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New publication - Our History of the 20th Century: As Told in Diaries, Journals and Letters

Elborough Our HistoryNew publication! - Our History of the 20th Century: As Told in Diaries, Journals and Letters.

Compiled by Travis Elborough

What better way to understand Britain during the twentieth century than through the eyes of those who experienced it at first hand? Travis Elborough's compilation offers brilliantly candid and intimate insights not only into the headline-grabbing events but also the domestic  and personal moments of those who lived through it.

The book draws on over one hundred diarists. They include the great and the good - from Beatrice Webb to Tony Benn, from A. C. Benson to Alan Bennett, from Virginia Ironside to Hanif Kureishi - as well as many less-well-known individuals such as Gladys Langford and Kathleen Tipper, whose writings for the Mass Observation Project offer brilliant glimpses into what the man or woman on the street really made of the stuff of history at the time.

From the Easter Rising to the arrival of email, from the Boer War to New Labour, here are responses to the death of Princess Diana, the resignation of Margaret Thatcher, the Moon landing, the Beatles and much more.

 

Travis Elborough has co-edited two previous anthologies of diaries, A London Year and A Traveller's Year. A freelance writer, author and cultural commentator for nearly two decades, his other books include The Long-Player Goodbye, a hymn to vinyl records; Wish You Were Here, a survey of the British beside the seaside and most recently A Walk in the Park: The Life and Times of a People's Institution.

New podcasts: Mass Observation 80th Anniversary Conference

New podcasts from the Mass Observation 80th Anniversary Conference are now available in the podcasts section of the website: http://www.massobs.org.uk/podcasts The conference was held on 10th-11 July 2017 at the University of Sussex.

The featured podcasts are our three keynotes - Matt Cook, Joe Moran and Lucy Noakes -  and also Dorothy Sheridan and Lucy Noakes in conversation.

#MO80 - Mass Observation 80th Anniversary Conference as it happened on Twitter

The Mass Observation 80th Anniversary Conference was held on 10th-11th July at the University of Sussex. Here is how it was recorded on Twitter

#12May17 - 12th May 2017 as it happened on Twitter

As well as our normal 12th May project, we asked the Twitter community to get involved using the hashtag #12May17. Below are some of the results.

 

 

 

Anniversary Conference - celebrating 80 years of the Mass Observation movement

Mass Observation 80th Anniversary Logo Celebrating 80 years of the Mass Observation movement

10th-11th July 2017

The Mass Observation 80th Anniversary Conference was held on 10th-11th July 2017 at the University of Sussex. Our keynotes and closing panel comprised:

Matt Cook (Birkbeck)

James Hinton (Professor Emeritus Warwick University)

Joe Moran (Liverpool John Moores)

Lucy Noakes (University of Brighton)

Lucy Robinson (University of Sussex)

Dorothy Sheridan (University of Sussex and current Trustee of the Mass Observation Archive)

 

The conference programme can be found here

 

  

Professor Adam Tickell, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sussex opened the conference.

Dorothy Sheridan (Trustee, Mass Observation Archive) and Lucy Noakes (University of Brighton) in conversation

 

The conference was sponsored by   ADAM MATHEW LOGO MASTER CMYK

New Publication! A Londoner in Lancashire 1941-1943

Annie HolnessA Londoner in Lancashire 1941-1943: The Diary of Annie Beatrice Holness (edited by Patricia and Robert Malcolmson, published by the Record Society of Lancashire and Cheshire, 2016)

Annie Beatrice Holness, a middle-aged London civil servant, was evacuated with her office to the seaside town of Morecambe in 1940. A year later she began writing for Mass Observation. Her observant and thoughtful diary recorded everyday life in all its diversity – her billet, her country walks, her dreary job, her usually gratifying leisure activities (night classes, music and theatre, her allotment garden), the congestion and sights and sounds of wartime Morecambe, such as WAAFs training and throngs of holiday visitors on the promenade. Annie also disclosed her feelings about the setbacks and advances of the war and her attitudes to such issues as social reform, farming practices, religious belief, and the rights of women, especially in the workplace – though reticent on many matters, she was decidedly a feminist. Her perspectives often shifted, as war forced her and others to change. Feeling – as she often lamented – an ‘exile’ in Morecambe, she returned to London in 1945, but two years later chose to come back to Morecambe and settle there permanently. This edition focuses on the years when her diary was at its richest, between 1941 and 1943.

