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Defining Mass Observation

A2212cThe Mass Observation Archive is  currently collaborating with the University of Southampton, the University of Birmingham and the University of Surrey on the ESRC funded research project, ‘Defining Mass Observation’. The project aims to uncover biographical information about the 4,000 people who have been writing for the contemporary Mass Observation Project (MOP) since it started in 1981. This information will be made available to the research community through an interactive, online, searchable database. Find out more about the project here.

Love in the Archive: 'My Dear Bessie'

Twenty hours have gone since I last wrote. I have been thinking of you. I shall think of you until I post this, and until you get it. Can you feel, as you read these words,that I am thinking of you now; aglow, alive, alert at the thought that you are in the same world, and by some strange chance loving me.

In September 1943, Chris Barker was serving as a signalman in North Africa when he decided to brighten the long days of war by writing to old friends. One of these was Bessie Moore, a former work colleague. The unexpected warmth of Bessie's reply changed their lives forever. Crossing continents and years, their funny, affectionate and intensely personal letters are a remarkable portrait of a love played out against the backdrop of the Second World War. Above all, their story is a stirring example of the power of letters to transform ordinary lives

My Dear Bessie uses the Chris Baker collection, which was donated to The Mass Observation Archive by Chris and Bessie’s children. The book has been made into a radio drama and features Benedict Cumberbatch and Louise Brealey as Chris and Bessie.

 

 

'Grumbles about cakes are far more concerned with how & when to obtain them than with the mere inconvenience or sho… https://t.co/NPUN905ea7
'The difficulties of the peace are going to be far worse than those of war. Millions of houses to build, four milli… https://t.co/imRErrfUYD
Thrilled to hear Lucy Curzon's recent book Mass-Observation and Visual Culture: Depicting Everyday Lives in Britain… https://t.co/6hlFCAOzFW
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