The provenance of the Baines Collection

Baines 28 Stories for children chiefly confined to words of two syllables 1

BAINES 28: Stories for children : chiefly confined to words of two syllables by William Darton (1822)

This afternoon I was tidying in the Special Collections when I came across a letter relevant to the provenance of the Baines Collection.  I thought I would share with you some of this information in terms of piecing together the existing information with the content of the letter and give you some idea of what is contained in this fascinating collection.    Before I do this, however, I must acknowledge the work of my colleague Antony Daws did in researching the genealogy of Baines Family for I have used some of his findings below.

The donors

The Baines Collection of children’s books was donated to the Ministry of Education between 1955 and 1962 by Miss Margaret Eyre and her niece Alicia Constance Percival. Only the children’s books came to the Institute in 1992 from the Ministry (which had by this date, changed its name to the Department of Education) and other items in the Baines/Eyre/Percival collections are held by other archives and repositories.  The two most notable collections of material are the Baines/Percival papers in the Bodleian Library, and Eyre Papers in the Pitt-Rivers Museum. The Victoria & Albert Museum also holds a Burmese wall hanging donated by Miss Eyre.

The majority of the books in this collection belonged to the children of the Reverend Edward Baines, Miss Eyre’s maternal grandfather and many of them have hand-written dedications or the names of their original owners, nineteen of whom are members of the family of Miss Eyre’s mother, Lucy Dorothea Eyre (née Baines) (whose father was Edward John Baines [1801-1881] vicar of Bluntisham in Huntingdon, and later of Yalding in Kent). Other books in the collection can be linked by dedication to members of the extended Eyre and Percival families.

Margaret Eyre (9/12/1874 – 11/8/1963) was the only child of Gervas Selwyn Eyre (1851 – 1920) and Lucy Dorothea Baines (1849 – 1938). Further information about Miss Eyre is contained in book published by Alicia Percival which is entitled ‘Aunt Margaret : reminiscences of Margaret Eyre 1874-1963, compiled in 1974 by her niece, Alicia C. Percival’.  Copies are available in the British Library, Bodleian, and the Women’s Library (which also holds Alicia Percival’s personal papers). The biography includes material written by Miss Eyre.

The letter

Letter from Alicia C. Percival

Letter from Alicia C. Percival      (June 1962)

Alicia Percival (1907-1987) was a trained teacher who, after the Second World War became the Vice Principal and then Principal of Forest Training College (1945-1950), and later Vice Principal and Principal Lecturer in Education at Trent Park Training College (1950-1966). She wrote several books on education as well as a study of the Victorian writer Charlotte M Yonge (London:  Harrap, 1948) which she co-authored with Margaret Mare. Some of her books are in the Institute’s Library. She was awarded a Ph.D. at the Institute of Education in 1968.

A letter was found in one of the books in the Collection (Royal Reader No. 1) which provides evidence both of how children were taught to read at home by family and confirms that the collection was deposited in parts  and not as a complete collection in 1955 as it was previously thought.   Alicia Percival reminisces, “I learnt to read from this book, when I was 4 ½ years old. My grandmother, Constance Baines, taught me in her bedroom every morning. I remember the earlier lessons from a paper book called STEP BY STEP quite well, but these less vividly.”  Unfortunately, I have not been able to find this book but I suspect she meant Pinnock’s 1859 First Steps to Knowledge.

The collection

The collection consists of 200 books which date from 1700 to 1920.   There are both story books and books of general knowledge prepared for children’s recreation and instruction in the 18th, 19th and the early part of the 20th centuries.  They include readers, geography and history books and books on the use of grammar.  There are also many fiction books, many of which have a moral theme.

Some of the books were clearly used by adult members of the family to understand the philosophy and techniques of teaching and imparting moral instruction.  These include the 1762 edition of Rousseau’s  Émile , Smith’s 1858 publication entitled The parents cabinet of amusement and instruction and the 1785 edition of The pleasing instructor, or Entertaining moralist :  consisting of select essays, relations, visions and allegories collected from those eminent English authors to which are prefixed new thoughts on education edited with an introduction by A. Fisher.  Although there are a few foreign language items, most of the books are in English.

This is a rich collection of primary sources for anyone researching the history of literacy, moral instruction and education in England from the 19th to the first two decades of the twentieth centuries.  The books are listed in the Library Catalogue and can be requested to be viewed in the Archives Reading Room.

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British Colonial Education Policy and the Use of Indigenous Languages

p1 of Logoiywek

p2 of Logoiywek








Some time ago, whilst working in the closed stacks at Emerald Street I came across sections of a newsletter in Nandi which I found by chance tucked away in one of the historical textbooks.  It is dated from the early 1950s when there was a real push by Africans   towards ensuring the transmission of indigenous education particularly to the adult population.  With the newsletter is a typewritten draft (on tracing paper) of a short article which was written for the Community Development Bulletin (June 1952). It provides some background information on the Nandi and why the newsletter was published:

The Nandi are a pastoral, cattle-rearing people of about 120,000, most of whom (81,000) are living in the Rift Valley in the North-west of Kenya.  They are a Nilo-Hamitic tribe, and were once great and fierce warriors.  Education and advanced methods of agriculture are still little developed among this very conservative people, in spite of the efforts of missionaries and officials.  Many join the Kenya African Reserve and Kenya Police; they are a loyal and self-respecting tribe and the lack of education does not, as in Central Province, combine with the problems of greatly increased population, to cause political discontent.

