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The University of Southampton
Economic, Social and Political SciencesPostgraduate study

Mr Tom Heritage BA (Hons), MA (by Research)

Postgraduate Research Student

Mr Tom Heritage's photo

I am a Postgraduate Research Student within Social Statistics and Demography. My research centres on historical demography and economic and social history. I am investigating the elderly population of England and Wales, 1851-1911, using digitised versions of the raw census enumerators’ books (CEBs) transcribed by the recently completed Integrated Census Microdata project (ICeM).

I come from a Humanities background, having completed a BA (Hons) and an MA by Research in History at the University of Hertfordshire. It was during my MA that I developed my interests in historical demography. As a result, I enrolled at the University of Southampton to pursue a PhD under the Department of Social Statistics and Demography in 2015. I am indebted to the ESRC-DTC for funding a +3 studentship.

Research interests

My PhD research is a comprehensive analysis of the elderly population in England and Wales as recorded through digitised versions of raw census enumerators’ books (CEBs) from the period 1851-1911.The CEBs are an important demographic source from the Victorian and Edwardian period; the 100% coverage provided by ICeM datasets enables a greater understanding of the elderly population in the past. My study uses a comparative analysis of five selected counties of England and Wales to investigate regional changes in the elderly’s population size, their labour force participation rates and retirement patterns, the proportions in poverty and their familial relationships and living arrangements.

The elderly’s dependency on family and the state has been overemphasised in past literature. The 100% coverage of raw CEB data means that the proportions that worked or voluntarily retired in old age can be compared with those that were dependent under the state, namely that of the New Poor Law in a time before the modern welfare state. Another objective, through their population size, is to argue that the elderly had a greater presence before the ‘ageing boom’ than previously thought and the implications of this on poverty and labour force patterns. 

I hold general interests in a mix of historical demography, local/regional history and economic and social history c. 1500-1900, especially on population, ageing, poverty and welfare in nineteenth-century England and Wales.

Affiliated research groups:
I am a member of the Southampton Centre for Nineteenth-Century Research (SCNR), an interdisciplinary network of researchers from several faculties across the university.
I am also a member of the following societies: British Society for Population Studies (BSPS); Economic History Society (EHS) and the Local Population Studies Society (LPSS).


MPhil/PhD Research:
Title: ‘The Elderly Populations of England and Wales, 1851-1911: A Comparative Study of Selected Counties’ 


Supervisors: Dr Andrew Hinde and Dr David Clifford (Department of Social Statistics and Demography) 


Funding: Economic and Social Research Council-Doctoral Training Centre (ESRC-DTC) +3 Studentship







Student Ambassador of the Economic History Society (EHS), since August 2016.
Semester 2, 2015-2016: DEMO2013 (Tutor) Semester 1, 2016-2017 DEMO1001 (Tutor and Demonstrator)
Mr Tom Heritage
Reception Building 58 University of Southampton Southampton SO17 1BJ United Kingdom

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