|A study of the population size of Burbage in comparison to its neighbours and the county as a whole reveals an interesting pattern. In the 19th century the expansion of the county's industrial centres more than compensated for the rural exodus and even the selected villages below managed to main a reasonable status quo throughout this period. But by the dawning of the 20th century it is noticeable that the villages where in serious decline as the agricultural depression continued and the young left the land to seek their fortunes elsewhere. In Burbage and Bedwyn the failing fortunes of the Savernake Estates would have compounded the problem. But the county continued to grow; not only through the continued presence of the likes of Avon Rubber, Westinghouse and the GWR but also by the coming of the army to the Salisbury Plain area. For the villages the rot continued until well after WWII when, gradually, local plans targeted villages as over spill areas of Swindon and it is a sad but arguable truth that the coming of some of these modern estates - no matter how ugly or intrusive - has saved them from becoming weekenders' paradises.|
|It is interesting to see that Great Bedwyn and Ramsbury seem to have largely avoided
the late 20th century building boom that the others have suffered from. Indeed
neither come anywhere near their respective 19th century norms (for Bedwyn that
requires including the population of modern Grafton parish). However the growth of Pewsey is very noticeable, having experience phenomenal post war growth.
1 - The numbers relate to the Civil Parish and not just the village.
2 - The 1861 figures were inflated by the large number of railway navvies in the area at the time.
3 - While the county as a whole has had a dramatic population explosion since the war, the rural areas have been less effected.
4 - The Wiltshire figure for 2001 is 432973 for the county plus 180061 for Swindon Borough Council
the Wiltshire figure has been divided by 100 to bring it into scale.
©Colin Younger 2003&2007