Bolton Worktown Collection

Humphrey Spender (copyright Bolton Council)
Humphrey Spender (copyright Bolton Council)

The Worktown Archive is a unique historical document of everyday life in Bolton and also was the first Mass Observation study to take place in Britain.

Mass-Observation was a large-scale investigation into the habits and customs of the people of Britain that was started in Bolton in 1937. Bolton was named “Worktown” by Tom Harrisson.

The project focused on Bolton initially and during the Second World War was enlisted by the Government to monitor public morale in the population as a whole. The project still exists today and the archive is currently held at the University of Sussex.

The Worktown site currently features photographs taken by the late photographer and artist Humphrey Spender though there are plans to include other Mass Observation related collections in the future (including photographs by Julian Trevelyan and oral history audio).

The Worktown Collection is held by Bolton Museum.

This archive entry was last updated on 12/07/2022. Information incorrect or out-of-date?
Add an archive
Do you know a community archive that isn't in our list? Please add it.