Findmypast and The National Archives unveil 1921 Census of England and Wales

Findmypast and The National Archives have published the highly anticipated 1921 Census of England and Wales online today, as the 100-year rule, which ensures records are closed to the public for 100 years, has ended.

After three years of intensive conservation and digitisation and with the help and support of the Office for National Statistics, the Census is now available to search and explore online, at

Taken on June 19th 1921, the Census saw over 38,000 enumerators dispatched to every corner of England of Wales to capture the details of more than 38 million people. This included over 8.5 million households as well as all manner of public and private institutions ranging from prisons and military bases to public schools and workhouses.

Offering more detail than any previous census, the 1921 Census of England and Wales not only asked individuals about their age, birth place, occupation and residence, but also their place of work, employer details, and gave ‘divorced’ as an option for marital status for the first time.

Falling between the two world wars, the record paints a disparate picture of England and Wales, from the Royal household to the average working-class citizen, still reeling from the impact of WW1, a major housing crisis, the Spanish flu pandemic, ravaged economy and industrial turmoil.

The publication of these documents mark the last significant census release for England and Wales in many people’s lifetime as the 1931 Census was destroyed in a fire and the 1941 Census was never captured due to the Second World War. This means the next census will not be available until 2052.

The 1921 Census demonstrates the rapid social and cultural change the country was undergoing, with the changing role of women and the impact of WW1 proving particularly apparent.

Owing to the vast number of men who fell in the war, the Census reveals there were 1,096 women for every 1,000 men recorded, with this discrepancy being the biggest for those aged between 20 and 45. This means there were over 1.7 million more women than men in England and Wales, the largest difference ever seen in a census.

There was also a dramatic increase in the number of people recorded in hospitals with a 35% increase from 1911, three quarters of whom were men, many presumably suffering from wounds received in the war.

As a result of the number of men killed or left permanently disabled, the 1921 Census also saw many more women stepping into employment, with an increase in the number of women working as engineers, vets, barristers, architects and solicitors.

From the famous to the infamous, the documents also provide a vivid snapshot of the lives of prominent individuals alive at that time, including cultural icons such as Lord of the Rings writer – J.R.R. Tolkien, Famous Five author – Enid Blyton, Peter Rabbit writer – Beatrix Potter, Winnie the Pooh author – A.A. Milne and the creator of Sherlock Holmes, Arthur Conan Doyle.

In Scotland, National Records of Scotland takes responsibility for historical census data. NRS will be releasing their indexed images of 1921 Census returns for Scotland in the latter half of 2022. Ireland and Northern Ireland also conducted their own censuses separate from England and Wales. However, The 1921 Census was not taken in Ireland due to the Irish War of Independence. Censuses in Ireland and Northern Ireland were conducted in 1926.

Tamsin Todd, CEO of Findmypast said: “Taken between two world wars, following a global flu pandemic, during a period of economic turmoil and migration, with social change at home as women won the right to vote, the 1921 Census documents a moment in time that will resonate with people living today.

“It has been a great honour for Findmypast to work with The National Archives as its selected partner to digitise and transcribe the 1921 Census. I am incredibly proud of our Findmypast team who have worked with passion and dedication to conserve, scan, and transcribe 38 million historical records. Our advanced search technology enables family historians to easily find and view images of the 1921 Census, and connect individual records into their family trees. Family historians around the world can now meaningfully search the Census to reveal where and how their ancestors lived and worked 100 years ago.”

Part of the DC Thomson group, Findmypast is a fast-growing, technology-driven subscription service. With a bank of billions of digitised records, and access to some of the world’s most renowned historical databases, Findmypast allows customers to connect to people, both past and present, and visualise their family story in more detail than ever before.

DC Thomson writers awarded for work highlighting violence and abuse against women

DC Thomson writers have been recognised by Zero Tolerance, the Scottish charity which promotes gender equality, and challenges attitudes that ‘normalise violence and abuse against women’.

Journalists from the Sunday Post, The Courier and The Press and Journal were named as winners in the 2021 Write to End Violence Against Women Awards, which the charity has run since 2013.

The awards reward journalists and writers in Scotland who ‘raise awareness of these issues in a responsible and sensitive way’. A total of eight awards were made for articles written over the last year, with four pieces being from DC Thomson titles.

