Mass Observation

In 1995 I donated a large number of documents to the Mass Observation Archive at the University of Sussex. These now comprise the F. Clark-Lowes small collection(referred to for short as ‘the MO collection’ throughout this website) which consists of 30 boxes, the last ten of which are embargoed for a couple of decades. Below is a list of the open boxes which can be looked at by making an appointment with Mass Observation,

Tel. +44 (0)1273 337515,



The Mass Observation Archive
University of Sussex
The Keep
Woollards Way

Click on the logo above to access my entry on the MO website.

A word on the ethics of archiving

The embargoed boxes (numbered 21 to 30) contain material which, with a couple of small exceptions, will enter the public domain in 2038. Diaries and personal letters have a cut-off date of 1975, the year I set off to go round the world. Those after that date my bachelor days came to an end, and it therefore seemed appropriate to embargo for a reasonable period. This leaves quite a lot of personal correspondence before 1975 which some might say should also be embargoed. There is also the question as to whether a thirty-year embargo (I reckoned from 2008) is sufficient. I don’t think there are easy answers on this subject. Some maintain that material written for a private readership should never be published. That was the decision of my father and aunt when they sorted through my paternal grandfather’s papers following his death in 1937. It was also Sigmund Freud’s decision about the personal papers of his youth; he commented to his wife-to-be that he wished to make life difficult for his biographers!

The well-worn phrase ‘a rapidly changing society’ is undoubtedly a valid description of our present condition. My own ‘all over the place’ feeling, or some variation on it, is very common, and in these circumstances people sense a need to make connections with their past. Hence the rapid expansion of family history research and the fascination with what are regarded as the certainties of war (we’re right, they’re wrong).

In times which moved more slowly, you might have been satisfied with knowing something about your grandparents and great grandparents. Nowadays the earlier parts of our own lives are clearly part of history. When we visit a museum we are likely to see tools, instruments, modes of transport, telecommunication equipment, copying machines, cameras and so on which were familiar to us as children and teenagers but are now completely obsolete.

Likewise I saw around me at Featherstone Castle, when I was growing up, the relics of an earlier technological age: gas lamps, hot irons, a horse trap, a magic lanterns with hundreds of glass slides (where did they go?), three-dimensional viewers of First World War scenes, not to mention our under-maintained railways. I longed to know more about the lives of people who used these things.

History, then, is getting ever closer to us, and consequently we become increasingly interested in documents which relate to an ever more recent past. In judging what to reveal to the public, therefore, I have been inclined to open documents to public scrutiny rather than hide them.

It would clearly still be wrong, however, include in the open boxes (and this applies equally to this website) material which could be seriously hurtful or even harmful to people who are still alive. My thirty-year rule may or may not be a reasonable compromise. It’s the best I could come up with so far.

The F. Clark-Lowes Small Collection

Box 1.    Family history

Box 2.    Education 1

(1)   Stepping Stones School

(2)   Hillbrow School

(3)   Shrewsbury School

(4)   Stockport Technical College

(5)   South West Hertfordshire College of Further Education

(a)    Economic Geography essays

(b)   Economic History essays

(c)    English essays

Box 3.    Education 2

(d)   Modern Prose essays

(6)   Birmingham College of Commerce

(7)   Miscellaneous post-1967. Includes a note re non-inclusion of DPhil documents to date.

(8)   Antioch University, Ohio (Regents College, London)

(9)   Certificates

Box 4.    Railway notebooks

(1)   Railway Notebook 1: May 1959 – April 1960

(2)   Railway Notebook 2: May 1960 – August 1962

(3)   Railway Notebook 3: August 1962 – August 1963

(4)   Railway Notebook 4: August 1963 – August 1969

(5)   British Railways Pre-Grouping Atlas & Gazetteer (showing lines travelled etc.)

