Nov 2012

Scotland in 1911


  • The estimated population in Scotland in 1911 was 4.76 million people. The population had risen by 288,000 since 1901. Today's population is around 5.15 million people.
  • Around a quarter of a million Scots had migrated from Scotland since the 1901 census.
  • Five Scots stated that they were aged 100 or above. The number of people living for more than a century reached a record high in 2009 when there were 750 centenarians living in Scotland.
  • Russians made up the largest number of foreigners (6,102) followed by Polish (4,930), Italians (4,594), Germans (2,362) and Americans (1,176).


  • The top five occupations for males in 1911 were occupations in iron and other metal manufacture(245,489), agriculture (165,689), coal mining (137,655), building (96,087) and commerce including clerks (75.703).
  • The top occupations of females in 1911 were domestic service (176,540), textile manufacture (115,369), making and selling of clothing (73,393) and then agricultural occupations (33,057).
  • 30.96 per cent of males and 12.46 per cent of females of 10 years and upwards were in employment in 1911.


  • The Liberal Party was in power - although the popularity of the newly formed Labour Party was on the rise in this period.
  • The ‘Great Unrest’ saw a series of strikes across the country in key industries such as the docks, railways and coal mines.
  • The 1908 National Insurance Act came into force in 1911, introducing sick pay (10 shillings a week) and unemployment pay (7 shillings a week) (The National Archives)
  • The Shop Bill was being read in Parliament in 1911, which would restrict the working week to 60 hours

Events in Scotland in 1911

  • The Scottish Exhibition of National History, Art and Industry was held in Kelvingrove Park, Glasgow. It ran from May 2 to November 4.
  • Fire broke out at the Empire Palace Theatre in Edinburgh, after illusionist 'The Great Lafayette' accidentally set light to the stage with a torch. Ten people including Lafayette died in the incident.
  • The 11,000 workers at the Singer Sewing Machine factory in Clydebank go on strike, ceasing to work in solidarity of 12 female colleagues protesting against work process reorganisation.
  • King George V and Queen Mary arrived in Edinburgh following their Coronation in London on June 22, 1911.

Image by courtesy of The Mitchell Library, Glasgow City Council.

Scotland's People: Find out what your ancestors were doing in 1911