The Mass Observation programme was set up to monitor the everyday happenings and thoughts of ordinary people in Britain in the 1930's. One of the first training exercises for the interviewers was to record in words the minute details of the mantelpieces they saw in the houses they went into. The mantelpieces of today are often small art displays rather than the collection of matches, odd change and letters-behind- the-spill-jar that would have been seen in the thirties, but are still reflections of the householder.
A book of Mantlepieces is available for £30 + pp.

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