The Press and Journal took two awards. First was for Karen Roberts’ article on the how domestic abuse charities were struggling to cope with rising demand as the Covid-19 crisis increased the risk to victims. In the same title, Alex Watson was recognised for her chillingly candid column about a sexual attack on herself.

Kirsty Strickland from The Courier won the award for her comment piece on how changes to universal credit and tax credits could put women in abusive relationships at risk.

Marion Scott and Craig McDonald at The Sunday Post also picked up an award for their report on how 7,000 domestic violence cases were ‘trapped in Scotland’s courts logjam’.

Organisers of the awards said: “Reporting on violence against women can play a vital role in increasing understanding of violence against women and gender inequality and challenging their place in our society”.

DC Thomson CEO Rebecca Miskin said: “Giving a voice to the unheard and taking people in power to account is vital. It’s what matters to our writers and places them directly at the heart of their communities. I’m exceptionally proud that our journalists are being recognised, not just for the standard of their work but in such an important subject.”

DC Thomson appoints Rebecca Miskin as its new CEO for media business

DC Thomson has today (7th December 2021) announced the appointment of Rebecca Miskin as CEO of its media portfolio as the 116-year-old company progresses its ambitious growth plans.

Rebecca joined DC Thomson as Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer in summer 2020 and has been instrumental in developing the plan to consolidate DC Thomson’s media entities and create a scalable media company powered by data, technology and talent.

In this newly created position, Rebecca will be overseeing the company’s entire media operation, bringing together brands including Beano Studios, Stylist and Puzzler for the first time, as well as communities in energy, local and national news, teaching, crafts, sport and radio.

Rebecca, who retains her DC Thomson group strategy role, has a strong track record of leading digital transformation at major media companies, having previously been digital strategy director at Hearst, general manager at NBC Universal and commercial director at Time Inc.

Christopher Thomson, Chairman of DC Thomson, said: “Rebecca’s appointment as CEO is a crucial part of our transformation strategy, which looks afresh at how we can inform, entertain and delight audiences now and in the future. She will be supported by an experienced leadership team drawn from across the group to create engaging content and experiences that truly connect with our audiences.

“As a board, we are investing in technology and talent to support this plan, which will make sure we have the right skills and experience across our media business to create the engine for growth.”

Rebecca said: “DC Thomson was founded on creativity and entrepreneurialism. As the company transforms to prepare itself for the future, it is my mission to nurture that spirit.

“Throughout DC Thomson’s history, its ability to continually recognise the wants and needs of audiences has created successful brands that have grown and evolved. Now more than ever, readers, listeners and viewers want to feel a togetherness that comes from shared experiences.

“To survive and grow, we have to do more than just attract customers, we need to create loyal and long-lasting communities and we will achieve that by investing in technology, data and talent.”

DC Thomson scoops five awards at Scottish PPA’s

DC Thomson scooped awards in five categories in this year’s Scottish PPA Awards.

The ceremony in Glasgow saw Beano win Media Brand of the Year as a result of “an impressive range of innovative brand extensions and activities which helped to deliver a great commercial performance”.

Consumer Publication of the Year went to 110% Gaming for its strong brand identity and understanding of target audience, with The Scots Magazine being highly commended for the same category and winning Social Influencer of the Year in recognition of its social media response to changes brought on by the pandemic.

Animal Planet collected the prize for Sustainability Initiative of the Year following collaboration with external organisations and charities, alongside impressive consideration towards both audience experience and environmental impact.

The People’s Friend’s podcast ‘Reading between the Lines’ won Podcast of the Year with judges describing the show as “charming, enthralling, fun and lively”. The category had no shortlist this year which created great suspense for nominees.

Maria Welch, Head of Magazine Publishing at DC Thomson Media, said: “I’m delighted with the results of this year’s PPA Scotland Awards which recognise such a range of achievements.

“The breadth of awards received from sustainability to social media influence, showcases the diversity of our portfolio and a commitment to honouring our much-loved brands while continuously moving forward. The recognition of our teams and their efforts throughout the past year is thoroughly deserved.”

See the full list of results alongside the judges’ comments here.

