Worktown People

Details about the Mass-Observation’s founders and the original Worktown observers.

Tom Harrisson (1911 – 1976)

Anthropologist Tom Harrisson was a founder member of the Mass Observation. He advocated a method of investigation that required the intimate observation of its subjects and an obsessive concern with the most trivial aspects of everyday life, rituals and customs.

Julian Trevelyan (1910 – 1988)

Whilst in Bolton he created art works and photography. Of all the artists involved in the Mass-Observation Trevelyan’s work was the most successful in chiming with the ideals of the project.

Humphrey Spender (1910 – 2005)

Humphrey Spender was a pioneer of the documentary photography style that suited the Mass-Observation methods of gathering information.

Humphrey Jennings (1907 – 1950)

Jennings was a founding member of the Mass-Observation with close links to Charles Madge. They were both members of the Blackheath group, a collective of like-minded artists based in London. After Mass Observation Jennings went on to become an influential documentary maker.

Charles Madge (1912 – 1996)

Madge was an English poet, a one time journalist for the Daily Mirror and Sociologist. It was Madge’s letter to the New Statesman in 1936 that inspired Tom Harrisson to contact the Blackheath group and start the Mass-Observation.