The Twickenham Museum
Exhibitions : People at Work

Male Employment and General Employment Trends
Overall, this was a time when food shopping was carried out every day

The 1871 Census for Twickenham and Whitton shows the various types of employment then available to men. At that time the main categories were classified as Dealing (basically shop working) 16%, Public Service and Professional 16%, Manufacture 15%, Agriculture 14%, Building 14%, Industrial Service 9%, Transport 9% and Domestic Service 7%.

These categories break down further as follows: Dealing shows the predominant categories were food (28%), wine, spirits and hotels (21%) and general dealing (12%). Public Service and Professional is mainly army (36%), administration (12%) and law (10%). In Manufacture woodworkers (27%), clothing (17%) and carriages and harnesses (13%) dominate. Industrial Service includes both general labourers (72%) and banking and insurance etc (28%). The Transport sector breaks down into railways (36%), roads (34%), warehouses and docks (17%) and inland navigation (13%).


Overall, this was a time when food shopping was carried out every day, where market gardening was very important locally and where manual labour was still cheap. Woodworking was still important for many items for the home and there were horses rather than cars on the “roads”. This was to change as the market gardens disappeared beneath housing and new roads.

The coming of the motorcar and the tram, of course, led to enormous changes: new industries grew up. The National Physical Laboratories (NPL) moved to Bushy House, Teddington, in 1900. Film-making was established in Teddington in 1912 (and the buildings serve as television studios to this day), as well as at Twickenham. The Waterworks at Hampton continued to develop and are still in operation, although like many industries now only a fraction of the numbers in the past are employed there.

Today, many people work away from where they live, sometimes commuting long distances each day. This has helped to change the nature of communities, leading to the growth of "dormitory" towns.

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