The 1881 Census

The population increased from 1,095 to 1,564, an extra 469, exactly the same increase as in the previous census (by 42.8%). The college of St. Saviour is again included in the census with all the pupils and is only one less at 388 that of the previous census. Deducting the college numbers we are left with 1,174, of which 297 can be attributed to the construction of the railway branch line through Ardingly to Horsted Keynes and the building of a station. This branch line of the L.B.S.C. railway directly imports 142 construction workers. The indigenous village population increased by 171. The railway influx were housed in railway Huts in various locations along the line. There were more railway huts at Horsted Keynes. The total railway population is 297 in these various huts, of which there is no trace not even on any of the Ordnance Survey maps of the time. Of these 142 working directly on the railway they had their families with them of which 81 are under the age of 13 and those described as scholars would have gone to the village national School.

With both the railway construction and St. Saviour’s college some villagers would have been employed by either. Only five on the railway were originally from the village and twelve from the rest of Sussex and the rest from 26 British Counties. No one of Irish origins are recorded. The college too employs few from the village, in fact only one and 13 from the rest of Sussex. The staff are from all over Britain. Of the scholars only 8 are from Sussex, the rest from Britain and 17 from India and some from Japan, Australia, Hong Kong and Switzerland.

The number of children of children under the age of 13 including the railway children is now 369.

Families seem to be larger with 45 families having four or more children. In line with the rest of the country agricultural employment is down to only 53 of which 10 are farmers, 32 labourers, 8 farm bailiffs, one cowman and a seed merchant. Quite a significant decrease from the 153 of 1871. Better farming methods are in use with up to date machinery. Fresh food would no doubt be supplied to the college and the railway, and to the markets. There is more employment in local houses for gardeners, now 14 in number. The building industry of 44 includes 13 carpenters, 21 bricklayers, 2 clerks of work and 7 smiths. More local houses were being built and the firms of Munnion, Holman were in embryo beginnings as well as the more established Box and Turner. Wakehurst Place kept repair workers going.

The Greyhound Inn and the Oak Beer House in Street Lane would be doing a roaring trade with the railway workers who frequented both. There was a permanent Post Office and eight people are involved in the two grocers and drapers. The village boasts its own police constable. Only two carters are listed.

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