In previous posts, we’ve mentioned the historical significance of the 1939 Register as a glimpse into England and Wales at the start of World War II. However, there are a few facts and figures about the Register that you may not know. We’ve put together this short list to help you become more familiar with this incredible document.

  1. It’s incredibly large

The register contains information on 40m individuals, and therefore the books that we’re digitising occupy a huge amount of space. In fact, if you were to lay the books one on top of the other, the pile would reach 227 metres into the air. To put that into perspective, if you were to place the Statue of Liberty (93m) on top of the London Eye (135m), the resultant megastructure would only be one metre taller.

  1. We’re scanning over a million images

The job of digitising the Register means scanning over 1.3m images. That’s as many images as are uploaded to Facebook every six minutes, although we’re dealing with fewer selfies.

  1. It was a hard working document

As well as being the basis for the issuing of identity cards and rationing, the Register was, in 1948, used to form the National Health Service. From then, it was regularly updated with new information and remained a working document until the 1990s.

  1. Some young men may be missing

When the Register was enumerated, some families deliberately omitted male members of their family who were of military service age in order to keep them safe at home. Of course, without being added to the Register you were ineligible for an identity card and ration book, so these omissions were quickly resolved.

Naturally, there’s a lot more to discover in and around the 1939 Register, so stay tuned for more updates!