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Mass-Observation Archive: Topic Collections

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This Topic Collection will be unavailable January - March 2005

TC 18: 5 boxes


18/1/A: Clothes in dance halls 1938-39

Observations made in the Locarno, Streatham; Peckham Pavilion (AH) and the Royal Tottenham (SS) between December 1938 and April 1939. Includes descriptions of the clothes worn by both professional dancers and the public

18/1/B: East End Observations April 1939

Examination and comparison between clothes worn by Jewish and Cockney women in the street. Small survey on clothes buying habits and preferences, (EBC). A count of people looking in shop windows, (HAC). Shop keepers discussing fashion, LT

18/1/C: Bolton clothes 1939

Interviews with Bolton women about their clothes buying habits and preferences. Result analysis of the investigation. Socio-economic function of clothes (notes) July 1939

18/1/D: Teenage clothes 1949

Lists of clothes and makeup by fifteen year olds, London

Week diaries Friday 9.12.49-16.12.49 written by the same girls

18/1/E: Observations and overheards outside shops. London 1940

Stepney 25.7.40-15.8.40, (NM); Oxford Street 8.7.40 and 14.7.40, (DH); Fulham 31.7.40, (CF); Blackpool 8.8.40, (AH) ; Bolton l.8.40, (AH); Worcester l.8.40 to 24.10.40 (JA/DA) .Interview with men's clothier 15.8.40

18/1/F: Working class personal appearance. 1940

Observations in Stepney 8.8.40, cosmetics, jewellery, hairstyles, handbags, (NM). Hairdressing Peckham 26.10.40 (JW). Extracts on shaving 12.10.40

18/1/G: Observations of shop windows. 1939-40

London 4.11.39 to 16.12.39, (PF); Fulham 13.3.40, (PF) and 31.7.40, (JS); Worcester 19.9.40, (JA/DA)

18/1/H: Reports on sales 1940 and sale publicity 1939-40

London 3-12.1.40. Promotion handouts, cosmetics, shoes, clothes and sales 1939-40

18/1/I: Dress coat colour counts in London and Worcester 1940-41. Clothes counts, 1941. Clogs, 1942

London 1940:-12.1.40, (HP); 22.2.40 and 24.2.40, (PF); 25.7.40, (DH); l.8.40, 5.8.40, 8.8.40, 14.8.40, 15.8.40, 22.8.40, 29.8.40, (RP/NM DH/JA/LE), 5.9.40 and 6.9.40, (DH)

Worcester:-l.8.40, 8.8.40, 15.8.40, 29.8.40; 5.9.40, 12.9.40, 19.9.40, 26.9.40, 3.10.40, 10.10.40, 17.10.40, (JA)

1941 colour counts, comparison with 1940, 2.8.41, (BB)

Stocking and trouser count l.8.41, (CF)

1942 notes on clogs


18/2/A: Interviews with people in fashion retail December 1939-April 1940. PF

Jean Smith (Fashion Group) 29.11.39; Victor Stiebel (designer) l.12.39; notes on the above (TH) 4.12.39; D Barber (Retail Distribution Association) 4.12.39; Ann Seymour (Woman and Beauty) 5.12.39; Aaage Thaarup (designer) 6.12.39; Mary Joyce Woman's Wear News) 7.12.39; Mrs Garland (Vogue) 15.12.39; Elizabeth Wray (Drapers Organiser) 15.12.39; John Dannhorn (Corot Ltd) 15.12.39; memo on present position; Miss Fox (Courtaulds) 18.12.39; H. Scott (Mercia & Co) 18.12.39; R. Driscoll (Kennards) 19.1.40 M Havinden (Crawfords Advertising) 27.2.40; James Laver at the Treasury 20.2.40; Digby Morton (designer) 24.4.40; resumé 30.4.40

18/2/B: Opinion forming and the creative artist

Hints for Observers 28.1.40, (HDW); conversations with people associated with fashion retail; article written using the material collected from the above interviews 15.5.40, (PF)

18/2/C-D: Correspondence to/from PF and voluntary contributors, arranged alphabetically. 1940

BMC, fashion report, February 1940; PF own hat count 10.1.40-13.3.40; Lewis Jones, fashion reports 8.2.40 and 23.2.40; Nora Jung; Mary Lawson, report l.3.40; Edward Lewis, reports, l.2.40-29.3.40; Peter Miles, reports on fashion magazines/hat count 17.1.40-7.1.41; Mary Pickles, reports 29.2.40-10.3.40; Betty Richards, reports 2.1.40-6.3.40; Hester Rosser, reports, 14.2.40-10.5.40; Margaret Saunders, reports 29.1.40-3.40; Yvonne Stuckey, reports/hat counts, 24.1.40-11.3.40

