Recording Leisure Lives: Leisure in Worktowns in 20th century Britain

Tuesday 15th April 2014, The University of Bolton.


Second call for papers. Please submit proposals [c. 250
words] for  20 minute paper to
by Tuesday 11th March

Keynote Speakers

Dr Selina Todd,  Fellow in Modern History and Vice Principal St Hilda's College, Oxford  "Mothers, daughters and dancing strikers in interwar England".

Professor Mike Huggins, Emeritus Professor of Cultural History, University of Cumbria "Cultural imperialism: the Americanisation of elite and mass leisure between the wars"



The Recording Leisure Lives conferences are presented by the University of Bolton with Bolton Museum and are inspired by Bolton’s identity as Mass Observation’s ‘Worktown’. Tom Harrisson, the leader of the Worktown project, explained that Mass Observation had given Bolton the name of ‘Worktown’ because “it is just a town that exists and persists on the basis of industrial work”, and only one many such towns. The influence of work could be discerned in all aspects of everyday life, including leisure.  What Mass Observation saw in terms of leisure practices was not dissimilar to what could have been observed in any northern industrial town, but neither was it exactly the same. While popular and mass leisure practices were all- pervasive, local customs and practices and differing associational cultures were also influences on the shaping of leisure. This conference focuses on the history of everyday leisure in the urban environment and aims to explore the leisure cultures of working towns in inter-war Britain through investigations of the relationships between leisure and work in their widest sense.

Call for Papers

We welcome proposals for paper presentations of twenty minutes on any aspect of leisure in twentieth century Britain that relate to one or more of the following themes:

  • Work – Leisure Relationships
  • Everyday Leisure Cultures
  • Leisure and Identity
  • Employer provisions for leisure
  • Municipal leisure provision
  • Co-operation and Collectivism in Leisure
  • Gender
  • Holidays, Wakes Weeks and Spare Time
  • Leisure in market towns, ports, fishing towns and any town characterised by a mode of work or production.
  • Recording and Archiving Leisure

There is also an open stream for papers on leisure in 20th century Britain that do not easily fit within the above themes.

Please submit paper proposals [c. 250 words]  to r.snape@bolton  by Friday 7th February 2014.

Cost (Including refreshments and lunch) £35

Concessions (Students and non-waged) £20

For a full conference outline or to book a place contact Bethan Atkins (e)

For further information on any aspect of the conference please contact Bob Snape or by telephone 01204 903609.

In collaboration with University Centre at Blackburn College and the Leisure Studies Association

University Centre at Blackburn College