Browsing posts in the category: Uncategorized

Worktown’s 75th Anniversary – Free Public Seminar at Bolton Museum

Join us for an afternoon of free talks about Mass Observation, the Worktown project and Humphrey Spender’s pioneering documentary photography. The talks will be followed by a screening of Stranger than Fiction, a feature length documentary about the Worktown observers directed by Ian Potts. Saturday 6th October, 12.30 p.m. – 5.00 p.m 12.30 An introduction to Mass […]

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 […]

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 […]

Hindoo Man

Tom Harrisson, leader of the Worktown study was an early advocate of the Jack Kerouac school of writing. Other Mass Observers describe his manic, mammoth writing bouts,  from which he would emerge dazed, and sometimes quite smelly. Observer Walter Hood describes him typing away with a George Formby 78 playing over and over again on […]

Interwar aerial photos of Bolton available on new English Heritage web site

Today (25th June 2012) English Heritage launched Britain From Above. This new site publishes over 16,000 aerial photographs taken over the UK in the interwar years. This is a fascinating project and includes a member log in so anyone can add extra information to the site. There is a great selection of aerial shots of […]

A Cannibal comes to Bolton. Part 1.

The leader of Mass-Observation’s Worktown study of Bolton was the remarkable Tom Harrisson. His previous anthropological study of tribes in the New Hebrides led him to take a particular interest in the religious life of Bolton. He saw parallels between church and tribal rituals. A book examining religion in Bolton was planned after John Sommerfield’s […]

Mass-Observation Theatre Jukebox

Stand and Stare’s Mass-Observation Theatre Jukebox is currently on display at FutureEverything’s exhibition at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester. The jukebox uses photographs from the Worktown Archive and text from the M-O Archive to play stories. Placing images on the jukebox desk activates a projection and audio through radio-frequency transmitter tags implanted […]

Past and present future

The original photograph was taken by Humphrey Spender on Davenport St, Bolton, in September 1937.

Spender and the Conservative ladies

A small number of Humphrey Spender’s written observations have survived in the Mass-Observation Archive. These texts really bring the photographs to life giving both factual information and an insight into Spender’s experiences photographing in Bolton. The observation below was made at the Conservative Club Rooms, in Farnworth on January 24th 1938 where volunteers were helping […]