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Mass-Observation Archive: Related Collections

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Personal Papers

Over 70 small collections of personal papers from individuals have been donated since the Archive opened. These include diaries, photographs, scrap books, letters, account books, printed material and ephemera. In general they cover the period after 1930 up to the present day but some collections do cover the late 19th and early 20th century. A list of these collections of personal papers is available together with indices of geographical, decade and subject areas. Further details available.

Organisational Papers

This series consists chiefly of papers generated by an organisation or by an individual working within specific organisations or research projects. For further information on the collections and how to access them please contact Special Collections staff at or call 01273 678157.

The Large Collections include:

Silver Jubilee 1977

A small 'one-off' project designed to record the Silver Jubilee in 1977 which eventually led to the launch of the current Mass-Observation Project in 1981.
Handlist and further information available.

BBC diaries

The BBC donated a set of time diaries which they commissioned during the 1950s and 60s as part of their listener research (25 boxes).

Social And Community Planning Research

Professor Jay Gershuny (formerly of the Science Policy Research Unit at Sussex) donated all the material generated by a series of leisure surveys funded by the SSRC, including Time Diaries for the 1980s (79 boxes).

One Day For Life: Photographic Competition

A collection of 100,000 colour photographs was donated to the Archive in 1990. These were all taken on one day in 1988, the 14 August, by amateur photographers for a competition organised by the cancer research charity, Search '88. The 4,000 prints shortlisted for the competition have been organised into main subject themes (77 boxes).

National Gay And Lesbian Survey

In 1986, Kenneth Barrow launched a special Mass-Observation-style project to collect reports from homosexual people. These took the form of autobiographical writing and of matters of opinion. Copies of the results of this project have been donated to the Archive and are available for research. Kerry Sutton Spence is now running the Survey and new folders of material are donated at intervals (8 boxes to date).

Checkpoint Material

Between 1977 and 1985, the BBC ran a radio series on consumer problems called 'Checkpoint'. The transcripts of these broadcasts, together with the letters received from the public during this period, were donated to the Archive by the BBC in 1985 . Access only with the written permission of the head of Consumer Affairs at the BBC (53 boxes).

Priestland Papers

The Head of Religious Programmes at the BBC donated a collection of letters from the public in response to two series of controversial religious broadcasts ('Priestland's Progress, 1981, and 'The Case against God', 1984) on Radio 4 by Gerald Priestland (20 boxes).

Newspaper Readers' Letters

Between 1981 and 1987, the Daily Mirror newspaper passed on to the Archive all the letters sent in by its readers. Most of these letters have been microfilmed (106 boxes). The Sun newspaper ran a competition in 1981 called 'What's wrong with Britain?' and the results were donated to the Archive (1 box). A local free newspaper, the Courier, donated one box of readers' letters in 1981 (1 box).

Victory In Europe Day Memories

Television South ('Coast to Coast') invited its viewers to send in memories of VE Day 1945 in 1985. These were donated to the Archive (1 box).

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