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The media - and anyone who tried to access the 1901 Census Web site in January 2002 - is to blame for the site going titsup for nine months.

That's according to a report by the National Audit Office (NAO) which found that the Public Record Office (PRO) had only planned a "low key" launch of the site. Unfortunately, "press coverage" led to "overwhelming" demand, which swamped the site.

Publishing its report into 1901 Census site farce, the NAO said: "The Public Record Office had planned a low key launch for the website which provides online access to the results of the 1901 census.

"However, press coverage on the day the website was launched was more extensive than expected and resulted in overwhelming demand.

"By noon on the launch day, 2 January 2002, 1.2 million users an hour were attempting to access the site, which had been designed to cope with a peak of 1.2 million users in a 24 hour period," it said.

The site - which provides details of the 1901 census in England and Wales - was pulled on January 7 2002. It finally began providing unrestricted access in November 2002. ®

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