On Sunday March 30th 1851 a Religious Census of most of the religious establishments in England and Wales took place.
The results of this census as they relate to Ilkeston are referred to at relevant points throughout this site.
On the first Sunday of April 1871 the ‘Dissenters of Ilkeston’ conducted their own ‘informal’ Religious Census, not organised by either Central or Local government, and was subsequently the subject of much local criticism.
On March 5th 1882 the Ilkeston Advertiser decided that another Religious Census in the town would be a good idea.
” We hold that the fairest estimate of the power and influence of a religion is that obtainable from an enumeration of its bone fide active members, and not from a column in the Registrar General’s decennial census giving the aggregate number of nominal members”.
With the exception of Edward Thomas Straton Fowler, Vicar at Christ Church, Cotmanhay, all relevant clergymen and ministers agreed to take part. The newspaper employed its own counters to calculate the Cotmanhay attendances.
|Church/Chapel||No of sittings||Morning attendance||Evening attendance|
|Church of England|
|Methodist Free Church|
|Methodist New Connexion||187||46||66|
|Gallows' Inn Mission||50||25|
* These returns include two or three morning services.
** Of the attendances at the United Free Church services about a half were those of children.
‡ In the numbers at the Salvation Army evening services those who attended in the afternoon seem to have been included.
The (Liberal and Non-Conformist) Advertiser then helpfully summarised its findings.
While the Established Church welcomed 954 worshippers in that morning and 1017 in the evening, the Non-Conformist establishments respective figures were 1910 and 2751.
The newspaper calculated that of an Ilkeston population of 14,000, 31% of them were regular attenders at church.
(The average of other places where a voluntary census had been taken was about 25%).