The 1911 census was taken on Sunday, 2 April. Unlike earlier counts, when the enumerator
books were shown, this census record displays the original householder’s schedules
which were usually completed and signed by the occupant!
In addition to the usual information, the census also included: the number of completed
years marriages had lasted to date; the number of children born alive; those still
alive and those who had died. One of the enumerators at Preston was Tom Ashton, the
Preston had 332 inhabitants - fourteen more than in 1901 - although the population
was swelled by eleven boarders who were part of the work-force engaged on new building
projects. There were 182 males and 150 females which included 49 couples and 17 widows
Villagers occupied 70 homes, eight more than ten years earlier, testament to the
rebuilding of Preston in the early twentieth century especially in connection with
the Temple Dinsley estate.
The following were ‘core’ families in Preston making -up 27% of the population:
Thirty-nine percent of Prestonians were aged twenty or younger. The oldest man was
John Jeeves (79) and the oldest woman was Hannah Crewe (78)
Census headings: Surname; Christian name; Position - Head, Wife, Son, Daughter, Visitor,
Servant etc); age; marital status -Married, Single, Widow/Widower; years married;
children born to marriage; children living; children who had died; occupation; rooms
The occupations of the residents showed a greater diversity than in previous years.
There were the ubiquitous farm workers: the labourers, horse-
keepers, cowmen, groom, stockmen and woodmen who totalled forty-eight.
The population was temporarily augmented by a builder’s foreman, bricklayers (5),
carpenters (5), an electrician, hydraulic engineers and their fitters (4)
and an agricultural engineer fitter who were helping with the construction work around
the village. The usual trades-people remained - the baker, wheelwright, tailor and
grocer. Law and order was upheld by the local police constable.
The complete absence of straw plaiters among the women and children in 1911 points
to the demise of the craft in the early twentieth century. Among the women there
were the maids, nurses and domestic servants who were employed at the grand houses
of Temple Dinsley and Poynders End.
Signs of the modern age in the village were the two chauffeurs, the electrician and
the post office messenger who resided there.
A high proportion of villagers (45%) were born in Preston - 149. A further 64 were
born in the local parishes of Kings Walden, St Pauls Walden, Kimpton, Hitchin and
Great Wymondley. Seventeen more were born elsewhere in Hertfordshire.