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Papers from the Mass-Observation Archive at the University of Sussex
Part 4: Topic Collections on Social Welfare and the Beveridge Report, 1939-1949

Mass-Observation was a pioneering social research organisation whose papers provide insights into the cultural and social history of Britain from 1937 to 1965. 
Its strength is that it describes everyday life in the words of ordinary people, with extensive interviews and records of overheard conversations, rather than through polls.  The collection is also a wonderful source of contemporary ephemera.

Parts 4-12 cover the majority of the Topic Collections, which bring together the primary material collected by Mass-Observation's studies from 1937 onwards. By accessing this original data, scholars are able to form their own conclusions about the many topics which were investigated. Part 4 includes material on World War II and post-war reconstruction, including:

  • Post War Hopes, 1944, and Beveridge Report Surveys, 1942-47 (grass-roots opinions concerning the Welfare State);
  • Health, 1939-49, and Family Planning, 1944-49;
  • Adult & Higher Education;
  • Day Nurseries;
  • Public Administration and Social Services in Wartime;
  • Reconstruction.

"It is hard to imagine any scholar of 20th century Britain who would not find this collection invaluable for their research and teaching."
James Vernon,
UC Berkeley.

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