Letters to/from fashion business

18/2/E: Press cuttings sent to PF March, April, May 1940

18/2/F: General fashion reports 1939-40

Typed extracts from 1937 Day Survey material, 12.10.37, on personal appearance and toilet. Copy of printed Bulletin and Directive on clothes, May 1939. Typed extracts from Directive replies, May 1939. Typed ms "Clothes":summary of results of Panel replies to clothes Directive and Worktown (Bolton) investigation, April 1939 (CM). Press release on clothes study, April 1939. Notes and internal memos on fashion in the first two months of the war, November 1939-January 1940, (PF). Report on hat wearing, March 1940, (PF). Statistics on clothes sales, 17.2.40. Clothes QQ (9 Questions) 25.7.40-8.8.40, (LE, DH)

18/2/G: Correspondence to/from TH March 1939-March 1940

Miscellaneous. Re the study of the impact of the war on clothes


18/3/A: First questionnaire, London and Devon, 6.6.41-9.6.41

Clothes rationing draft plan 9.6.41; suggestions for clothes questions, 12-13.6.41

18/3/B: Second questionnaire 1941 Part I

Replies to questions on:-effect of rationing; comparison of planning; saving of coupons for winter use; importance of looking comfortable/smart; quality of clothing; things the public will give up; shoes

18/3/C: Second questionnaire 1941 Part II

Replies to questions on:-pooling of coupons within families; criticisms of rationing; changes in clothes situation; changes in colour; trousers and women; ways of making coupons last; the effect of length of war on the number of coupons spent. Comment on stockings

All the above questions in both Parts I and II were asked of people living in three separate towns; Bolton representing the North, Worcester representing the West, and London. Comparisons were made not only of the towns but also of the classes and the sexes and the marital status

18/3/D: Summary of the above questionnaire in chart form

18/3/E: Third questionnaire, Summer 1941. DH/CF/VT

London 7.7.41-18.7.41; Bolton 20.6.41-24.7.41; Worcester 27.6.41-2.7.41. 15 points to the questionnaire (similar phrasing to above QQ)


18/4/A: Clothes rationing. Conclusions and implications of the 1941 questionnaire

Printed Report: Clothes Rationing Survey, 24.6.41 (Change, June 1941. Proof copy. Impressions of the questionnaire results 24.6.41, (CF); attitude to future change 29.7.41, (CF); notes on scope and method of investigation; accounts of clothes rationing from diaries, 8.6.41-1.7.41, analysis of clothes rationing from M-O diaries 17.7.41; Report "First reactions to the clothes rationing in the M-O diaries" with typed extracts and analysis, 24.6.41, (YL); interviews with Post Offices on the new clothes rationing books, (BB) 19.8.41; press cutting October; typed extracts on clothing from April 1941 Directive, (BW); notes on enjoying patriotic shabbiness

18/4/B: The effect of rationing on business. Shop interviews. Worcester, London. 1941

Worcester, 1-6.7.41, (CF); 28-30.6.41, (VT). Summary. London, 19-23.7.41, Summary (CF, DH).

18/4/C: Sales observations and overheards. 1941

London l-17.6.41 (NN, VW, JS, DW); Newcastle 19.7.41; clothes rationing reactions in Newcastle 7-18.6.41, (PN); Report 2.8.41

18/4/D: Clothes coupons, January 1942

Shop survey (men) , 5.1.42 Hammersmith, (EG); shop survey (women) , 5.1.42 Chapel Market, (CM)

18/4/E: Utililty clothes 1942

Observations in the shops, 27.2.42-2.3.42, (PN); Interview with JM Payton (Secretary of The Drapers Council of Trade) ; interview with Digby Morton, designer 3.3.42; interview with Ann Seymour, editress of Woman and Beauty 5.3.42; overheards 30.3.42; interim note 31.3.42


18/5/A: Press extracts and cuttings, and Observation: The effect of war on clothing

1917 January, February, March; 1918 January, March Vogue. 1938 October Harpers, 1939 Evening Standard, Sunday Graphic, Observer, Daily Express, Vogue 2.12.39

Observations at fashion gala, (PF)

Press cuttings November 1939 to March 1940

18/5/B: Press cuttings 1939-40

Influence of stars and society on fashion. Reports and advice

18/5/C: Press cuttings 1939-40

Fashion adverts

18/5/D: Press cuttings 1939-40

Hat fashions

18/5/E: Ladies hat fashions 1939-41

Survey of hats in Whitechapel Road, 3.4.39, interviews with milliners in the East End and West End and summary 3.4.39 (LT); questionnaire (EBC, UC, KB), 3-4.4.39; "Madhattery" 12.4.39 (TH); hats in shop windows September to December 1939, (PF); hat counts February 1941, (JS); hat count follow up 5.8.41, (BB)

18/5/F: Hat questionnaire 1948

Eleven point questionnaire l.6.48, (LPS)

18/5/G: Hat questionnaire 1954

3.3.54, (LPS)

18/5/H: Clothes count 1944

Clothes/hat count 3.1.44, Whitechapel Road, (LB)

18/5/I: Skirts 1947-48

Skirt lengths 16.10.47 (BB), London

Investigation into the popularity of Gor-ray skirts June to November 1948

18/5/J: Face creams 1947

Questionnaire, lst pilot 28.11.47, (BS); 2nd pilot l.12.47, (LB); 3rd pilot 2.12.47 (LB, BB)

Mass-Observation Studies 1937-55

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