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"James Joyce and Ulysses"

Commentary No. 8 - Sloan family census return (1911)

1911 census return for the Joyce familyThe 1911 census return for Samuel Sloan's house at 20 Gardiner Place lists John Joyce, James's father, 61, and his two sisters, Florence, 17, and Mabel Anna, 16, as boarders. The family had moved (or been evicted) from their house in Fontenoy Street in 1910 and had found quarters in Hishon's Hotel in Great Denmark Street. It is possible that they moved to the nearby boarding house to save money. John Joyce's occupation is given as "Civil Service pensioner", and he is listed as a widower whose marriage had produced 14 children, nine of whom were living. Florence and Mabel are listed as "scholars", indicating that they were still at school. Mabel was to die in July of that year from typhoid. Florence got a job the next year at the cash desk in Todd Burns's department store. She lived until 1973.

The Sloan/Ryan family, permanent occupants of the house, comprise a young Protestant Second Division Clerk at the Department of Agriculture, Samuel Sloan, with his Catholic wife and four young children, aged seven months to four years, and Mrs. Sloan's widowed mother, two sisters and seven year-old nephew. The return does not tell us whose child the nephew is. The two remaining boarders are medical students, as Joyce himself was for a very brief time before leaving Ireland.

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