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London Census Case Study

William Gladstone

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William Ewart Gladstone
William Ewart Gladstone

London was the backdrop to William Gladstone’s extraordinary political career, which saw him becoming Prime Minister no less than four times.

Born in 1809, he first entered the House of Commons in 1832 as a Conservative MP; but eventually found a more natural home in the Liberal party. On the 1861 London census he appears working as Chancellor of the Exchequer for the Liberals whilst living in St-Martin-in-the-Fields near Charing Cross with daughters Mary and Helen, 7 years before he first became Prime Minister in 1868.

Despite his early opposition to reform, he became a vigorous reformer in later life, and galvanized British politics: extending the vote to the working class, implementing social reforms in Ireland, changing the railway system; the list goes on. A principled man both privately and professionally, he and his wife Catherine famously walked the streets of London at night to try to persuade prostitutes to change their lives.

He’s also known for introducing the red budget box to Parliament, his intense mutual dislike of Queen Victoria, and for holding the record for the longest Parliamentary speech ever: he spent a massive four hours and 45 minutes delivering the budget in 1853.

extract from 1861 census page

Gladstone in the 1861 census

To view the full page (in Acrobat format) click here

After the loss of the election in 1874 to Disraeli’s Conservative opposition, he returned to hold the post a further three times; from 1880 (during the Boer War) to 1885; in 1886, and from 1892-4, at times serving as Chancellor simultaneously.

He died in 1898 while at his country estate in Hawarden, but was buried in Westminster Abbey, where a statue of him stands.

extract from 1871 census page

Gladstone in the 1871 census;

Click here to view the full page

If you have no idea where your ancestors lived you can use the search tools at www.TheGenealogist.co.uk which allows you to search across all of England and Wales.

Find out more about the UK Census and life in Britain in 1861 & 1871 on the UK 1861 & 1871 Census websites:

UK 1861 Census

UK 1871 Census

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