University of Sussex Media Release.
. Clock helps researchers to keep an eye on the time

16 December 1999
For immediate release

Retired lorry driver Bob Rust was the special guest at the University of Sussex today (16 December) when he presented the Mass-Observation Archive with a unique eye-shaped clock, made from copper by Brighton designer Cath Arlidge. Bob, from Basildon in Essex, wanted to give the archive something in memory of his late wife, Leslie.

The Mass-Observation project documents the lives of more than 3,000 ordinary people in the UK. Bob has been a volunteer correspondent since 1981, recording his everyday life for use by the historians of the future.

"It is something that has given me great pleasure, as I enjoy writing. Leslie always took a great interest in what I was doing. Depending on the topic, we would often spend some time discussing what I was going to write: if she had any ideas on it or how I intended to approach that particular theme. She gave me the female slant on things."

The couple were married for 40 years. "I know Leslie will live on in my memory", said 65-year-old Bob, "but I wanted a little bit more than that. She had no time for stones and memorials, but she was always a practical person, so I thought, what better than something useful - not only useful, but connected with a project in which we both had an interest."

The words 'Mass-Observation' are etched into the clock's flame-like eyelashes and the green iris of the clock face is made of verdigris copper. A striking addition to the archive's reading room, it will help researchers to keep an eye on the time when they are studying the collection of diaries, photos, leaflets, newspaper cuttings and posters.

"A clock is really important in a reading room", said archivist Dorothy Sheridan. "Our researchers often get so immersed in what they are reading that they lose track of time and we can't get them out at closing time."

Note to editors

Further information and photographs of the presentation are available from Alison Field, Communications Officer, University of Sussex. Tel: 01273 678888, fax: 01273 678335, email: Dorothy Sheridan can be contacted on 01273 678157.

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