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News > From the Archives > New Year, new discoveries!

New Year, new discoveries!

The College Archives have got off to a flying start in 2022 with an important record release.
1921 Census
1921 Census

The College Archives have got off to a flying start in 2022 with an important record release.  Today is the release date for the 1921 census returns.  Census returns are an invaluable resource for researchers and family historians, not to mention archivists.   These are the first set of census returns that the college has appeared on since its inception in 1917 and they offer some fascinating insights into its organisation.

The 1921 census was taken on the 19th of June that year with the responsibility for completing the return falling on the Bursar.  Today the College employs in excess of one hundred and fifty staff but in 1921 the census lists just twenty nine.  The Captain Superintendent of the College, the equivalent of today’s Head, was William Margesson who was ably assisted by the Chaplain, three Instructors and four House Masters including thirty year old Harry Sykes from Bradford, Yorkshire.  Keeping everyone fed and watered was a kitchen team of four led by Perceval Gibbons, the College Chef.  Two of the kitchen team were the same age as the students they were catering for with Pantry maid Lilian Bunce aged just fourteen.  Eight domestic staff were responsible for keeping things spick and span and four sewing maids made sure that cadets were immaculately turned out at all times. 

Finally Nurse Agnes Stewart from Dundee and Nurse Mabel Digby from Ireland along with a hospital orderly made sure that everyone stayed fit and healthy. 

The next census release will not be available until 2052 as the 1931 census returns were destroyed by fire and the census was suspended in 1941 due to the war so for the time being the 1921 returns give us one of the best snapshots of life during the colleges early days.


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