The 1921 Census of England & Wales, including the Plans of Division, has been digitised by
Findmypast and is available to view in full.
Browse through the 1921 Census Plans of Division (archive series RG 114), to see how each district within England and Wales was divided up for the purpose of taking the census in the summer of 1921. The Plans of Division contain, as well as various administrative geographiess, the "enumerator's walk" for each Enumeration District, showing which places and streets were included in which ED.
The Plans of Division for the 1921 Census of England & Wales show how each Registration Sub-district (SD) was divided up and which places and streets were included in which Enumeration District (ED). There are no personal names in the Plans of Division.
The browse experience is intended as the equivalent of going to an archive in person, calling up a volume in the search room, and being able to page through it from cover to cover.
Each Plan of Division volume is, in archival terms, its own piece. For example, the Plan of Division for Cheetham Registration Sub-district (SD) in Lancashire is piece RG 114/1361 and that for Aberystwyth SD in Cardiganshire is RG 114/1907.
Pieces run from RG 114/1 for Paddington SD to RG 114/1992 for Anglesey SD.
Piece numbers RG 114/1304, RG 114/1838 and RG 114/1840 were not used, so will not be found.
You can search for and go straight to a particular piece that interests you. This requires some knowledge either of the administrative geography of the census (in other words, the Registration District or Sub-district) or of the archival geography of the census.
Your browse search results will indicate the number of images within each piece, so you know in advance what is available.
Note that you can only browse within a single piece (bound volume). You cannot browse from one piece to the next; this is because each piece is stored within its own image folder in the underlying database. If you want to move on to another piece, you will need to close your first piece (put it back on the shelf, as it were) and select a new one.
The original Plans of Division form archive series RG 114 at The National Archives.
The Plans were prepared before the census was taken as a means of dividing up the country into manageable units, called Enumeration Districts (EDs).
The history of these Plans is complicated. They were prepared well in advance of the taking of the 1921 Census, presumably as soon as possible after the Census Act of 1920 was passed on 16th August 1920. The 1911 Census of England & Wales Plans of Division were used as a template. The registrars were supposed to review the division of their districts and amend them accordingly, based upon changes in population distribution and density since 1911. Streets and properties had been destroyed during the Great War and new ones created and built since. Some EDs would therefore have been merged and new ones created.
Upon the basis of this revision of the existing 1911 Plans, the registrars appointed an enumerator for each Enumeration District, who would be responsible for preparing, distributing, collecting and checking household returns in 1921. It seems likely that some pragmatic decisions and adjustments were made at the taking of the census in June 1921 which resulted in the final product (composition and numbering of EDs) varying slightly from the originally projected scheme documented in the 1921 Plans of Division.
Moreover, the 1921 Census Plans of Division were then used in the preparation for the 1931 Census of England & Wales and, as a result, carry many annotations, strikings out and overwritten text. Some of these are clearly dated, usually from the period from 1923 up to 1928. However, many other corrections and cancellations are not dated, and it is not clear whether they date from 1921 or from the preparations for the 1931 census. Researchers should remain mindful of this fact when using the Plans of Division.
The Plans of Division are slim volumes, typically of 32 pages, containing both high-level and granular descriptions of place.
Typically, there is one Plan (piece) per Registration Sub-district (SD). For example, there are just two pieces in RG 114 for the Registration District of Mile End Old Town in the East End of London (one for Mile End Old Town South Western SD and one for Mile End Old Town North Eastern SD), five for Kings Norton (one for each of its Registration Sub-districts of Kings Norton, Balsall Heath, Edgbaston, Acock’s Green and Smethwick) and just the one for Bala Registration District in Merionethshire.
However, some of the most populous or complicated SDs spread over two or more Plans, as a single volume would have been insufficient. For instance, Woolwich SD has parts 1 and 2, while Cambridge SD has parts 1, 2 and 3.
The Plan of Division for each Registration Sub-district (SD) is structured in the following way:
There are some duplicates, in other words copies of the Plan of Division in the original archive collection. All duplicates have been imaged and published in full. Note that we have not compared these duplicate Plans to see whether they are identical to one another or differ in minor or major ways, or whether one of each pair was superseded by the other. Duplicate RG 114 pieces are as follows:
A few pieces are largely blank – they have not been completed in the expected way beyond pages II and III, with the occasional exception of an entry on page type X or XI. These pieces are:
It is quite possible that content for these SDs will be found in neighbouring pieces within the series. For instance, the content announced on page II of Bromley’s RG 114/141 appears to be in the following piece RG 114/142. Similarly, it may be that all the Rhondda SD content was collated into a single piece RG 114/1836 (our image folder for it contains an exceptionally large number of images – 100 in total).
There are some known errors in the Plans of Division, some of which were identified and acknowledged at the time. For instance, some pages which ought to have been in RG 114/1076 (for Coventry South West) were wrongly included within piece RG 114/1075 (Coventry East).
In series RG 114, as with most archival collections, there are often useful or curious attachments and inserts in addition to the core material. For instance, there are a number of maps, or map fragments. Piece RG 114/238 for Preston SD (in Steyning RD) contains a map of Brighton (seemingly published to promote William Pearce, goldsmiths & silversmiths of 106 King’s Road, Brighton) used in working out the division of the Sub-district. Similarly, piece 114/337 for Sandhurst SD (in Easthampstead RD) contains three pre-Great-War Ordnance Survey maps likewise used in dividing up the Sub-district for enumeration purposes.
The RG 114 Plan of Division books cover England & Wales only.
They do not cover the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man or, of course, the armed forces overseas (all of which are included in the main RG 15 series of the 1921 Census of England & Wales).
There are a few pieces known to be missing from the collection, as follows:
It is assumed that these were mislaid, lost or destroyed at some date between 1921 and 2018. They did not form part of the collection accessioned by The National Archives (and are described as “missing at transfer”) and therefore could not be imaged or published by Findmypast.
In addition, it is clear that some Plans (pieces) have one or more missing pages. For example, piece RG 114/23 for Hampstead SD (in Hampstead RD) seems to have been damaged, has a replacement cover, and is missing pages at the start up to page type VI, while piece RG 114/1430 for Stalmine SD in Garstang RD is missing its page X, XI and XII.
These records conserved, imaged and published by Findmypast come from the original archive series RG 114 at The National Archives.
Please note that copyright applies as follows:
© Crown Copyright. Images reproduced by courtesy of The National Archives, London, England.
The National Archives give no warranty as to the accuracy, completeness or fitness for the purpose of the information provided.
Images may be used only for purposes of research, private study or education. Applications for any other use should be made to:
The National Archives Image Library
Tel: +44 (0)20 3908 9131