• All members must be aware of our current Family History UK Community Rules

    Please read the following:

    Read the current rules of the forum

    Thank you

    If you are a business -please contact us to advertise or be a sponsor on our FHUK Community Genealogy forums

100 year rule census


Valued Member
Wakefield, West Yorkshire
Very often when people mention the 100 year rule for access to census someone claims it was imposed because people were assured it would be closed for 100 years.

There never was a 100 year privacy commitment that is simply a myth.
The 100 year closure rule was created in 1966 by the Lord Chancellor.
1966 45 years after the 1921 census.

The first census to claim the census would remain closed for 100 years was the 1981 census.
Yes, 1981 60 years after the 1921 census was taken.
In 1981 the Registrar General made a promise on the 1981 census forms that the census would be closed for 100 years, this commitment was repeated on the 1991 and 2001 census forms. Unfortunately the Registrar General did not have the authority to make such claims and so that promise was not worth the paper it was printed on.
In fact the Registrar General who made that claim, Arthur Roger Thatcher, had to write to parliament to apologise for exceeding his authority by making such a claim.
In earlier census there was a commitment the census would remain confidential but no time limit was placed on this confidentiality.

Did the population at the time of the 1921 census think or understand the details given would be confidential for their lifetime.
I very much doubt it.
The majority of previous census had been released on average after only 80 years some considerably earlier.

Similar threads