The New Survey of London Life and Labour (NSLLL)

 The NSLLL is a survey of working class households in London that was conducted during 1928-32 (mostly in 1929-31). It was based at the London School of Economic and led by Sir Hubert Llewellyn Smith. The object was to measure poverty in London in order to chart the changes in living standards (and other aspects of working class life) since Charles Booth's pioneering investigation forty years earlier. The results of the investigation were published in nine volumes between 1930 and 1935 as H. Llewellyn Smith (ed.) The New Survey of London Life and Labour (London: P. S. King). Only two of these volumes made extensive use of the data collected in the household survey (not surprisingly in a pre-computer age).

The surviving records of the NSLLL have been fully computerised and are available for analysis. The project team comprised Tim Hatton and Roy Bailey at Essex, and Dudley Baines, Paul Johnson, Angela Raspin and Anna Leith at the LSE. The computerised records consist of 16,915 households: roughly one in 60 of working class households in across 35 boroughs. The main types of information included are as follows:

The NSLLL is a rich data source--indeed it is virtually the only survey of its kind for which the original records survive. It is the only source of household micro data available for the interwar period. So far, the records have been used for the study of retirement decisions and of labour market entry of teenagers (by Baines and Johnson), and for the study of the incidence of unemployment, female labour market participation, and poverty incidence (by Hatton and Bailey).

The computerised data are now held by the ESRC Data Archive at Essex, listed as study number 3758. For more information you may wish to look at the Codebook or Companion Paper (written by Bailey and Leith), which explain in detail what the dataset contains and the methods that were used in computerising it. I am not permitted to supply the NSLLL dataset directly: for this you must go to the Data Archive http://www.data-archive.ac.uk/. But either Roy Bailey or I would be happy to answer any questions about it.