Faulder Family Genealogy

5 April, 2021

On This Day; 5 April 1981 – Census

On 5 April 1981 the 1981 UK Census was taken. Normally this is not a particular issue but for my mother it was. She was adopted but had traced her birth mother. On the approach to Census night she realised that she would be staying with her birth mother that night so would be listed as a “visitor” on her mother’s household census form.

This meant her mother would have to record their relationship. In 1981 this was “a secret” and left my mother in a quandary; knowing her mother had promised her (later) husband that she would keep my mother’s existence a secret but also knowing she wanted to be honest – how could she complete the form?

My mother had been conceived as a result of a relationship in London between a female nurse (my grandmother) and a man that she believed was single. It was only when my grandmother revealed to him that she was pregnant (and they might want to accelerate their plans) that he revealed he was actually already married – with a son back in Belfast.

My mother ended up in a children’s home – passed off as the orphan daughter of her mother’s sister. Her mother suspected that the home’s matron realised the true situation due to the frequent visits of “her aunt”. My mother’s father for a short while sent money to support my mother but when this stopped, and after exhausting a small legacy left by her own mother (also a nurse), my grandmother’s income was insufficient to afford the home’s fees. At just over two and a half my mother was adopted.

After the passing of the Children Act my mother used the new arrangements to trace her mother who was happy to be traced subject to one reservation.

After my grandmother had given up my mother for adoption she had worked in private practise caring for the wife of a doctor. Some time after his wife had died, this doctor proposed to my Grandmother, but being anxious that his children from his first wife, who had taken to my Grandmother, should not find out about “her past” and think less of her, he asked her to promise that no one would ever know of my mother’s existence. A promise that was easy to make so many years before the changes brought by the Children Act of 1975.

So when my mother traced her mother, my grandmother (now widowed) was left with a dilemma; how could she have a relationship with my mother and keep that promise made so easily so many years ago to her much loved husband? Back in the days of the children’s home my mother had been passed of as the orphan daughter of her mother’s sister. Now her mother suggested that she be the “daughter of an old friend” (“if you cannot be friends with yourself, …”). So the promise and the secret was passed on.

So on the day before the census, my mother cut short her visit and returned to her own home and mother and daughter never appeared together on the same census form.

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