Dumb

2. Blind

3. Imbecile or idiot 

4.  Lunatic


In 1901 the question was changed to:

1901 infirmity.jpg



1. Deaf and Dumb

2. Blind

3. Lunatic

4. Imbecile, Feeble-Minded.


The 1911 UK Census form states:-


If any person including in this schedule is:-

1. 'Totally Deaf' or 'Deaf and Dumb'

2. 'Totally Blind'

3. 'Lunatic'

4. 'Imbecile or feeble minded'

State the infirmity opposite that person’s name and the age at which he or she became anflicted.

Our Hidden Histories project explored records to find Disabled people on the Census and other records in the archives

Mary Ann Merrick 41. Deaf from fever on the UK CENSUS 1911

HEAD: Thomas Merrick  36 stone surveyor

WIFE: Mary Ann Merrick 41. Deaf from fever

SON: Edward Victor Merrick 10

DAUGHTER: Glaydys Mary Merrick 3.

William Henry Jones blind from the age of seven appears on the census:

UK Census 1881 The Jones family living at 4 Clifford St, Wolverhampton

Head: William Jones occupation: milkman.
Wife: Sarah
Son: William H. blind five years.
Daughter: Ellen. Daughter: Florey.


UK CENSUS 1891 62 Clifford St, Wolverhampton

Head: William Jones – Occupation: dairyman
Wife: Sarah,
Son: William H, Occupation: Basket maker. Blind,
Daughter: Ellen Daughter: Florie


UK CENSUS :1901 62 Clifford St, Wolverhampton

Living with mother and sisters Ellen and Florie
William Henry Jones b.1871 Age 40  occupation , Basket weaver at Blind Institute. Blind from childhood.


UK CENSUS  1911 UK Census  62 Clifford St, Wolverhampton

William Henry Jones b.1871 Age 40 occupation:Basket weaver at Blind Institute  Totally blind age 7.

Living with his mother Sarah Jones b.1843 Occupation: housewife general dealer  
and his sister Florie and her husband Charles Williams whose  occupation is Carriage Trammer G W R Railway Co.


Wolverhampton Union Workhouse

Wolverhampton Union Workhouse
Wolverhampton Eastern Staffordshire England
Mary Ann Wright 
Age:35, DOB:1866 in Wednesfield, Staffordshire, England
Pauper -  Imbecile

At 55 Tettenhall Road, Wolverhampton Staffordshire England 1911

Captain Retired 95 Th Reg Aml Chief Constable Wolverhampton

Lindsay Robert Burnett aged 64

b.1847 Berrow Vicarage, Somerset

WIFE Agnes Herrietta 55


Lindsay Robert Burnett 32 yrs (Birth Year:1880) feeble-minded about 7-8 years from fall

Richard Parry 20


Agnes Winifred 31

Margaret Henrietta 30

Katherine Elizabeth 27

Mary Etheldred 20


Millicent Gough 20

Helen Rhodes 21

55 Tettenhall Road, Wolverhampton Staffordshire England

Head of Household Peel Street Wolverhampton

Joseph Smith b. 1829 occupation: Japanner Deaf    

Wife: Mary A Smith b.1826

Son: Sydney b.1856

Thanks to Heritage Lottery Fund for supporting this project
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