(6)   Ian Allan ABC British Railways Locomotives (showing engines seen)

Boxes 5 to 8. Letters up to 1975 (See also boxes 35 to 41 of my home archive)

Box 9. Walks

(1)   John O’Groats to Lands End (Photocopied handwritten notes, incl. maps)

(2)   Watford to Cairo. (Dot matrix printed notes, incl maps)

(3)   Press Cuttings re Cairo Walk

(4)   Brighton to London & Notes on Other Walks

Box 10. Employment 1

(1)   Civil Service 1 (Crown Estate Office, Home Office – Immigration. Contains copy of Official Secrets Act notice.)

(2)   Madrassat el-Nasr, Cairo

(3)   & (4) Saudia (Saudi Arabian Airlines)

(5)   TEFL post-Saudia

Box 11. Employment 2

(6)   Counselling

(7)   WEA

(8)   Translation from German

(a)    Inflation and Public Opinion, a doctoral dissertation by Elsie Kanin originally presented in Königsberg, 1929, translated 1998.

(b)   A Grandfather Remembers, the memoirs of Rabbi Caesar Seligmann, translated from the manuscript and edited, 2004.

(c)    Memories from Nine Decades, Erwin Seligmann.

(9)   Dorton College of FE (Royal London Society for the Blind)

(10)  Libya (Trade Mission to Tripoli and Benghazi in March 2002)

(11)  Old Work Records – Miscellaneous

(12)  CVs and testimonials

(13)  Applications

Box 12.  Invitation to Learn (IL)

(1)   IL General Administration

(2)   IL Discussion Classes (includes previous Background to World News & Friends Centre classes)

(3)   IL 40-Class Series Handouts

(4)   IL Retreats

(5)   IL Special Events

Box 13.  Writing

(1)   Political and philosophical (including Palestine – add 2002/2008 papers)

(2)   Travel

(3)   City Lit

(4)   Counselling / psychotherapy / psychoanalysis

(5)   Articles for The Runner

(6)   Notes on writing and fragments

(7)   Fragment: Walk to Cairo

(8)   Miscellaneous

(9)   Poetry

Box 14.  Substantial unpublished works & Record of Works Published

(1)   Freud’s Debt to Goethe (MA dissertation, 1990)

(2)   Announcement of Publication of Freud’s Apostle: Wilhelm Stekel and the Early History of Psychoanalysis, 2011 (DPhil dissertation, 1999, with new Foreword), Authors onLine.

(3)   Tough on the Causes of Terrorism (2002)

(4)   When the War is Over: The Correspondence of Nick Clark-Lowes & Audrey née Dixon (2003)

(5)   Correspondence re publication

Box 15. Financial records

Box 16.  Significant events / celebrations

(1)   Parents’ Golden Wedding / Father’s 80th 1991

(2)   Birmingham College of Commerce Year Reunion 1993

(3)   50th 1994

(4)   Doctorate celebration 1999

(5)   Father’s funeral

(6)   60th 2004

(7)   Mother’s funeral

(8)   Marriage to Christine

(9)   Miscellaneous

Box 17.  Other activities / interests.

(1)   Politics

(2)   Philosophy and ethics

(3)   Lectures and talks other than those on Palestine

(4)   Executorship of father’s will

(5)   Caring for Mother, 200-2006

(6)   Executorship of mother’s will

(7)   Unitarians

(8)   Other activities and interests

Box 18. Palestine Solidarity

(1)   Notes for talks and lectures

(2)   Press Cuttings, contact with media and articles

(3)   Lib Dems

(4)   Visit to Israel-Palestine 2000

(5)   Centre for German Jewish Studies

(6)   National PSC

(7)   Correspondence not included elsewhere.

(8)   Jews, the holocaust, Jewish Film Festival etc.

(9)   Miscellaneous

(10)  Expulsion from BHPSC and National PSC

Box 19.  Miscellaneous

(1)   Mass Observation

(2)   Miscellaneous (A list of contents is included.)

(3)   8 Clifton Hill, Brighton

(4)   Rope, Kenya

(5)   Official Documents

(6)   Home Archive

(7)   Own notes

(8)   Cars

(9)   Death of Friends and Relations

(10) Address Books and Sheets

Box 20.  Diaries (1): 1956 – 1969

There are ten further embargoed boxes.

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