Census Exhibition

Census Night, Sunday 2nd April 1911

workhouse3.jpg Belfast 1911: A Day in the Life of a City, was one of the successful creations of the BelFam project. This exhibition of historical photographs, census manuscripts, contemporary newspapers and film, was opened by the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Tom Hartley, at the Linen Hall Library in the autumn of 2008. It then moved to the Waterfront Hall, and the Exhibition has been on tour ever since. A digital version of BelFast 1911 can be downloaded (see below).

The holding of the Census, and the publication of the Census results, were sufficiently newsworthy to be covered in the local and national newspapers. There was the lighter side to census taking and the merriment this sometimes provoked (see the cartoon exhibit).

But filling in the Census form was compulsory and failure to do so could result in a fine. A refusal to fill in the forms could also be an act of defiance, as used by the Suffragettes for instance to highlight the denial of votes to women. The published Census results, which were of enormous importance to politicians, business people and the informed public, were in a sense a snapshot of the state of society at a moment in time.


Download the 4Mb Exhibition PDF Belfast 1911: A Day in the Life of a City.
Download the Exhibition PDF here
(4 Megabyte PDF)