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Papers from the Mass-Observation Archive at the University of Sussex

Part 3: The Worktown Collection, 1937-1940

Part 3 of this microfilm project continues coverage of the Worktown Collection of materials on Bolton and Blackpool. Subjects covered in the reports, surveys and investigations reproduced here include Cinema, Children, Churchill and Chamberlain, the Co-operative Movement, Housing, Holidays, Leisure, the Police, Public Health, Textile Workers, the Collieries, the onset of War, Local Government, Tourism and Transport.

The Worktown Papers comprise the original notes and reports compiled during the intensive study that Mass-Observation carried out in Bolton (Worktown) and Blackpool (Holidaytown) between 1937 and 1940, together with notes made when they revisited the sites in 1960. The Papers are arranged into 65 boxes and, within these, into files. The files in each box are lettered from ‘A’ onwards with some boxes containing up to 16 files (A-P). It has sometimes been necessary to split the contents of individual boxes (not files) over more than one reel. All files have been filmed in their entirety. Thanks are due to Dorothy Sheridan, Joy Eldridge and Anna Green for their help in the preparation of this microfilm edition of this underused resource.

The Worktown Collection contains excellent source material for all those interested in studying the ordinary people of Britain during a period of great change. It is a vital research tool for social historians, labour historians, historians of leisure, sociologists, and to all those studying Britain in the 1930’s and 1940’s, the fiction of Bennett, Lawrence and Orwell, the impact of the war on people at home and middle- and working-class culture.

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