Data Access

This is where you can download parts of the data behind A Vision of Britain through Time, for use in your own projects. Most of this is freely available for everyone to use, under Creative Commons licensing. Other material can be downloaded only by users in UK schools, colleges and universities. We do not maintain our own list of registered users, so your institution needs to belong to the UK Federation. If you are not in the Federation, we are very happy to discuss data licensing. Contact us at gbhgis@port.ac.uk.

We currently offer two types of content for download:

  • Digital boundaries: You can download Shapefiles from the Boundaries tab here. The more detailed boundaries are available only to UK Federation members.

  • Historical statistics: The Statistics by location tab can be used by everybody to extract local data: you specify a location, a historical period and a theme, and you can then select just the relevant data values from our large library. The output will be a file that loads easily into a spreadsheet program like Excel, or your own choice of database or statistics software. The Statistics by topic tab provides everyone with information about our collection of statistics, and also enables UK Federation members to download datasets covering the whole country.

All downloads are supplied as compressed archive files which also include guidelines on citation and acknowledgment, and detailed copyright terms. Please respect these, and remember that Creative Commons licensing requires acknowledgment, and links to this site, if you copy our material into your own web site, Facebook page, etc.

We also have a separate more traditional database of historical statistics, Great Britain Historical Database (GBHDB tab), with online documentation but no online access or download facility.

Please click on the name of the boundaries you wish to download.

COUNTIES — Free Access


DISTRICTS — Restricted Access

Scotland: Scottish Burghs
Scotland: Scottish Districts of County

CONSTITUENCIES — Restricted Access


PARISHES — Restricted Access

Search for statistics to download

Zoom and centre the map on your location of interest, then click 'Search' to find available statistics.

We are sorry, but we do not have statistics for this location and chosen date range. Please choose a different location or date range, and try searching again.


Statistics available to download for this location

part of the 1841 occupational table

The Vision of Britain system holds a large library of historical statistics. We store all the data values in one big list, and for each value we record:

We record WHAT each number measures via our implementation of the Aggregate/Tabular Data Extension developed by the Data Documentation Initiative. This places each data value within a dataset, or nCube, whose dimensions are defined by variables (sometimes organised into variable groups), like occupation and gender and age, each of which is a set of categories, such as "Males" and "Females":


Enter a search term below to find relevant datasets from our statistical database:


Themes are used in the Vision of Britain system to organise all our statistical data into a small number of broad categories, often identified by icons on the web site. Click on one of the Themes for more information:


GB Historical Database

Most of the material in Vision of Britain has been imported from an older, larger and more traditional system called the Great Britain Historical Database. The more traditional structure means we cannot provide users with direct access to the contents of GBHDB, only this documentation system. Direct access to the contents of GBHDB is available for download via the UK Data Archive.