Histpop: three years on and more popular than ever

Article dated: 19 March 2010

It has been almost three years since the Online Historical Population Reports (Histpop) web site was successfully launched. The fruition of a three year JISC funded project led by the UK Data Archive’s Matthew Woollard, this freely available online resource has become the most popular resource of the History Data Service (HDS) with over 10,000 visitors and over 160,000 page views per month. It is being extensively used by researchers, amateur historians, lecturers, students and the general public. Within its first few months it was voted site of the month by the Higher Education Academy Subject Centre for History, Classics and Archaeology and was subsequently praised as “an important resource” in the recent Oxford Internet Institute report on JISC Phase I Digitisation Projects. histpop map

Histpop provides access to digitised images of virtually all published population reports relating to Britain and Ireland from 1801 to 1937, as well as a large number of downloadable tables containing data from these reports. All the relevant census reports from the 1801 to 1931 rounds of census are available, together with the English and Scottish reports of the Registrars General up to 1920. Alongside this are numerous historical documents from The National Archives, critical essays and transcriptions of important legislation. Access is thus provided to the scanned primary documents and data, as well as the necessary contextual material to understand and engage with the reports properly. In fact the collection goes far beyond the basic population reports with a treasure trove of textual and statistical material which offers an in-depth view of the economy, society (through births, deaths and marriages) and medicine during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.