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Roman Catholic 'Attendances' as Percentage of Total in 1851 for
Today, the Catholic church often claims comparable membership to the Church of England,
but in 1851 under 4% of all attendances in England and Wales were at their churches.
This may seem surprising, but the census followed too soon after the mass Irish
immigration triggered by the Potato Famine of the late 1840s for many of the new
arrivals to show up as church-goers.
In the eighteenth century, Catholics had been systematically persecuted, for
example being denied the right to inherit property.
The most severe penalties were abolished in 1778, but it was only in 1829, 22
years before this census, that they were allowed to sit in Parliament, or join the army.
The main concentrations of Catholics in 1851 were in the north west, where the Irish immigrants had just arrived. They made up 33% of all attendances in Chorley, and 32% in Liverpool. However, significant groups were found in other parts of the country, but overwhelmingly in towns: 12% of 'attendances' in Newcastle-on-Tyne; 9% in Nottingham; 6% in Birmingham. There were also significant numbers in London: 11% in Southwark; 9% in Tower Hamlets and Westminster. We cannot distinguish recent Irish immigrants from long-established Catholic congregations in these data, but there were one or two Catholic congregations in most districts, unlike the non-Conformist sects who were often completely absent away from their core area.
The "Statistical atlas" lets you view our British statistical data rates by theme in their entirety as maps for both modern local authorities and historical units.
Please note that although there are some statistics within the system relating to places outside Great Britain, particularly Ireland, the majority of our statistics are British and this is reflected in the presentation of data within the Statistical atlas.
The Statistical atlas presents national views of rates. This differs from the specific numeric data for individual administrative units presented in the "Units & Statistics" part of the place pages accessed via typing in a place-name on the homepage.
Select a theme by clicking on a theme title. You must then decide whether you wish to view data for modern local authorities or historical units. At the top of the theme page are the links to rate maps for modern units. Select one to enter the atlas. Alternatively, at the bottom of the theme page are links to maps of rates only available in their historical units.
After selecting a rate we are presented with the map page showing the selected rate. On the left hand side is the map legend and some generic subject information about the theme. Below the text is a link to the "Rate definition" which takes you out of the statistical atlas and into the description of the nCube for that theme within the data documentation system.
Beneath this are various "Options" for altering the mapped rate. With the exception of the "Political Life" theme, drop down menus exist to change the mapped rate or to select an alternative unit type. All themes have the option to select alternative dates. Selecting a different date will change the map to display re-districted data i.e. statistics which are estimates for the same (modern) geographical area going back over time. More information on how this was achieved is available here.
The map window on the right can be zoomed and panned. Using the drop down menu at the top left of the map window you can select and add a "base layer" map image beneath the transparent statistical map to help you understand the geography of the rates. The window itself can be expanded to see a bigger map using the "Bigger map" option at the top right of the map window. If this function is enabled, the information given on the left will automatically move to below the map.
The statistics come from national overviews, including Censuses, Surveys and other collated tables. You should be aware that the same information was not always collected, the questions change over time to suit contemporary conditions. For example, in the 2011 Census English households were asked about their car ownership, but this would have been of little relevance in 1921 when very few people owned their own vehicle. Conversely, the 1951 question about whether your household had shared access or no access to piped water has disappeared because it is now assumed that all, or virtually all, households will have exclusive use of a piped hot water supply. This is why not all themes have data in all years, the dates available vary according to the questions asked.
We should also point out that we have not digitised all possible historical statistics. Although we have gone a significant way to capturing and integrating suitable tables useful for our themes, this is a labour intensive and time-consuming process. We have tried to focus on particular tables to produce runs of data and in this sense the "Population" theme is the fullest. We continue to work on improving the data, both in its consistency and its accuracy as well as its extent.