This interesting column was actually found in The Nottinghamshire Free Press dated 24th March 1933. The introduction explains reason behind this timely republication of an original article extracted from the Midland Gazette dated 22nd April 1871. Research can likely be attributed to contributions made by Mr G G Bonser.
In view of the proposals that have formulated to increase the size of Sutton's boundaries, and consequently bring the population to well above the present numbers, the following extracts from the "Midland Gazette" of April 22nd, 1871, in relation to Sutton and the population of those and earlier days, will be read with considerable interest:
The taking of the census is a matter of considerable importance to every town and village in the land, as it is then alone that any true and reliable opinion can be formed as to the material growth and advancement of a district, and it is then that it may be seen whether the prospects of further improvement are satisfactory or otherwise. Before going into details of the census which is now complete, it may not be uninteresting to our readers if we go back a few score years, and see the meagre and scanty population from which we have risen to our present by no means inconsiderable proportions.
We are indebted for some of our facts to a now very rare history of Sutton which was printed at our office in 1837, by the present Dr. S.T. Hall. It would appear that Sutton was an unimportant agricultural village consisting of but two or three streets, Church Street, Forest Street and Upper Green being the principal, with a few scattered farmhouses and labourers' cottages standing here and there amongst the fields. Several houses bear date of about the time of the restoration of Charles II., 1162, 1665 and thereabouts, and there is every reason to believe that a gradual increase in the population commenced at that time.
The first cotton mill was erected by Messrs. Unwin about the year 1760, near the present Sutton works. ... The introduction of this branch of industry raised the population very considerably, and a great number of houses which still belong to the Unwin family were no doubt built about this time. In the beginning of the eighteenth century there were only 95 families in Sutton, whilst in 1793 the population as taken by Sir Richard Sutton, from door to door, was, including Hucknall, 3,402.
At the parliamentary census in 1801, which was however considered to be ill-performed, Sutton was said to have 2,801 inhabitants, and Hucknall 510, making 3,311. In 1811 Sutton had 3,386 and Hucknall 608, making together 3,994. In 1821 Sutton had 3,943 and Hucknall 712, making 4,655. In 1831 Sutton had 4,805 and Hucknall 929, making together 5,734. In 1841 Sutton had 5,676 and Hucknall 897, making 6,563. The returns for 1851 we are unable to obtain, but it is evident that the rate of increase was tolerably constant, as we find that in 1861 there were in Sutton 1357 occupied houses, with 6,490 inhabitants; in Hucknall 244 occupied houses with 1,160 inhabitants.
During the past ten years, and especially the latter three of that term, the opening up of new colliery districts has given considerable impetus to the increase of population. An entirely new suburb has sprung up at Stanton Hill in and about Reform Street, in Bull Field, at New Cross, Smedley's End and many other parts of the town. The result of this may be seen in the present returns, which have been carefully verified, and may be taken as accurate. There are in Sutton 1634 separate families inhabiting 1,543 houses, 3,862 males and 3,719 females, thus making a total of 7,581 souls. In Hucknall the families are 350 in number, occupying 313 houses, 859 males, and 728 females, total 1,857. In Skegby the families are 280, dwelling in 246 houses, 753 males and 629 females, total 1,382.
There is a very considerable proportion of old people throughout the district. A careful examination of the returns shows that we have 101 men and 71 women who are between 70 and 80 years of age; 15 men and 11 women who have still further passed the allotted span, and have reached their eightieth birthday, and one venerable patriarch, an old man in Forest Side who has reached the ripe age of 92. For more ready reference we append the results in a tabular form.
Sutton and Hucknall
1793 ............. 3942
1801 ............. 3311
1811 ............. 3924
1821 ............. 4655
1831 ............. 4534
1841 ............. 6563
1861 ............. 7650
1871 ............. 9128
Comparative Return of Inhabited
Houses and Population 1861-1871
Inhabited Houses Population
1871 1543 7581
1861 1357 6490
Increase 186 1091
Inhabited Houses Population
1871 313 1547
1861 244 1160
Increase 69 417