The Pub and the People: A Worktown Study

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Mass Observation was founded by Tom Harrisson, Charles Madge and Humphrey Jennings in 1937. Its purpose was to create 'an anthropology of ourselves' in other words, to study the everyday lives of ordinary people in Britain. Discounting an initial pamphlet, this was the eleventh book to be published. It appears in Faber Finds as a part of an extensive reissue programme of the original Mass Observation titles. Four Worktown (Bolton) volumes were projected but only The Pub and the People made it into print. After many delays it was finally published in 1943. It remains one of the most important of the Mass Observation titles and it is significant it was the one Tom Harrisson himself selected for republication when the new Mass Observation archive was established. As the title indicates the book is in two parts: the pub and the people. The Pub has four chapters: The Pub; The Drink; Drink-Servers; and, Drinking Places. The People has eight chapters: Drinkers; Drinking; Drunk; Singers and Pianists and Bookies and Prostitutes; Sub-Group Pub Groups; Sports, Games and Gambling; Non-drinking; and, The Last Hour! This represents Mass Observation at its most pure and objective, the result is a unique anatomizing of one of our most time-honoured recreations.