Neal relations at Cuckoos Cup, The Wrekin

The 1939 Bush Houses bulletin A dwindling, but similar, population

Having coughed up for a Findmypast annual sub to access the 1939 Register details {4}, it is time for Cutlock & Co to do its usual job, as per earlier censuses, transcribing the whole information for Bush Houses {see notes 1, 2}.

The Cutlock Transcription

Information on all households is shown on the Bush Houses 1939 spreadsheet, and here’s a pdf version, for those who don’t like spreadsheets. Out of 281 entries (individuals) a hundred were ‘locked’ (unavailable to view) when first processed – another 22 are open at November 2016.

The focus below is on the families descended from the Somerset Osbornes. Relationships aren’t explicitly recorded on this register – birth records may have been checked but compiling this list includes some assumptions.

  • Number 8. Amelia Harwood, widow nee Osborne (daughter of Levi). Children William, Stanley, Elizabeth.
  • Number 11 (update). John V Davies and wife Elizabeth Ann nee Osborne (daughter of Ernest). Children Hilda, Gwen, John, Marian, 1 closed.
  • Number 15. David Roberts and wife Louisa, nee Gregory (daughter of Rosina Osborne). With David J, Albert and 3 closed records.
  • Number 21. Charles Osborne, widower, likely Levi’s son.
  • Number 25. Elizabeth Anne Osborne, nee Davies. Widow of George Osborne (born 1883 Durham, died 1931 Rhondda). Children May, Lilian.
  • Number 32. William Osborne (son of Levi), wife Sarah nee Jenkins. Children Elizabeth, Brinley L, 4 closed records.
  • Number 39. William Maclean and wife Mabel nee Osborne (daughter of Levi). Daughters Evelyn, Olive, plus 4 closed.
  • Number 40. Albert J Gregory (son of Rosina Osborne) and wife Sophia nee Picton. With Albert ‘in the chair’, Iris, Beryl, Eunice, Emrys Gregory, Emrys Picton plus 3 closed.
  • Number 43. William R Gregory (son of Rosina Osborne) with Naomi nee Herbert. Children Albert, William, Vivian, Patricia and 5 closed records. William is noted as “Captain, Colliery Fire Brigade”.
  • Number 44. Robert Osborne and wife Bella nee Davies. Children Ivor, Idwal, 2 closed records.

There are Pictons at no. 49 (related to Sophia at 40), Herberts at no. 9 (related to Naomi at 43).

It is interesting to see how these families are also present in Bush Houses in the previous censuses – see note 1 links. Others, such as my own direct line, gradually moved out, often to the other (newer) side of Clydach Vale.

Maybe 1920s?
View of Bush Houses, perhaps 1920s.

The Stats

Most noticeable is the difference in numbers living in the dwellings. At 1911, the 50 addresses held 399 individuals with 164 adults (over 18), but at 1939 the total is only 281. As there are 100 78 locked records (of people who could still be alive), the age profile isn’t complete {3}, but further analysis shows that the number of adults remains about the same. In other words, fewer children in a family on average.

There appears to be fewer properties with multiple families – not actually counted yet – and several with only a couple of occupants. The average per house goes from 8 people in 1911 to under 6 in 1939.


  1. There are other Cutlock & Co articles about Bush Houses. In particular, A snapshot of Bush Houses in 1911 looks at who is in the properties at the April 1911 census, while A community in the Bush has Osborne connections across 1881, 1891 and 1901 censuses.
  2. At the moment, Occupations have not been transcribed. Mainly colliery workers, unpaid domestic duties or ‘at school’!
  3. Locked records may be unlocked if Findmypast is given proof that an individual is no longer alive. The info here was extracted June 2016, updated November 2016.
  4. The 1939 Register was taken on 29th September of that year. Evacuation of children and pregnant women started 1st Sept, so some people may have already moved. More likely impact for Bush Houses or the Rhondda generally would be incomers? The register went on to become the basis of NHS/national insurance records, and was added to until computerisation in 1991. More about the 1939 register on Findmypast.
  5. Pitching for a job also relies on the 1939 register for its two stories.



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2 responses to “The 1939 Bush Houses bulletin A dwindling, but similar, population

  1. ken howley avatar
    ken howley

    The Bush Houses 1939 census records appear to be incomplete. My mother Lilian May Latcham born 1925 lived at no 7 and my dad Haydn Charles Howley lived at no 24. Both are missing!

    1. Cutlock & Co avatar

      The 1939 census records as available online are generally not complete – only those people who FindMyPast is reasonably certain are no longer alive will show. See note 3 above, and FMP’s own explanation, which I think is in the link in note 4. There are 2 locked records at number 7 and also 2 at no. 24, which no doubt include your parents.

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