Worktown hits the beach 

Black and white photo of Blackpool
Blackpool in the 1930s by Humphrey Spender. Copyright Bolton Museum.

The joy of sun, sand and sea in the 1930s is the theme of the third annual conference focusing on the Mass Observation's Worktown project.

Presented by the University of Bolton, in collaboration with Bolton Museum and the Leisure Studies Association, the theme of this year's Recording Leisure Live conference is Holidays and Tourism in 20th Century Britain.
The conference is inspired by the pictures produced by Humphrey Spender for the Mass Observation movement in the 1930s. Worktown captured Bolton people at work and leisure, documenting life in a northern town and creating a unique record of everyday life. The conference takes place on Tuesday 30 March at Bolton Museum.

Said organiser Dr Bob Snape, the University's Reader in Leisure and Sport: "Spender went to Blackpool to capture the Worktowners on holiday. Some of the pictures are fascinating - the clothes people wore in the beach for instance.

"Pictures of the illuminations are quite impressive too and ironically, as we are looking back, include lights showing an imagined vision of a futuristic man and woman."

Executive member for Adult and Community Services at Bolton Council, Councillor Elaine Sherrington, said: "As custodians of the Worktown collection, including the internationally famous photographs by Humphrey Spender, Bolton Museum is delighted to be working with the University of Bolton once again to host such a high profile conference.

"This particular conference focuses on the holiday and leisure activities of Britons during the 1930s and will provide a fascinating insight into how the Boltonians featured in the photographs enjoyed their time away from Worktown."

The conference will include a holidays and leisure themed exhibition in Bolton Museum's Worktown Gallery.

Last year's conference was a sell-out. Tickets are priced £35 and concessions are £20. Lunch and refreshments provided.

Keynote speakers for the event are: Susan Barton, author of Working Class Tourism and Popular Tourism, 1840-1970, of De Montfort University and the University of Leicester; Bella Dicks, author of Culture on Display: the Production of Contemporary Visitability, of the University of Cardiff and Fred Gray, author of Designing the Seaside: Architecture, Society and Nature, of the University of Sussex.

For further conference details and to book places contact the University of Bolton.


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Deana Morris
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