Bob Snape

Bob Snape

Bob's principal research interests are in the social and cultural history of leisure in Great Britain between 1850 and 1914. Much of his work has focused on public libraries and museums. He also has a particular interest in the National Home Reading Union. In 2009 he established the University's Centre for Worktown Studies in partnership with Bolton Museum. This exists to promote research around the Humphrey Spender Mass Observation 'Worktown' Collection held by the Museum. This documentary photographic archive is of international historical significance, being a record of everyday life in Bolton in the late nineteen-thirties. It provides the inspiration for the University's annual 'Recording Leisure Lives' conferences on leisure in twentieth century Britain and the publication of reviewed papers.

Details of publications are available at:

Caroline Edge

Caroline Edge

Caroline Edge is an AHRC funded PhD student based in The Centre for Worktown Studies at the University of Bolton.
Her research is concerned with the development of a participatory photography project inspired by Humphrey Spender’s Worktown photographs, which were taken for Mass Observation in Bolton between 1937-1938. 
Her background is as a photographer and teacher. Her work has been exhibited widely at venues including the Photographer’s Gallery, the People’s History Museum in Manchester and the Look11 Liverpool Photography Festival.
Peter Swain

Peter Swain

Peter Swain is a born and bred Boltonian who recently completed his PhD at the University of Bolton entitled 'Modern Football in Formation: A Case Study of South and East Lancashire 1830-1885'.
He has subsequently worked on 'Recording Leisure Lives in Bolton in the Twentieth Century', made possible by funds from the Marriot Trust, which was donated to the University of Bolton Le Moors Rotary Club.  As part of that he has recently completed a monograph on 'Cheap, Accessible and Glamorous: The Golden Age of the Cinema in Bolton' which is planned to be published early next year.  His next area of study is 'Bolton Women at Play: The Story of "Our Game"' which will be a social and oral history of rounders in Bolton and District in the twentieth century.

Leanne Lewis

Leanne’s research for her PhD thesis, Society at Home: Observing Society and Recording Domestic Space explores the relationships between society and design. Drawing from Mass Observation’s Worktown project it employs ethnographic and observational methodologies such as diaries, interviews and documentary photography. It cuts across academic boundaries by retrieving, observing and recording evidence related to societal identity and the related meaning of the home. It will contribute to the historiography of interior design and architectural theory, social and cultural studies and art and design disciplines such as photography.

For further information see
jerome Carson

Jerome Carson

Jerome has been Professor of Psychology at the University of Bolton since September 2012.

Jerome’s interest in Worktown followed the discovery of the research that Harrison and his team did on Happiness, a topic currently of major interest. The Worktown researchers were the first to begin to establish a science of Happiness, though they would not have been aware of this at the time. Along with Sandie McHugh, Jerome, Ian Platt and others have replicated the original Worktown Happiness Surveys. Along with Sandie and the Bolton News, we re-ran the original 1938 Survey, as well as providing material for a series of articles on Happiness. Additionally Jerome is interested in Positive Psychology, recovery and wellbeing. 

John Haworth

John is a Visiting Professor at University of Bolton. He has published extensively on well-being, work and leisure. Over the last two years he has worked with the Centre for Worktown Studies and the Department of Psychology at the University of Bolton on the Worktown Mass Observation Project which is currently investigating  happiness in daily life. With Graham Hart he was joint editor of Well-Being: individual, community and social perspectives, a book resulting from a series of trans-disciplinary seminars funded by the ESR and published by Palgrave MacMillan (2007, 2012). His fine art prints have been exhibited internationally. He has given invited papers, and exhibited his art work, at international conferences in many countries, including several IMPACT International Printmaking Conferences.

sandie McHugh

Sandie McHugh

Sandie is an associate researcher in Psychology at the University of Bolton.  

She recently joined Professor Jerome Carson as part of the Psychology representation on the Centre for Work town Studies pursuing her interest in Cultural and Positive Psychology.   Sandie originally studied social and economic history and became interested in applied psychology during a civil service and sports performance career.   She has been involved in a series of research projects in the University’s Household Financial Decision Making Section and a co-author in 6 published papers.   

In 2014 Sandie and Jerome in collaboration with “The Bolton News” re ran the 1938 Mass Observation Competition – What Makes You Happy?


Kathryn Thomasson

Kath is an Ainsworth Scholarship funded PhD student at the University of Bolton. Her research explores how the influence of community arts outreach programmes in the field of drama can enhance the subjective wellbeing of women. Kath is working in collaboration with The Octagon Theatre through Bolton at Home Community Arts programmes, drawing from the Mass Observation’s Worktown project as a source for the development and evaluation of drama based programmes for women in Bolton.