Mass Observation Diaries Project

On the 12th May 2021, the Mass Observation Archive will be repeating its annual call for day diaries, capturing the everyday lives of people across the UK. The written diaries project started in 1931 and is stored in an archive for research, teaching and learning.

Diaries can record 12th May and reflect back over the past year and look forward to the future and life beyond this year.

Share your lives, your hopes and your dreams with Mass Observation for future generations.


10 Things…

How To Take Part


aka The Annual Daily Thread Archive


Very optimistic to expect ten intriguing findings.


Findings included that the average time taken to drink half a pint of beer in pubs on a November Saturday night in Brighton in 1938 was 7.3 minutes. The study of pubs in Bolton, Blackpool and Brighton in 1938 found that people drank their pints slowest on a Tuesday evening and fastest on a Friday evening. Perhaps these findings are less surprising than the fact that someone actually wanted to ask the question.

Ok, fair enough, aka The Annual Banal Thread Archive, then.

Still think that everyone here should copy paste their daily thread posts for this Wednesday to them.

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Ironically we don’t seem to have one today (I’m not making one as I might have just lost it)


Is that saying on average people drank a pint in 14.6 minutes? Carnage.


I went through a phase of being obsessed with MassObs, I think it’s one of the things that brought me here actually because as you’ve noted its a bit like a constant rolling version of the same thing. If I can remember I’ll try and take part in this

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Not necessarily, I’d think. Your second half is always gonna be slower.

Dunno if people were doing a quick splash and dash visit to the pub for ‘checking your timeline’ style social purposes (as opposed to rocking up for a sesh and necking them quickly).

Wonder if any of this is tangibly linked to the phrase ‘swift half’ in any way?

Although I understand that pub opening times could lend themselves to some necessarily rapid drinking.

E.g. Something about only being open for a couple of hours on Sunday lunch times?

Yeah, opening times were much more restricted back then. I think the beer tended to be weaker, too, so you wouldn’t necessarily get pissed from knocking back a pint in 15 minutes.


This is so cool! I can record that I had my second ice-cold pint of Pfizerino.

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3% warm mild

You into this, too?

I’ve seen a few bits of it. Always meant to catch more of it.

I’ve actually never seen that, always wanted to though. The subjects are almost exactly my parents’ age, which is interesting to me!

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Read a book set in the 70s the other day that described a character who stopped off at the pub on the way home from work every day for a half and to read the paper for exactly 7 mins.

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Love this, and history from below in general:


Had a regular in the pub I used to work at who would come in a few nights a week at about 17:35, order two pints of a 5ish% ale, sink them both and be out the door by 17:45.


Observers were asked to write a Christmas Day diary in 1986, and for the first time many of them stressed that “real coffee” was served. “I think if you’re noting that it’s real coffee then you’re really making a statement,” she says.