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Page last updated at 10:11 GMT, Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Mass Observation's 'intimate accounts'

Between Christmas and new year the Today programme is being guest edited.

Today it is edited from not a person but the Mass Observation Archive - a collection of reports, posters, tickets, questionnaires, surveys, and perhaps most importantly diaries, which convey a sense of everyday life in Britain since 1937.

Fiona Courage, curator of the Mass Observation Archive, explained the project to Today presenter Evan Davis.

"For some people these were very intimate, personal diaries," she said.

James Hinton, who has written a new book - The Mass Observers, and discussed how the project can be used to further understand how Christmas and New Year have changed over the generations.

"This stuff is not retrospective - you get a much less glamorised history," he said, reflecting on accounts from war-time Britain.

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