Observations in a Set Situation: Children’s Experiences in Worktown/Bolton



This chapter examines Mass Observation’s study of children’s beliefs, attitudes and behaviour in 1930s Bolton.  Moving forwards to the 21st century, it compares the Mass Observation study with contemporary theories and policies relating to children, particularly the areas of well-being and play. The 80 year period witnessed changes in the industrial landscape of the town; education processes; average standard of living; family and community structures, all impacting on childhood. These developments have also impacted on the way children play, and where, seeing a well-documented shift  from ‘playing out’ on waste ground and parks to ‘playing in’ with the digital age offering a virtual playground. The authors conclude that it is necessary to see children in their own time, as they are, and not as adults remember or desire them to be.


Children Play Mass Observation Happiness 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bolton Museum and Art GalleryBoltonUK
  2. 2.University of BoltonBoltonUK

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