Chancing upon Hayward in the Conway Hall Library

Conway Hall Library2Last week, during a break from working in our basement closed stacks, Sally Perry and I happened upon Conway Hall in Red Lion Square.  It is the Ethical Society’s 1920s HQ and has a gem of a library.  The Library has the largest and most comprehensive humanist research resource in the UK – for additional information and a link to the online catalogue go to

Whilst browsing the collection, I came across some books by F. H. Hayward whose library we hold in the IOE’s Special Collections.  This in itself was not surprising as Dr. F. H. Hayward (1872 to 1954), a District Inspector of Schools for the London County Council, was a supporter of the secularist movement and a founding member of the Moral Instruction League which was set up to further ethical and civic teaching in schools on a non-theological basis.

Hayward worked tirelessly for 32 years for the cause of elementary education in the poorest districts of East London.  He was a prolific writer and teacher who was well known among the profession during the early part of the 20th century.  He wrote thirty books and numerous journal articles on the theoretical foundation for teaching moral education and education for citizenship.  These writings were published in the key education-related journals of the time including Educational Review, School, School World, Journal of Education, Times Educational Supplement, Child Study and Journal of Proceedings of the Child-Study Society. Hayward is perhaps best known for his new method of moral instruction that attempted to inculcate the values of good citizenship.  This was his ‘Celebration’ method.

Hayward 1The first Director of the Institute of Education (which was then the London Day Training College), Sir John Adams, was a personal friend and mentor.  He thought highly of Hayward, stating in a personal letter to the author (which is reprinted in Hayward’s autobiography, An Educational Failure, p. 152):


The more I consider you and your educational work, the more I regard you as a figure in the history of education rubbing shoulders with Comenius and Pestalozzi and rousing the writer’s wonder at the inability of your contemporaries to appreciate the value of your contribution.  The time will come when light will break … and you will be raised to the pedestal which is being silently prepared for you.

Upon its publication, the autobiography was largely reviewed favourably by the press (according to the publicity material pasted into Hayward’s own copy of the book – see R. Rawnsley, p. 343). Adjectives and phrases such as ‘moving’, ‘instructive’, ‘fresh’, ‘vital’, ‘engagingly candid’, ‘of profound interest’, ‘original thinking’, ‘forceful’, ‘sane’ are just some of the words that describe the book.  The autobiography is part of the Hayward Library held in the IOE’s Special Collections and includes both the books that influenced Hayward’s thinking and the books and pamphlets on the importance of moral education that were published from his home after his retirement from the London County Council.  More information on the Hayward Collection is at:



About Nazlin Bhimani

Research Support and Special Collections Librarian, UCL Institute of Education, London
This entry was posted in History of Education, Library and Archives, Special Collections and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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