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 881or 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.
WEAVING & CLOTH MANUFACTURE
FARMING AND AGRICULTURE
MERCHANTS & SHOPKEEPERS
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