A snapshot of Bush Houses in 1911

The database of the 1911 census (England) on Ancestry, for England and Wales, is currently (June 2011) in a rather frustrating half-way state. The images of the individual records are online, organised by the original Enumeration District. However the information on the records hasn’t yet been transcribed and indexed, so you can’t directly search them by name (or by anything else). The census summary books, where the local census collector tallied up the records for each area, ARE indexed but they generally only give the surname of head of household, and don’t directly connect to the individual images. If you already know where a family is likely to be, you have a chance of finding them, although the precise ‘Civil Parish’ each Enumeration District is grouped into can be less than obvious (particularly in Wales?).

The Cutlock Transcription

One thing that the 1911 images on Ancestry are useful for though, due to the original enumeration sequence, is exploring a particular place at the time of the 1911 census, on 2nd April {1}. Bush Houses in Cwmclydach (Tonypandy) is one such place worth exploring. I already had five Osborne related households known to be living here in 1911 {2}, but with 50 terraced properties in total, and many containing two families, there were certainly going to be more who’d moved from Somerset like the Osbornes, and possibly some more direct connections.

Bush Houses, rear centre/right

So I’ve downloaded the forms and transcribed the data  for the 71 households, which can be seen in this BushHouses in 1911 census spreadsheet.

A few statistics

– 95 Welsh speakers, out of 399 people (but some are youngsters not shown as speaking either Welsh or English). Nobody is shown as only speaking Welsh (although I have a nagging doubt that I might have missed one).

– Average of 8 people per house. Most houses are shown to have 5 rooms, which excludes “scullery, landing, lobby, closet, bathroom” if the person completing the form had followed instructions.

– Counting all those up to and including age 18 years as children, there are 164 adults, 235 children.

There aren’t as many other families from Somerset as I expected – villages include Glastonbury, Meare and Carlingcott, as well as Bath. One adult is from Germany (Abram Glass), while in a family where the father isn’t present (but the mother is shown as married) two children were born in Wilkesbarre, USA {4}. Was Dad still overseas trying to earn money, or perhaps due to the strike had gone off to find other work?

What the census doesn’t say

When you stop to think for  a moment, what stands out from these records is that there isn’t any indication that the census was taken while the Tonypandy coal miners strike, started November 1910, was still in full swing. Just one or two forms clearly state that the employer is Cambrian Colliery Combine, the focus of the dispute.

Most of these families would have been suffering greater hardships than usual from lack of money. See Tonypandy Riots page for a little more.

Osborne connections

The Osborne families in Bush Houses in 1911.

Already known:

  • Number 9 Ernest Osborne and Gwenllian (nee Herbert), plus young daughter Elizabeth Ann.
  • Number 10 Matthew Picton and Sarah (nee Thomas), with 6 children including Sophia, who marries a Gregory child (see no. 12)
  • Number 11 Levi Osborne and Elizabeth (nee Larkham), plus 3 children and niece Maud Pearce.
  • Number 12 Albert Gregory and Rose (nee Osborne), with 7 children.
  • Number 50 Richard Herbert (also known as Parry) and Eliza Ann, plus 3 children including Naomi, who marries a Gregory. Also see No. 21 below.

Newly discovered at Bush Houses:

  • Number 16 William Harwood and Amelia (nee Osborne), 1 baby boy.
  • Number 17 Probably the couple showing in the marriage records for 1910 as Bert James and Lizzie Osborne – Albert and Elizabeth.
  • Number 17 Edward Sheldon and Matilda (Osborne), plus 3 children, including Albert who marries Ivy May Picton from Number 10 (the interconnectedness of Tonypandy Osbornes).
  • UPDATE: at Number 5 William and Elizabeth Ann Lewis – the latter is probably Elizabeth Ann Osborne, daughter of George and Elizabeth.
  • UPDATE: at Number 7, son John Parsons age 5 is a good fit for the husband of Elizabeth Sheldon (m 1927) from no. 17.
  • UPDATE: at number 21, Margaret Ann Williams seems to be on her second marriage after death of first hubbie George W Bush (!), and is a daughter of Richard Herbert at No. 50. The family emigrates to Ohio in 1912.


1. The 1911 census records on Find My Past , which had access to the sources first, are not arranged in this way. While you can search by address, getting all of them in one or two hits depends on the transcription being consistent, assuming that the individual householders had all written the address in a consistent fashion back in 1911. The latter is highly unlikely for Bush Houses (the location may be given as Blaenclydach, Cwmclydach or just Clydach, for instance), and the clarity of writing varies from excellent to terrible.

2. Thanks to a previous subscription to the 1911 census on FindMyPast.

3. If you want to find these records on Ancestry, they are at Wales > Glamorgan county > Rhondda civil parish > Rhondda sub-district > Enumeration district 42 > images 488 to 629.

4. (Added Nov.’12) As Wilkes-Barre now features large in the family tree due to members of the Griffiths family emigrating there (also see Staying together in Wilkes-Barre), here’s info on the Wilkes-Barre offspring: Rachel and Thomas Weston born about 1891/1889. Parents John and Martha (nee Davies), married 1880 Merthyr Tydfil.

Also See

There are other Cutlock & Co articles about Bush Houses. Comments welcome on any of them.

20 thoughts on “A snapshot of Bush Houses in 1911

  1. After posting my info. it came into my mind that Eva Brookstone was of Jewish nationality but I was unaware you had covered this aspect elsewhere on the web-site. In the 1980s I fitted the home of Eva and Harold’s son with carpet at Pontyclun near Llantrisant. I do not know the son’s forename but the property in which he lived was expensive and brand new, very slightly set back from left of the main road passing through Pontyclun as one proceeds in that direction from Llantrisant.