Pure Radio welcomes new presenters

Pure Radio, the station by Scots, for Scots, unveils a new look to weekday afternoons and evenings, as well as weekend mornings with new presenters joining the rapidly-expanding channel.  

Stuart McCully, well known to Aberdonians from his show on Original 106, has taken up residency in the weekday 4pm to 8pm slot. Meanwhile, Fraser Thomson joins Pure from the Greatest Hits Network and entertains listeners from 1pm to 4pm, Monday to Friday. Ross Turnbull, who has won fans from his stints filling in around the Pure schedule is given his own show in a new slot for the station; weekend mornings 7am to 10am.  

Having launched just under two years ago across central Scotland, the DC Thomson-owned station has taken the country by storm, recently expanding in August to Aberdeenshire.  

Robin Galloway, Group Head of Presentation and presenter of Pure’s weekday breakfast show, said: “While other stations are becoming more and more formulaic and radio-by-numbers, we’re keeping things fresh for our listeners. We’re proud to be doing things differently and that includes looking around Scotland for talent ready to be given the chance to properly shine.  

“With McCully, Fraser and Ross we’ve got some of the hardest working guys ever to have sat in front of a mic and each one of them has got the cheeky streak of irreverence that makes Pure what it is. 

“We make no secret of the fact that the music that we play has a heavy emphasis on home-grown artists like Gerry Cinnamon, Lewis Capaldi, Simple Minds, Eurythmics and Deacon Blue. It makes sense that we champion home-grown talent in the studio too and that’s why we’re so proud to be welcoming our new presenters to join the Pure family.” 

Stuart McCully’s show is weekdays 4pm to 8pm and Fraser Thomson can be heard weekday afternoons, 1pm-4pm, from the same day. Ross Turnbull’s weekend show is every Saturday and Sunday morning (7am-10am) from December 4.  

Tune into Pure Radio through the app, online at, or on smart speakers. 


Left to right: Stuart McCully, Fraser Thomson and Ross Turnbull.

Shaun Ritchie documentary receives overwhelming response

The Press and Journal’s documentary on the disappearance of Shaun Ritchie – Missing from The Broch: The Disappearance of Shaun Ritchie – has broken all records for engagement with almost 1,000 people signing up to watch it in the first 10 days alone.  

Shaun Ritchie, 20, vanished from Fraserburgh on October 31st, 2014, after travelling with friends in a van to a remote farm. A disturbance took place at the location leading the group to disperse. While his friends all returned safely, Shaun was never seen again, and his disappearance has been one of Police Scotland’s biggest ever missing persons investigations.      

The documentary sheds new light on the case, for the first time naming all of those who were present on that night and revealing that an axe attack allegedly took place on the same night at the same location. However, police say this was not linked to Shaun’s disappearance. Police still maintain that they do not believe any criminality was involved, but Shaun’s family have asked for a new team to investigate the case.    

Impact investigations reporter Sean O’Neil worked closely with a wider team on the documentary. They included Mhairi Edwards, Blair Dingwall, Gregor Aiken and Kenny Elrick who carried out direct filming. Clarke Cooper created graphics for the piece and audio producer Morven McIntyre provided voiceovers and sound support. Drew Farrell edited the documentary while story designer Cheryl Livingstone was responsible for the launch plan. The entire project took several months from the initial idea put forward by Sean, through to the launch.    

Sean O’Neil said: “Missing from The Broch: The Disappearance of Shaun Ritchie was several months in the making and thankfully it appears to have resonated with our audience. Shaun has been missing for seven years and our documentary was able to bring fresh information to public attention for the first time and hopefully can help get the answers his family so desperately want. 

“The documentary was a collaborative effort between Impact/Content Development and AV. I first pitched the idea in April having followed Shaun’s case for a number of years and started pre-interviews and on-camera interviews in May. Some, like Police Scotland, took four months from initial contact, chasing up, to them sitting down in front of camera.     

“That allowance for time, and the co-operation of Shaun’s friends and family, were the key elements to the documentary’s success and in bringing Shaun’s case to a new light.” 

Video trailers for the documentary went live on social media on the morning of Sunday 31st October making people aware it would go live at 8pm. The trailer over-performed by 15.5 times, while the social posts for the main documentary over-performed by 3.5 times. The 40-minute video has also had more than 3,500 plays since launch with engagement at record levels. Around half of people who watched made it to the 90% mark, which is extremely unusual of for a video of that length.    

