Britain Revisited

Tom Harrisson Mass Obs Arc
Date Published
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Britain Revisited was first published in 1961. To a degree, the title is self-explanatory, Tom Harrisson wanted to reassess Worktown (Bolton) and other locations twenty years after the original Mass Observation research had been carried out. Harrisson took into the field with him some of those who had first participated, famous mass observers such as Woodrow Wyatt, Humphrey Spender, the painter Julian Trevelyan, and the writers Bill Naughton, John Summerfield and Celia Fremlin.

Their findings were a fascinating mix: on the one hand abrupt change, even to the disappearance of spittoons in pubs (but not of spitting!), on the other hand what Harrisson himself described as ‘the astonishing areas of unchange’, habits and practices left untouched by all the convulsions of the intervening years.