  2. The only offspring of Eva and Harold that I have recorded is John Lofthouse, born 1942. I’ve got a few notes on his probable marriage and children but I ought to check this properly first. Eva and Harold may well have had other children – there’s probably something in my mum’s notes but I don’t have easy access to those.

    I’ll drop a line to your email address Bill, so you have my direct contact details (no compulsion to reply!).

  3. Hi there. I am Rosina Osborne’s great great grandson.

    I seems I am a mishmash product of the Bush families! Fascinating to read what you have found.

    The ‘Gregory child’ who Sophia Picton married is Albert James Gregory (junior), one of Albert and Rosina’s sons.

    My grandfather is Roy ‘Royston’ Gregory – born in the Bush houses. He is one of Albert and Sophia’s children. He is alive and well. He remembers sitting on his father’s shoulder lighting the oil lamps at night at the Bush houses and around Clydach vale.

  4. Hallo Stephen, third cousin (once removed)

    I do love hearing from ‘new’ relatives via this site. Your grandfather would be a second cousin to my mother, who sadly died last year.

    I’ll send you a quick email so you have my direct contact, if you want it.

  5. Hi.

    I am Sophie Gregory.
    Daughter of David Gregory
    Who is the third son of John and Beryl Gregory
    John was the son of Albert and Sophia Gregory (who I was named after)

    Stephen I am your third cousin I believe.

    Still living in Clydach over looking the bush houses and my Gran (Beryl) lives two door away!

    Just so you know my Great Gran Sophia was 20 when she married my Great Grandfather not 10!

  6. Hi Sophie
    Good to hear from you. I’m the one who is a third cousin – of your father. Stephen, who posted here back in November, would be your second cousin, I reckon.
    I’ll drop you a quick further note to your email address.

  7. My Russells who lived in Tonypandy also came from Somerset – Bath moslty. Was there soe sort of agancy sending them to this particular piece of Wales?

  8. I have just been looking at the 1901 census, and my Grand father was living at 36 bush houses, with his father, mother, uncles and Grand father, his Grand father was from cornwall, I presume from the Tin mines as he was working in the coal mines in 1901

    1. Evan J Moyle, one of the sons at 36 Bush in 1901, is at 21 Bush at 1911, with wife and 4 children. See the spreadsheet link just under the photo. And in 1891, 2 Moyle families at Number 23.

  9. My Grampy, Griffith Thomas James lived at 9 Bush Houses, he was 1 in 1901.He was put in an orphanage at some time,but then came to Brixham in 1914, to go fishing.

    1. Hi Lynda, thanks for your comment. I found a Griffith James of the right age in ‘Cottage Homes’. 11 Romilly Crescent, Cardiff in the 1911 census. The form says born Cardiff, but as all ‘inmates’ say the same I doubt they checked. Could this be your grampy?

  10. I would like to find out about my family from years ago. My father was Royston Thomas Price. He lived in the Bush houses. He was one of thirteen children.

  11. Hi,
    My wife’s great grandfather was Benjamin Wilson who sadly died in a mining
    accident in the Cambrian Colliery on Monday 24th June 1912. He left a wife Sarah
    and two young children, Thomas 5 and Ethel Mary 3.
    They lived at 34 Court Street Tonypandy.I am wondering if anybody can shed
    any more light on this family
    Neil Rolfe

  12. According to 1911 census, my late Nan, nee Florence Grainger lived there with older Sister Jane and younger Sister Elizabeth but no parents are mentioned. They were originally from Bridgnorth, Shropshire but Jane was born in Bristol and no mention of where the other 2 were born so I think they came down for the mines. Any other info would be appreciated as have drawn a blank on later occurrences.

    1. Hi Mark
      Thanks for the comment. Have you seen the actual census form, available on Ancestry and other genealogy sites? Four other people appear on it, but have been crossed out. At Bush Houses, this occurs several times when there are 2 (or more) families lodging in one house. Clearly not the case here, as the 4 appear to be (Jane, Florrie and Elizabeth’s) parents William (40) and Ann (42), their married daughter Ann (22), and son William Robert (20). All are marked as having been born in Bristol, but if Jane (age 15) actually filled in the form, perhaps she was guessing.

      I’ll see if I can find anything else of interest on Ancestry.

    2. On checking Ancestry, I wonder whether you have the right Florrie Grainger/Granger, or where the Bridgnorth connection comes from. She can be found, along with parents and siblings, in Llanwonno in 1901. Father William is from Wiltshire, mother Annie from Bristol. They married 1888 Bristol, fathers of each: Robert Granger, Edwin Lucas. William and Robert can be found earlier (1871) in Tytherton/Bremhill, Wiltshire, and Annie and Edwin in Bristol.

      Is that any help?

  13. Hello,

    I am Simon Honeyfield, second son of Gerald Honwyfield, oldest son of Wyndham Edmund Honeyfield (recorded as Hyndham on your 1939 spreadsheet).

  14. My mum Winifred Thomas was born at no.5 Bush Houses in 1917 daughter of James and Frances May Thomas. Have you got any more information regarding James Thomas who was killed in a mining accident. Many thanks

    1. Hi Mel
      Thanks for posting. Have you looked at the ‘1939 Bush Houses bulletin‘ page on Cutlock? From the downloadable spreadheet, or pdf, on there you can see that James and Frances are at number 5 (shows dates of birth) at that time. A further record at No.5 has been opened since writing the piece in 2016, for a Winifred Bromes (?), widow, later Powell, who I presume is your mum.

      I’m afraid I don’t have any other info about James.


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