Patricia Malcolmson and Robert Malcolmson are historians who have written books and articles on English social history since the eighteenth century. In recent years they have edited for publication numerous twentieth-century diaries, most of them held in the Mass Observation Archive at the University of Sussex. These include Nella Last’s Peace (2008), Nella Last in the 1950s (2010), The Diaries of Nella Last: Writing in War and Peace (2012), Kathleen Hey, The View from the Corner Shop: The Diary of a Yorkshire Shop Assistant in Wartime (2016), and several scholarly editions for various record societies (London, Bedfordshire, Dorset, and Surrey). Their latest authored books are Women at the Ready: The Remarkable Story of the Women’s Voluntary Services on the Home Front (2013) and Wartime Cumbria 1939-1945: A Social History (forthcoming), and Patricia’s Me and My Hair: A Social History (2012).

New book from the Archive: Mass Photography

Mass PhotographyWith increasingly accessible camera technology, crowd-sourced public media projects are abound like never before. Mass Photography: Collective Histories of Everyday Life assesses the potential of these popular ‘moment-in-time’ projects by examining their current day prevalence and their historical predecessors. The central focus is the 55,000 photographs submitted to One Day for Life (held by the MOA) in 1987, which aimed, in its own time, to be ‘the biggest photographic event the world had ever seen’. Through case studies like this, Mass Photography examines the particular cultural role that amateur photography offers.

New database for the Mass Observation Project launched

A new database for the Mass Observation Project has been launched.


This is a searchable, downloadable database for people wanting to identify available writing from writers contributing to the Mass Observation Project (MOP) 1981 onwards. It is a resource that provides potential users of the MOP with information about the biographical/demographic characteristics and writing behaviours of individual Mass Observation Project writers.
The database is designed to enable users to

  • Identify available writing of individual writers, or groups of writers, based on their individual characteristics, such as year of birth and gender
  • Identify available writing of individual writers, or groups of writers, based on their writing behaviour
  • Search for available writing by theme/directive
  • Use tools that make simple demographic comparisons between writers and the broader population of the UK
  • Identify writers who have been serial responders

View the database here

Giddy App Launched!

GiddyWalk vicariously down memory lane with Giddy, a treasure trove of memories of teenage love, hope, loss, and rebellion.

The Mass Observation Archive is pleased to announce the launch of the Giddy app. The Archive worked on the Giddy project with students from Longhill School who used MOA and ESRO Brighton collections at The Keep to learn about the lives of teenagers in Brighton in 1940s, 50s and 60s.

Giddy Brighton exhibition launched on 7 May, 4-6pm, at the Theatre Foyer Gallery, University of Brighton, Grand Parade BN2 0JY.

Giddy Brighton is an exhibition that explores teenage memories from the post-war years in Brighton & Hove, launching as part of Brighton Festival 2016, alongside the release of the Giddy Brighton app. Archive images and film accompany oral histories, vividly reawakening Brighton & Hove life during the mid-20th century. Visit the exhibition to hear lived memories of Brighton & Hove; first kisses, endless dances, adventures and exploits.


For exhibition details and app download information visit The Giddy website


Giddy Brighton is a Brighton Festival commission, with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Revisiting @TheKeepArchives's blog on Fashion in the Archives, featuring Mass Observation #WW2 #Archivecatwalk https://t.co/JKRCid2ZdY
An air raid warning in the night: 'I heard bombs dropping & gunfire in the distance and screaming sirens' #WW2… https://t.co/fH9R0qpvBH
'Fashion highlights are the rouleaux of plain leather decorating the lizard skin front' -Britain Can Make It exhibi… https://t.co/p0KsaWzJ7R
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