Nature and Scope

Mass Observation Project consists of all the directives (questionnaires) sent out by Mass Observation and the responses to them from the hundreds of Mass Observers.

Addressing topics such as the Falklands War, clothing, attitudes to the USA, reading and television habits, morality and religion, and Britain's relations with Europe, the directives and responses are an essential resource for anyone interested in late-twentieth and early twenty-first-century British social history.

Broad themes covered include current events, friends and family, the home, leisure, politics, society, culture and the media, work, finance and the economy and new technology.

There is also the addition of observer material from the celebrations of Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee in 1977. This event was seen as a perfect time to attempt a modest revival of the Mass Observation project, before the full reinstitution of the Mass Observation Project in 1981. Volunteers were asked to collect information and observations based on the preparations for Jubilee celebrations, and what these celebrations entailed such as street parties and media responses to the Jubilee.

Learn how to get the most out of using Mass Observation Project in our User Guide. For in-depth analyses of selections of the archival material and case studies of their use, see our Essays and Videos.

Poster for Usborne books sale from C2079's response to 1989 Summer directive part 2 © Mass Observation Archive Trustees