A History of Preston in Hertfordshire
1911 census analysis
The ‘core’ families of Preston in 1901 were:
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).
Ages of Preston’s inhabitants:
They comprised 27% of the village’s population.
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.
The mobility of Preston villagers 1901 - 1911 1
Link to 1911 census: 1911C
The census was taken on Sunday, 2 April 1911. 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 village baker. 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 or widowers. 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 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 total 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.