What’s my age again?


The age dynamic of a population can be very illuminating – A young Andy Dennis is clearly considering this whilst being held by his Nan, in a lovely image from his own blog.

Andy Dennis, a longstanding contributor and friend of the blog continues his painstaking analysis of the 1861 census results for Brownhills, this time looking at the age distribution of the population at the time of the census.

Andy has a great blog of his own, which I think is worth a read – you can go check it out here. Andy’s work is, as you would expect, extremely detailed, lovingly researched and packed with useful information – particularly for genealogists who’ll find Andy’s tips, views and methodology very helpful indeed.

There is a huge treasury of articles there which a well worth a read.

If you have anything to add, please do – this is fascinating research which I’m proud and honoured to publish. Comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Cheers.

Andy wrote:

Hello Bob

More from my exploration of the 1861 census. The two bar charts attached show how the population profile has shifted so that there are much more older people today. We all know this is because advances in healthcare, education, wealth, housing, environment, sanitation, welfare and workplace practice mean people live longer. In particular infant and child mortality are much reduced: for example, in England and Wales in 1851 (sadly no stats for 1861) the infant (0-4 years) mortality rate was approximately 65 per thousand live births (1) – in other words, more than 15% would die before their 5th birthday – and in 2010 was just 4.3 (2).

Population profile brownhills 1861

Brownhills in 1861, perhaps surprisingly, had a very young population. Image Kindly supplied by Andy Dennis.

What I had not previously appreciated were the numbers of infants and children in the general population, with a much lower proportion of people of working age (which mainly excluded women in 1861) compared to the 21st century.

Population profile Brownhills 2011

In 2011, the spread was much more balanced, but in coming years is likely to skew towards the older end of the spectrum. Image kindly supplied by Andy Dennis.

The infant mortality rate in the UK, although still falling (3.8 in 2013)(2), remains considerably above more successful European states, such as Germany and Iceland, and is attributed to our much more unequal society. Disadvantaged parents are more likely to smoke and drink, including during pregnancy, and are more likely to have less healthy and secure lifestyles generally, all of which contribute to deaths of infants and young children (3).

1. Vision of Britain
2. ONS
3. BBC reporting on “Why Children Die”, a report by Dr Ingrid Wolfe of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Heath, 2014.


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7 Responses to What’s my age again?

  1. andkindred says:

    Thanks, Bob – and thanks for the plug.

  2. aerreg says:

    hi andy re the name dennis i have mentioned this before my late wifes mothers maiden name was pearce the family home was opposite the railway tavern in lichfield road she was one of fifteen children a wonderful as she would say a happy and proud family she was a wonderful kind person at times when she would recall the lives of being part of a large family she would recall how kind grandad dennis from the tavern opposite helped with kind support to the family life brendas dad was born up the fort i follow you with great interest and often wonder if these two facts appear in your reseach by the way brendas dads name was hayward the family originated from dawley bank in shropshire the period when the mine fields in shropshire moved to the cannock chase hope you dont mined my chat to use an old saying perhaps their cat run over your garden ha ha god bless

    • andkindred says:

      Thanks, Reg. There is a lot in there, but Pearce and Hayward, and even Dawley Bank (though in another branch of my family) all ring bells. Will get back on this.

      “Their cat run over your garden” is a new one on me, but it seems about right!


    • andkindred says:

      Tom Dennis of the Railway Tavern, his daughter Sarah Ann married a Joseph Pearce. They had 19 children. In the 1891 census they were the next household to the pub, but that could easily be opposite, as there was not much development on the pub side.

      In the 1911 census the house where Pearce lived were known as Midsummer Cottages, though I’ve not seen the name on an old map. I imagine there was a plaque with the name and date. Tom Dennis was at that address when he died in 1928. Whether it was the same house or another I cannot tell. What I can tell is that your wife was evidently a relative of mine, the shared ancestry being my 2nd great grandfather Henry Dennis (1814-1895) and Dorothy (Hogg) (1815-1885). They moved to Brownhills in early 1852 and lived at Catshill.

      I got my wires crossed over Hayward. The Haywood branch of my tree were farm hands and lived at various places in Warwickshire, as did my Carter ancestors – mother’s mother was a Carter.
      Dawley Bank. Although I thought there was a connection, it is really Wellington where my Brown ancestors came from, but many families moved from Shropshire to Brownhills in the 19th century.

      Best wishes

  3. aerreg says:

    hi andy thanks for your interest in my old fashion world re the cat it was a phrase often used when a name appeared on the family tree non familier or even today in conversation on family history some one comes up with saying well you know whats his name he married so and so the reply i never knew that his cat must have run over our garden another interest of mine is oragine for example brenders dad always insisted his name was haywardnot haywood the reason being inthe past stray cattle where put in a pound stray sheep were put in a hay and cared for by a wardern his ancesters were wardens in shropshire hence hayward my apolagies for talking to mutch its good to talk god bless

  4. aerreg says:

    thanks andy you are a wonderful person thanks for what you do you give many many happy hours to us all god bless you

  5. David Evans says:

    Hi Andy
    excellent research! Dr Maddevers report, “The health of Brownhills” blog article, shows how bad things still were, some fifty years later.
    Best wishes

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