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Be A Part of History

The 12 May 1937 marked the day of George VI’s Coronation. The newly-formed Mass Observation team used this day to ask that individuals from all across the country and all walks of life simply write everything that happened to them that day from when they woke up until they went to sleep, and send the diary to the Archives. Mass Observation call for open submissions on the 12 May every year, from anyone who is willing to send in a diary of their day. Share your story this year, and become part of the living history of the Mass Observation Archives.

Most people claim they live very ordinary lives; but often extraordinary things are picked up by the submissions. The archives are used every day by academics and students, historians, writers, community groups, special interest groups, artists, producers and the general public. Even the most ordinary of days could paint a vivid picture for someone who reads it 10, 20 or 80 years down the line, and the Archives can be used to study the changing trends and developments in everyday, 'ordinary' life over time.

Take part this year by recording everything that you see, hear, smell, eat, buy, sell, walk past and watch, as well as the people you met and the places you visit. Were you furious about receiving a parking ticket? Were you thinking about who to vote for in the upcoming election? How many cups of tea did you drink? Was the day a typical day for you, and if not, why not?

How to take part:

  1. Write. Everything that you can remember about your 12th May 2017, write it down.
  2. Make sure your diary is typed up as a word document, so it can be sent as an email attachment. DO NOT INCLUDE your name, contact details, or the personal details of the people you write about in your diary.
  3. Add a brief self portrait to your diary. Nothing that will uniquely identify you, but do include your age, where you live, your relationship status, your present job/occupation if you are working, and anything else it might be important or interesting to record.
  4. Copy and paste the following statement to the bottom of your diary, so that your diary can legally be added to the Archive:

“I donate my 12th May diary to the Mass Observation Archive. I consent to it being made publicly available as part of the Archive and assign my copyright in the diary to the Mass Observation Archive Trustees so that it can be reproduced in full or in part on websites, in publications and in broadcasts as approved by the Mass Observation Trustees. I agree to the Mass Observation Archive assuming the role of Data Controller and the Archive will be responsible for the collection and processing of personal data and ensuring that such data complies with the DPA.”

       5. Send the email with the attached document to

You can write however much or little as you like. There is no specific deadline, so don’t worry if your submission is a little late. Find out more about the Mass Observation Archives here.

A young girl's submission to the Mass Observation ArchiveMass Observation Results from 2016