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The Pub and the People

Jan Swafford

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Mass Observation was founded in 1937 with the aim of researching the everyday lives of ordinary people in Britain. One of its best-loved publications is The Pub and the People (1943), a unique study of one of Britain’s best-loved pastimes, describing how people behaved in pubs, what and how much they drank, and the decor and layout of the average pre-war alehouse. Alongside sociological interest it offers amusing insights into an era when supping pints was only for the roughest customers, and beer was considered helpful not only to general health (‘There is no bad ale, so Grandma said’) but also (contra the porter in Macbeth) to the act of love.

‘The authors of this book have unearthed much curious information.’ George Orwell, Listener

‘Anyone with an interest in the history of beer and pubs in Britain ought to read it.’ Boak and Bailey’s Beer Blog

Mass Observation was founded in 1937 by Tom Harrission, Charles Madge and Humphrey Jennings. Its purpose was to create an ‘anthropology of ourselves’, in other words, to provide a study of the everyday lives of ordinary people in Britain. In its first period, from 1937 to 1950, it published twenty-two books, many of which are being reissued in Faber Finds.…

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