Newly-released 1911 UK census shows the past was a foreign country

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The saying goes that the past is a foreign country - and newly-released details from the 1911 census of British life shows how true that expression is.

Personal information from the census, which has been put online for the first time, paints a picture of a society that is in many ways, unrecognisable from modern Britain.

People did different jobs, lived considerably shorter lives and existed in a society that was vastly less equitable, according to 1911 Census - the oldest from which the original forms were kept.

The contrast in the lives people led then to those that most of us live today are highlighted in a number of personal entries made by the ancestors of some of today's most famous Britons, which have been made public for the first time.

Their occupations could come from a Dickens novel: Kate Moss's great-grandmother was a 'mantle-maker' of fashionable cloaks; David Beckham's great-great grandfather was a 'scavenger'; while Amy Winehouse's great-great grandfather was a 'hawker' selling goods from door-to-door.

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