1931 – The ‘wireless’

In 1931, public broadcasts via the medium of the new-fangled ‘wireless’ were used to publicise the census. The importance of using the press in the 1921 Census to explain the purpose of the census had been recognised, but the development of radio broadcasting made it possible to give out, orally and nationally, a wide range of information.

The BBC arranged six weekly talks entitled ‘Numbering the people’ prior to Census Day on 26 April. The series concluded with a broadcast on census night which gave advice about how to fill in the census form. Without doubt, they played a valuable part in educating the public and encouraging them to participate.

With the co-operation of the education department and local education authorities and teachers, arrangements were also made for giving lessons on the census in schools in 1931.

The 2011 Census continues the tradition of using media, some 80 years since the public broadcasts started. Today we are writing blogs, creating public assistance websites and will be advertising our census via television and YouTube. You will of course also still hear us promoting Scotland’s Census on the ‘wireless’.

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