Richard Prest, Head of Content Development, said: “This was a hugely important piece of work by the team to help a family shed light on the disappearance of their loved one, Shaun Ritchie. We chose to tell his story as a documentary as it was the best way to convey the impact on those involved as well as guiding our subscribers through the important, but complex, chain of events that led to his disappearance.   

“We can only hope that our work helps identify relevant information that brings some form of closure to his family”.   

Watch the documentary here.

DC Thomson Media shortlisted across eight categories at the PPA Scotland Awards

DC Thomson Media has been shortlisted 11 times across eight categories in this year’s Scottish PPA Awards.

The Scots Magazine has been shortlisted for the Consumer Publication of the Year award alongside the Event of the Year award for their Adventure is on Your Doorstep campaign.

Beano and 110% Gaming are also shortlisted for the Consumer Publication of the Year award, with Beano picking up a second nomination for Media Brand of the Year.

DC Thomson Media’s newest kids’ title, Animal Planet, has been shortlisted for Launch/Relaunch of the Year alongside the Scottish Caravans and Motorhomes Park Guide.

Platinum’s virtual event Platinum Live has been shortlisted in the Brand Extension of the Year category with Laura Mincher, Design Editor, nominated for Designer of the Year.

Individual nominations have also been awarded to Michael McEwan, bunkered’s Digital Editor, for Columnist of the Year and My Weekly’s Hope Wilson for Young Journalist of the Year.

Mike Watson, CEO of DC Thomson Media, said: “This is wonderful recognition of the hard work and talent across our Media portfolio.

“I’m delighted that our newer titles such as Animal Planet and Platinum have been recognised alongside historic brands such as The Scots Magazine. This shows the talent of our teams to continuously innovate while staying true to our readership.

“Well done to all the teams involved and best of luck on awards night.”

The award ceremony will be held at Oran Mor in Glasgow on December 1st, 2021.

View the full shortlist here.

DC Thomson News Brands journey to the heart of Scotland’s climate crisis

DC Thomson’s daily newspapers are travelling across Scotland to report on how the climate crisis is impacting on local communities ahead of international COP26 talks in Glasgow.

Journalists from The Courier and The Press and Journal are driving an electric van from John O’Groats to Glasgow, looking to find out what the climate emergency means to audiences in their titles’ circulation areas.

The eight-day tour, which begun on October 21 and ends on the 28th, will look at what climate change means for local wildlife, the fishing industry, emissions from industry and for flooding risks in towns, cities and villages.

Writers from DC Thomson’s news brands will report on some of the potential solutions to climate problems, investigating peatland restoration and reforestation.

They will also meet readers from across Scotland – hosting eight climate chats – asking them what the climate crisis means to them ahead of the world climate talks in Glasgow.

A road trip diary, appearing daily on the websites for both titles, will capture the journey.

The team will also publish a short documentary about their trip to coincide with the talks beginning.

Peter John Meiklem, Head of Transport and the Environment for The Courier, said: “We have organised this road trip to better understand how the climate crisis is changing our communities.

“We hope to learn more about how the climate crisis is shaping our communities. To find out how the people who read and watch our content feel about the growing emergency.  And to discover what they would tell the decision makers in Glasgow if they had the chance.

“Our journalists will stop in cities, towns and villages in the Highlands, Aberdeenshire, Angus, Dundee, Fife and Perthshire.”

Philippa Gerrard, P&J Environment and Transport Journalist, said: “It’s been an exciting adventure so far. Travelling such large distances in the electric van has been a real eye opener.

We plan to tell the climate stories that matter, taking the pulse of our communities as they stand on the brink of an enormous change.

“We want to capture their hopes and fears as Scotland heads down the road towards net zero emissions by 2045.”

As part of their radical newsroom restructure, a component of DC Thomson’s wider Transformation Programme, the News Brand teams are continuing to develop new ways of delivering news and digital storytelling. This includes advancing DC Thomson’s developing reputation for first-class environmental reporting across digital and print.

Community-focused car club operator Co Wheels is the transport sponsor for the trip, providing a new electric van to transport DC Thomson journalists on the journey.