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Employment in Largs in 1841

 

This analysis of the 1841 Largs and Fairlie Census was undertaken by Henry W Noble and first printed un the Winter 1997 Newsletter of The Largs and North Ayrshire Family History Society and has been reproduced here with their kind permission.

 

The 1841 Census for the parishes of Largs and Fairlie lists 4,055 inhabitants. The Minister and Schoolmaster in charge of the census note that no distinction has been drawn between visitors and residents which might have been important in this community even in 1841. In view of current interest in our ageing population, it might be noted that in 1841 there were 881 or 22% aged under 10 years of age. Only 6% of the population reached 60 years and as few as 0.8% were 80 years of age or over. There were two people over 90 years of age but there was no record of a centenarian.

Of the 3,174 inhabitants aged 10 years or over, 54.5 % declared an occupation. An analysis of these occupations reveals how self-sufficient the community was but also sheds light upon the manner in which, the emphasis upon certain occupations has changed. The occupations declared in the census have been arranged in eight groups, to give some rough idea of the proportion of the population involved in each. These groups are not given in descending order of size :-

28.5% were associated with a trade of a manual nature

21.3% were engaged in domestic service as servants or housekeepers

18% were engaged in aspects of weaving or cloth manufacture

10% were engaged in farming or agriculture

10% were described as Independent

6% were merchants or shopkeepers

3% were engaged in seafaring occupations

2.5% were professionals and other who might be classed as Public Servants

 

The rich diversity of the occupations in Largs and Fairlie can only be appreciated when each of the above eight groups is similarly listed with the occupations in order of frequency.

 

TRADESMEN

93 Labourers 66 Masons
35 Shoemakers 34 Gardeners
23 Joiners 19 Dressmakers
19 Carriers or Carters 18 Blacksmiths
17 sewers 16 Tailors
14 Innkeepers and Lodging House Keepers 13 Writers. Clerks Rc Accountants 12 Wrights
12 Wrights 9 Qwarrymen
9 Sawyers 9 Streamstresses
8 Bakers 7 Cabinetmakers
6 Carpenters 5 Builders
5 Coach Driver 4 Plasterers
4 Painters 4 Laundresses
4 Washerwomen 3 Boat Builders
3 Tinsmiths 2 Slaters
2 Thatchers 2 Coopers
2 Glaciers 2 Reed Makers
2 Mole Catchers 2 Saddlers
1 Mangler 1 Watchmaker
1 Gunsmith  

   

SERVANTS

313 Female Servants 40 Male Servants
6 Housekeepers  

 

WEAVING & CLOTH MANUFACTURE

247 Weavers 18 Weavers Draw Boys or Drawers
15 Pirn Fillers & Winders 6 Spinners
3 Dyers 12 Miscellaneous Weaving occupations

    

FARMING AND AGRICULTURE

107 Agricultural Labourers 43 Farmers
4 Dyke Builders 3 Gamekeepers
1 Road Labourer 1 Factor ( Earl of Glasgow)
1 Herd 1 Cowherd

 

INDEPENDENT

164 Individuals  

 

MERCHANTS & SHOPKEEPERS

38 Merchants 17 Spirit Dealers
15 Grocers 8 Fleshers
6 Clothiers 4 Drapers
3 Jewellers 3 Booksellers & Stationers
2 Fishmongers 2 Hairdressers
2 Milliners 1 Druggist
1 Ironmonger  

 

SEAFARING OCCUPATIONS

38 Fishermen 4 Merchant Seamen
3 Boatmen 2 Captains or Shipmasters
1 Ferryman  

 

PUBLIC SERVANTS

7 Governesses 6 Ministers of Religion
6 Officers in Army or Navy 4 Teachers
3 Bankers 3 Medical Doctors or Surgeons
3 Toll Keepers 3 Nurses
2 School Masters 1 Post Master
1 Harbour Master 1 Gas Manager
1 Bath Keeper 1 Musician
1 Precentor  

 

 

 

   

 

 

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