Analysing Eliza’s Register

The indexing data from Eliza’s Register (SD 1705/MS591) is currently undergoing “pre-flight checks” before we make it available online. However, with the raw data at our fingertips we were curious to see what interesting snippets of information we could uncover with a bit of spreadsheet magic. Pivot tables, work your magic!

The Register of Apprentices contains 1339 apprentice entries (and a similar number of parent/guardian entries) and covers a period of 32 years between 1860 and 1892. Of those 1339 apprentices 59% are female and 41% male.

Top 3 Trades
from a total of 40 trades
  • Gilding (19%)
  • Painting (16%)
  • Pressing (15%)

Though there are considerably more women than men represented in the register their choice of apprenticeship was very limited – women are found working in just 6 of the 44 trades listed in the register with five of these being exclusively female roles. The sixth, occupied by a single female gilder, is one of only two instances in the entire volume when the clear division of roles between male and female workers is broken (the other is of a lone male enameller who was apprenticed in 1875).

This strict division by gender means that a graph tracking the number of male and female apprentices over time can also help predict the fluctuations in the type of apprenticeships too. In 1876, for example, a large increase in the number of female apprentices is mirrored by a spike in the number of enamelling apprenticeships.

Click image for a larger version

Speaking of enamellers, china enameller Eliza is one of 878 apprentices who’s trade specifies the type of ware they will be working with, and whilst over the register’s time period the two are quite evenly matched…


… charting them over time reveals that there are a number of years when no “china” apprenticeships are listed:

We couldn’t delve into the register without referencing names once again, though this time it was interesting to find out about the most commonly occurring names rather than the most unusual or unique.

Top 5 Names
  • William (98)
  • John (65)
  • Thomas (63)
  • Henry (51)
  • George (41)

Finally, whilst the apprentice’s place of residence is the most difficult to standardise – the differing levels of detail through the years being a major headache – it shows that, unsurprisingly for the time, the workforce tended to live in close proximity to their place of work.

As always this won’t be the last time you hear about Eliza on the blog – stay tuned for more very soon…