Digitising the 1941 National Farm Survey: an initial assessment

    Research output: Working paper

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    The 1941 National Farm Survey gathered information on all farms in England and Wales over 5 acres, 320,000 farms in total. It was an extended version of the annual Agricultural Census and, in addition to the usual questions on crop acreages and livestock numbers, surveyors gathered data on the labour force and machinery, rents and tenure, and on the condition of the farm and the "quality" of the farmer. All the questionnaires, together with a complete set of maps showing the boundaries of the farms covered by the survey, have been preserved and are held by the National Archives (TNA) at Kew. They have already been the subject of a major historical project, but only very limited use has ever been made of the data. • A pilot project is clearly essential before digitisation of the whole survey is undertaken. The main focus of the pilot project should be assessing the potential for automating data capture from the scans, and the costs and benefits of different selection strategies; building a demonstration GIS for a small area using ad hoc methods would tell us little. Useful pilot projects would cost £15-35,000.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationKew
    PublisherNational Archives
    Number of pages20
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2006


    • 1941 National Farm Survey
    • Farm Census
    • Digitisation


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