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Population Comparisons

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.
Year Wiltshire Burbage G Bedwyn Grafton Pewsey Ramsbury
1801 185107 1008 1632 1179 1963
1811 193828 1024 1852 1209 2095
1821 222157 1195 1928 1337 2335
1831 240156 1448 2191 1588 2290
1841 258733 1445 2178 1825 2552
1851 254221 1492 2193 1921 2696
1861 249311 1603 2263 2027 2533
1871 257177 1544 2068 1930 2480
1881 258965 1317 1834 1895 2329
1891 264997 1213 1627 1781 2164
1901 271394 1136 877 663 1722 1779
1911 286822 1117 880 684 1731 1784
1921 292208 1073 824 611 1692 1504
1931 303373 1057 789 572 1574 1575
1951 386692 989 847 564 2351 1466
1961 422950 999 849 556 2542 1468
1971 486747 1042 913 547 2647 1390
1981 518545 1319 974 583 2579 1557
1991 564471 1434 1093 603 2831 1877
2001 613034 1660 1347 604 3237 1969
Source - Census returns
NOTES:
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

Population
Population
NOTE:
the Wiltshire figure has been divided by 100 to bring it into scale.

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©Colin Younger 2003&2007