Browsing posts in the category: Mass Observers

Posts relating to the founders and principle members of the Mass Observation movement

Anna White

Anna White was the Spender Scholar in 2010-2011. She used a range of photographic techniques during the year inspired by Humphrey Spender’s photographs of life in the town. As society’s views have changed quite a lot on how acceptable it is to photograph people undercover and without consent Anna used a collaborative approach.This included setting […]

Uncle Bob and his friend Billy

Earlier in the year we decided that looking for each of the locations in the 930 Spender photographs would be far too time consuming for just the two of us, especially as neither of us know Bolton that well, being a Mancunian and a Wiganer. So we decided it would be good to ask you […]

1 November 1937

On this day 75 years ago it was the municipal elections in Bolton. Mass Observation was involved with the Labour party campaign through observer Walter Hood, a staunch trade unionist. He can be seen in the back of this photograph of children who are marching in an election rally wearing paper hats. The leader of […]

Observing Holidaytown 2012

We finished our day of talks on Mass Observation at Bolton Museum on Saturday by heading over to Blackpool (Holidaytown) in the footsteps of the original Mass Observers. It was good fun to join relatives of original observers Julian Trevelyan, Humphrey Spender and Michael Wickham taking in the Blackpool illuminations and Saturday night mayhem. My […]

Stranger than Fiction

This painting was done by Walter Kershaw originally for the film “Stranger than Fiction” in around 1985. Kershaw is mural painter, from Rochdale, known for his large scale paintings. The painting is based on this photograph by Humphrey Spender, which we have been using in promotional material for the Worktown 75th Birthday exhibition at Bolton […]

Happy 75th Birthday Worktown

Bolton Museum’s exhibition opened on Saturday and is on until 2 December. We are holding an afternoon of talks on the 6 October 12.30-5 pm in the Museum’s beautiful Art Deco lecture theatre followed by a screening of Ian Pott’s film about the Worktown observers “Truth is Stranger than Fiction”. Everything is free, everyone is welcome […]

Colonel Barker

Colonel Barker by Humphrey Spender (copyright Bolton MBC) The sideshow featured Colonel Barker in bed in a pit separated from a woman wearing a nightdress in an another bed by a row of belisha beacons. Scandal loving tourists could view the scene from above, and rain insults down on the unfortunate couple. Although the advertising […]

This day 75 years ago…

This day 75 years ago… Apprentices joined a national strike to demand fair wages, better working conditions and union representation. Bolton’s apprentices gathered in Queen’s Park. The strike was successful. John Shaw of Davenport Street was carried from his home to his final resting place in Heaton Cemetery. It was a secular funeral. Some children […]

Humphrey Spender’s Camera

The Worktown 75th Birthday exhibition opens on Saturday 22 September at Bolton Museum, and is on until the start of December. We are particularly pleased to have the opportunity to show Humphrey Spender’s camera, which he used in Bolton. It has been kindly loaned by his widow Rachel Spender for the exhibition. The story goes that […]