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Could you be descended from a Shagger?

Shocking revelations from the UK 1901 census

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It's good to see that the UK's 1901 census site is finally up and running after its considerable teething problems. True, it's still in test mode, but there is already a wealth of fascinating information to be gleaned from this online resource.

Among the insights visitors can gain is that our Victorian ancestors - contrary to popular belief - were not an exclusively dour bunch committed to covering provocative sideboard legs and sending small children up chimneys. Far from it, as some of the census entries prove.

Indeed, at a time when giving a false statement to a census officer would at best result in transportation to the Antipodes, and at worst have the miscreant dancing the Tyburn jig, we can only admire commercial book keeper Alexander Penis, of Liverpool, Fanny Clam of - where else - Huddersfield, and August Wanker from Hanover in Germany, then resident in Clerkenwell. And who can fail to admire the wag from Suffolk who decided that Letitia Bollocks should be recorded for posterity?

For the record, here is further evidence that the spirit of Carry On was alive and well in Blighty long before Sid James et al took up the standard:

  • Arthur Arse (London)

  • Margaret Piss (Middlesex)

  • Valentine Fart (London)

  • Elizabeth Shag (Lancaster)

  • Benjamine Bottom (Sheffield)

  • Harriett Shite (East Sussex)

  • Minnie Shafter (Kingston Upon Hull)

  • Willie Cock (London)

  • Annie Fanny (Lincoln)

  • Wilfred Minge (Sark)

  • Rose Shitter (Hampshire)

  • Ivy Crapper (London)

  • Alice Turd (Southampton)

  • William Poop (Sussex)

  • Samuel Pants (London)

  • Moses Winkle (Staffordshire)

  • Daisy Shatter (Isle of Wight)

It's possible, of course, that some of these names may be genuine. If so, we apologise for any offence we may have caused to Britain's Shafters and Minges. ®

Bootnote

Thanks to reader DP for alerting us to this merriment. Readers are invited to imagine what exactly those initials might represent.

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