05/05/2017
Share this story Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Mass Observation 80th anniversary – video

686dd03d-8d6c-4528-b91a-86b04797981e

The Mass Observation Project is 80 years old this year. Find out what happens when a diary arrives at the archives, with our video report.

What is the Mass Observation Project?

The first Mass Observation, which was the work of a social research organisation, began on 12 May 1937, the coronation day of King George VI, when members of the public were invited to keep a diary of how they spent this day, and then send it in to the project organisers, to be kept for posterity.

The organisation continued its work until the late 1960s, and its work was revived in 1981, with the launch of the Mass Observation Project, which is now housed at The Keep in The University of Sussex.

Join the Family Tree community  
Follow us on facebook
Follow us on twitter
Sign up for our free e-newsletter
Discover Family Tree magazine

Since 1981, the Mass Observation Project has been recording everyday life in Britain, as diarists submit their diaries to the project on 12 May each year, to be kept in the Mass Observation Archive. Additionally, hundreds of volunteer writers (known as observers) answer open questionnaires issued by the project, which are also preserved. Find out more about becoming an observer at the project website.

Watch what happens to a diary when it’s received at The Keep

How to get involved

The Mass Observation Archive is once again inviting people to send in their diary about how they spent 12 May 2017, then e-mail this diary to The Keep, who care for the Mass Observation Project diaries. These diaries will be kept for future researchers to use; more than 1,100 diaries were received for 12 May 2016.

Diarists are invited to write about what they did, where they went, who they met, how they spent their work and leisure time, and their thoughts about life in the UK on 12 May 2017. To submit your one-day diary, visit the project website. You can also tweet your day using #12May17

Back to "Next steps" Category

05/05/2017 Share this story   Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Recent Updates

What is family history? The alternative guide – review, review and review again

What if missing family history information is already at your fingertips? In the latest in our blog series, ...


DNA leap forward - GEDmatch leads the way

GEDmatch has announced that the most important advance in years for genealogical DNA is currently in beta ...


Living DNA – take a DNA ancestry test and discover your roots

Find out what a Living DNA test can reveal about your family history, as you discover your origins and find ...


How to make a memory box - 60-second video guide

In our latest genealogy video, Family Tree editor Helen Tovey presents a one-minute guide to creating a ...


Other Articles

Genealogy research – a step by step guide to making the most of your family tree – part 4

In part 4 of our series, genealogy expert Mary Evans offers some ideas for tracking down specialist family ...


Top baby names since 1904 - interactive graphic of most popular 100 names

Explore the 100 most popular baby names for boys and girls in England and Wales, from 1904 to the present day. ...


Understanding Your DNA Genealogy Test Results

How can a DNA test help you find your roots and explore your family tree? DNAAdoption present a guide on ...


Your lousy First World War ancestors

The health and hygiene conditions endured by our Great War ancestors serving out in the Middle East may have ...