The Demographics of Percy Terrace

These figures are extracted from census records from 1841 to 1911. They cover properties in Percy Terrace and South Street.

The number of houses within the street rose rapidly through the 1840's and 1850's. Few new houses were built after 1861. As a result, the population of the street rose as new houses were built, from 9 in 1841 and 34 in 1851 to a peak of 119 in 1861. When most of the 19th century houses were newly built the average number of occupants per house was over 5, and at its highest point. It then fell, and the street ended the 19th century with a population of around 100. Over the period 1861-1911, with few new houses in the street the population of Percy Terrace had declined by about 20% while the population of Alnwick increased by 14%.

From 1841 to 1911 women outnumbered men in Percy Terrace. Across the whole period, less than 40% of residents were male, and more than 60% female. In 1891 only 28% were male. The total population of Alnwick during this period was consistently more evenly distributed: with 49% male, and 51% female.

Among the largest households in Percy Terrace over this time were at Linhope House (home to ten people between 1851 and 1861); 6 Percy Terrace (home to 11 people in 1861, and 9 from 1891-1901),  4 South Street (home to 10 people in 1861), 1 Hope Terrace (home to 9 people in 1871and 12 in 1881) and Percy Place (home to 10 people in 1871).

Year

1841

1851

1861

1871

1881

1891

1901

1911

Occupants

9

34

119

102

103

94

85

100

Properties

3

8

23

22

24

23

23

28

Average per house

3.0

4.3

5.2

4.6

4.3

4.1

3.7

3.6

 

Year

Female

Male

Unknown

Total

Female as %

1841

6

3

 

9

67%

1851

22

12

 

34

65%

1861

67

52

 

119

56%

1871

63

39

 

102

62%

1881

65

38

 

103

63%

1891

68

26

 

94

72%

1901

52

33

 

85

61%

1911

60

38

2

100

60%

The average age in the street was under 30 until the 1870’s and just over 30 for the rest of the 19th century. Most occupants were of working age, with around 70% of the street aged between 15 and 65 through the second part of the 19th century.
In 1861 only 4% of Percy Terrace was aged over 65: lower than the proportion across the whole of Alnwick, which was 6%.  By 1911 the proportion of those over 65 in Percy Terrace had risen to 18%: a lot more than the proportion across the whole of Alnwick, which was virtually unchanged.

When the houses were first built there were a lot of youngsters. In 1861 more than a third of residents were aged under 15. This is almost exactly the same as the proportion across the whole of Alnwick. By 1911 the proportion aged under 15 across Alnwick had fallen slightly (to 30%), but in Percy Terrace it had declined much more - to only 10%. In most census years from 1851 to 1901 there two new-born babies living in the  street (aged under one year).

Year

Aged 0-14 as %

Aged 15-64 as %

Aged >65 as %

Average age

1851

24%

71%

6%

          27.7

1861

36%

59%

4%

          25.7

1871

23%

69%

8%

          29.5

1881

24%

69%

8%

          32.0

1891

20%

70%

10%

          32.5

1901

9%

86%

5%

          33.5

1911

10%

72%

18%

          41.5

The most popular fore-names in Percy Terrace through the 19th century were Mary, Jane, and William. Throughout the 19th century we have only found one "Peter", in 1841.

Rank

Female

Male

1

Mary

William

2

Jane

Robert

3

Elizabeth

George

4

Ann

John

5

Margaret

Thomas

6

Isabella

James

7

Sarah

Joseph

8

Annie

David

9

Hannah

Edward

10

Eleanor

Henry

We have been able to identify the occupation of around 70% of those living in Percy Terrace from 1841-1911. A further 25% are below working age, or recorded as dependents of the head of household (son, daughter, wife, mother, etc). Among occupants that one would expect to have either an occupation, or some other source of income or support we can identify the trade or professions for about 95% - so the following figures should be fairly representative of the whole street.

Students (mostly recorded as “scholar”) make up 13% of all residents. As best we can tell, there were around 37 Percy Terrace residents of school age in 1861, of which around 32 were scholars, and a small number were working in domestic service or various trades. By the end of the 19th century the number of Percy Terrace occupants of school age had fallen to 20, and continued to decline at the start of the 20th century.

In 1871 73% of occupied houses in Percy Terrace had a live-in servant, but this proportion then dropped rapidly - to around 40% for the rest of the 19th century. Most households only had one live-in servant, but some had two, and occasionally there were three.

Domestic servants make up the largest group of those in employment, at 15% of all residents, and 22% of those with a known occupation. Three of these – a governess, housekeeper, and housemaid - were related to the head of a Percy Terrace household, so seem to have been living here with their family and presumably working elsewhere. The majority, though, appear to have been living within the household of their employer in Percy Terrace. In one case a middle aged man was sharing his home with a younger housekeeper, while his wife and children lived in Hexham. Perhaps there was a more complicated relationship going on there.

Most of those in service describe themselves as a “General Domestic Servant” (or something similar) but there are also several with more specialised roles - described as “Cook”, “Housemaid”, “Nurse”, “Housekeeper”, “Governess” etc. Virtually all are female. The only male in domestic service in Percy Terrace was a gardener.

The more specialised roles tend to be more elderly. The oldest domestic servants are two housekeepers in their 70’s and a nurse in her 60’s. General domestic servants tend to be younger, with almost half in their teens and an average age of about 20.
Those living on independent means make up 10% of the residents of Percy Terrace through the 19th century. Mostly they appear as the head of the household, although some are boarders and some are related to the head of household: mother, father (or even son or daughter). Mostly they describe their position as “annuitant” – i.e. receiving a relatively small annual sum from a trust fund. Their average age is over 60, and a third are in their 70’s. Those on independent means make up more than half of residents aged 65 and over, which means that a number of residents were still working beyond their mid-60’s. This included a couple of ministers, a couple of housekeepers, a pharmacist, a cabinet & umbrella maker, a carter, a stonemason, a waller, and a wood carver. The carter still appears to have been working at the age of 76.

Shopkeepers made up 8% of residents in the 19th century (and 12% of the known occupations). Drapers, grocers, chemists / pharmacists appear fairly frequently. It is also fairly common to find Dressmakers and Tailors living in Percy Terrace through the 19th century. Other specialist trades included a woodcarver, fishing rod maker, cabinet maker, and bookbinder. There were a couple of plasterers, who left notable examples of their work. Others involved in building trades appear less frequently, but there were a couple of stonemasons, and a plumber living here at various times.

Different professions make up 9% of residents, with lawyers appearing most frequently (solicitors, solicitors clerks, attorney, etc). In numbers they are closely followed by teachers and the church. There were a number of Presbyterian and Methodist Ministers in the street through the 19th century). There were others working in banks, a few public servants, and a couple of military men living in the street at different times.