LV50 Crew Demographics (Census 1881 – 1911)

A census in the UK is a count of all people and households. Every ten years since 1801 the nation has set aside one day for the census – a count of all people and households. It is the most complete source of information about the population that we have. The latest census was held on Sunday 27 March 2011, another one will be held in 2021.

Records of the census returns for lightship crews can be found on:

From research done by The Friends of LV50 we have a good idea where she was on on the census dates. Therefore we can tell the names of the crew who was on board then.

1879 – Built and placed on Seven Stones

1881 Census Seven Stones

1883 – Removed to London for repairs and overhaul and placed back on Seven Stones

1887 – Back in for repairs, becomes London Spare then return to SS?

1891 Census Seven Stones?

The return of LV50 to Seven Stones before the 1891 census (April) is not documented. However the crew list is similar to that of 1881 so it is likely she was there for the census

1891 – Placed on Shambles, after census?

1893 – Brought in for repairs and overhaul and placed back on Shambles

1900 – Brought in for repairs (and probably paced back on Shambles)

1901 Census Shambles?

1909 – Placed on Outer Gabbard

1911 Census Outer Gabbard

Extensive genealogical research has been carried out by the friends using the latest (1911) census returns. This has given us a much deeper understanding of the crew and their families. Click HERE to see the results.


CREW AGES Crews generally 7 men 24 – 61 yrs old. The master and mate were generally older men.
1 Master/Mate 49 – 61 yrs old
2 Lamplighters 29 – 44 yrs old
2 Fog Signal Drivers 24 – 43 yrs old
2 Able Seamen 24 – 51 yrs old

USUALLY MARRIED Nearly all married men, work on the 1911 Census shows they usually had children. The families usually liven close to the shore base of the vessel.

WHERE THEY LIVED The Crew were generally fairly local, especially in early years. Master/Mate could be from further away. Crew perhaps less local after 1891. By 1901, on Shambles, she has more non local crew, perhaps just moved from being repaired in London.