The Affluent Worker Collection

Scope and Content

The study covers the period 1950-1962. The papers - semi-structured interview transcripts - are stored in twenty archival boxes. Part one (The Luton area study) is held in boxes one to fourteen and part two (The Cambridge area study) in boxes fifteen to twenty.

Box one and two contains 100 interviews with Vauxhall car workers; box three to five contains 113 interviews with Skefco workers; box six contains 34 interviews with Laporte workers; box seven to fourteen contains 551 interviews with workers in their home; box fifteen to twenty contains 316 Cambridge area interviews.

Administrative / Biographical History

The Affluent Worker project was undertaken during 1961-1962 to test empirically the, then widely accepted, thesis of working class embourgeoisement.

Married male workers from three Luton factories were firstly interviewed at work and then, again, with their wives at home. A number of white-collar workers from the same companies were also interviewed in their home, creating an additional sample group.

This material formed the basis for the influential Affluent Worker publications of the 1960s. In addition to the research material gathered in Luton, this collection also includes the earlier, Cambridge Area Study. Primarily a pilot, this is a substantial set of interviews (300+) made with teachers, grocers, bank employees and factory electricians, in the Cambridge area, and examined the same broad areas of middle and working class borders.

Access Information

By written application to either the Librarian or Deputy Librarian. A letter of introduction may be required and prospective users will be obliged to sign an undertaking outlining the terms and conditions of access to the research materials.


Entry compiled by John Southall of Qualidata, UK Data Archive, University of Essex using descriptions from the NSPSCA information pack and Qualidata's online catalogue record.

Record entered by Nadeem Ahmad of Qualidata, UK Data Archive, University of Essex.

Other Finding Aids

A Collection level record for all paper based materials in the Affluent Worker data collection is available via Qualidata's online catalogue, Qualicat.

Conditions Governing Use

No part of the NSPSCA collections may be reproduced, published, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form, or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the Albert Sloman Library. This may be obtained by application to the Librarian or Deputy Librarian.

Users may only quote a maximum of 500 words in any subsequent article or book.


The materials held in the collection contain personal and identifying information. It is essential that the privacy of all respondents is not infringed. No real names or any other identifiable information used in the studies may appear in public. No attempt may be made to contact respondents directly. Use of the materials to derive information relating specifically to an identified individual or to claim to have done so is prohibited.

Appraisal Information

In consultation with academic colleagues, the library special collections acquisitions staff evaluate collections by assessing their relevance to the teaching and research interests of the University.

Custodial History

The collection was acquired and prepared for archiving by Qualidata in 1998 and deposited in the NSPSCA.


Additional material is expected


Goldthorpe, J. H., Lockwood, D., Bechhofer, F., Platt, J., The Affluent Worker in the Class Structure, (London, Cambridge University Press, 1969) .

Goldthorpe, J. H., Lockwood, D., Bechhofer, F., Platt, J., Political Attitudes and Behaviour, (London, Cambridge University Press, 1968) .

Additional Information

National Social Policy and Social Change Archive (NSPSCA), Albert Sloman Library, University of Essex.