HC Deb 13 May 1999 vol 331 cc191-2W
Sir Brian Mawhinney

: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what are (a) the storage space occupied by the enumerators' books for the post-1920 decennial censuses for Scotland and (b) the estimated costs of micro-filming each of these census records. [83772]

Mr. McLeish

[holding answer 10 May 1999]: (a) The census returns for Scotland which remain closed to the public occupy approximately the following amounts of shelving in secure storage belonging to the Registrar General for Scotland.

Linear metres
1901 Census 776 volumes 18.3
1911 Census 1,225 volumes 38.3
1921 Census 1,720 volumes 39.2
1931 Census 1,175 volumes 34.8
1939 National Registration1 2,087 volumes 91.0
1951 Census 3,720 binders 247.1
1961 Census 10,800 binders 591.1
1966 Sample Census 3,528 binders 146.2
1971 Census 19,279 boxes 1,290.2
1981 Census 19,150 boxes 1,666.1
1991 Census 12,852 boxes 1,863.5
All closed censuses 6,025.8
1No census of the population of Scotland was taken in 1941. Instead, shortly after the outbreak of World War II in September 1939, the Registrar General undertook 'national registration', which amounted to a census of the population for the purposes of conscription and the rationing of food etc. The original paper volumes remain in the ownership of the Registrar General and are treated essentially as if they were closed census returns.

(b) No estimates are available of the costs of either photographic microfilming or digital imaging of these closed records. Since closure is for 100 years it is likely that, with changing technologies, such estimates would be out of date before the need to release the records to the public made their imaging necessary. A pilot exercise has however begun to provide information about the most appropriate methods, and the costs, of imaging the 1901 closed census returns. This set of census returns is due for release to the public on 1 January 2002.

From 1 July 1999 this will be a matter for the Scottish Parliament.

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