In June 1950, Mr. J. M. Popkin, then Assistant principal at the Government African School at Kapsabet, began the publication of a vernacular news-sheet “Logoiywek”, which simply means “news”. It was intended as a means of preserving and extending Nandi literacy, and of fostering an interest among Nandi in the development of their own district.  It was, at first, a free monthly news-sheet printed on the school Gestetner machine, with a limited circulation which rose under Mr. Popkin’s perseverance and good editorship from about one hundred to nearly three hundred, as it began to be appreciated by the Nandi.

…. Circulation has increased steadily from the first (March 1951) printing of 550, to well over 1500 (October 1951…. The co-operation of the “East African Standard” and later of the Government Printer enabled the editors to include line-drawings and photo-blocks.

Regular contributions are received form the Agricultural Livestock and Health Officers.  The remaining articles, including replies to letters, are written by the Editor, (now District Officer, Kapsabet) who is advised by other Government officers or chiefs or other notable members of the tribe.  When space can be spared, advertisements are inserted for firms in Eldoret or else-where in or near the Reserve, for the East African Literature Bureau, or for Government Departments.  Distribution, apart from the general public, is to Provincial and District Officials, chiefs, Army and Police Units, and free copies go to many training centres where young Nandi have gone to learn but do not yet get a full wage.  Perhaps some may soon be seen in Malaya, with Third Battalion, Kenya African Reserve!

By keeping alive the faculty of reading and stimulating interest in the affairs and development of the tribe as a whole, and by offering news, information, and entertainment, “Logoiywek”, the vernacular newspaper in the Nandi language, is helping – in a small way – adult eduction in Kenya.

The history of ‘native education’ is a long and interesting one.  As Clive Whitehead writes, the Advisory Committee on Native Education in British Tropical Africa tabled a draft memorandum on The Place of the Vernacular in Native Education in April 1925 which was circulated to all of Britain’s Africa colonies along with a list of provisional conclusions on which they invited comment. The conclusions were:

  • The mother tongue should be the basis and medium of all elementary education
  • The place for the teaching of English was in the secondary school
  • Only secondary age pupils intending to continue their studies should be taught English, for everyone else the vernacular should be the medium of instruction except for the subjects English, science and mathematics (Whitehead, 1995, p. 3).

But indigenous education has always been in existence. The inclusion of the mother tongue in the school is as much about retaining a cultural identity as it is about making education accessible.  A UNESCO newsletter from 2003 states the following about the mother tongue:

Language and identity are linked – as the term ‘mother tongue’ implies. A healthy identity balances different aspects of our personalities. A community expresses part of its identity in its languages of instruction and a healthy society makes choices that promote harmonious communities and confident individuals. Fortunately these goals are usually congruent.

Continue reading

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Finding inspiration on a stormy weekend: Curriculum Resource ideas from the SLA

Andy Riley on librarians

Illustration of Evil Emperor Nurbison by Andy Riley, 2016

Like many institutions concerned with teacher training the UCL Institute of Education has, as part of its library, a collection of resources for use in the classroom. This collection has two roles: to show what is available to support teaching and to provide material student teachers can take on their school experience placements.

As the focus of the collection is on what is currently available, new material is constantly being added and older material is removed and considered for our Historical Textbook and Classroom Teaching Materials collection. Finding new material for this collection is both a delight and a challenge. So much is produced but only a selection can be purchased so I felt particularly fortunate to have the opportunity recently to meet a group of people at the cutting edges of producing and using these resources. It was at the School Library Association (SLA) annual weekend training course in Gloucestershire and it brought together both the creators (authors, illustrators and publishers) and the users (in this case school librarians). Here are a few things I learned…

Keep calm and carry on

The weekend was highly charged in more ways than one. Most people arrived as the outcome of the EU referendum became clear, and regardless of one’s in/out persuasion the news took some absorbing. Several European countries were represented among the delegates and while there were many discussions of the vote, people were keen to carry on with the business in hand and talk about schools and libraries. Some felt the run up to the referendum had drawn even more attention to the need to make available to school children the resources and skills to make informed choices in such a rapidly changing world.

And as if to highlight the tension the weekend was peppered with thunderstorms – the most dramatic taking place during a Skype session with author Katherine Rundell, stuck in Italy but valiantly delivering her talk about Wolf Wilder as thunder crashed around us.

Know the power of stories (and related pictures)

Stories – in the form of novels, folktales and picture books – are a crucial part of our Curriculum Resources collection. We aim to provide both classics and new writing to help student teachers with literacy work, and to assist them in developing an enthusiasm for reading in their classroom. Several of the speakers addressed the importance of stories, like author Andy Robb who worked with his audience to show that everyone has an exceptional story to tell, not least school librarians. When readers connect with these stories they get hooked on reading. SF Said (who opened our own Children’s Book Corner in 2015) revealed that the story that had ‘hooked’ him was Watership Down, and author Mike Revell described how discovering Harry Potter was pivotal in leading him to read and eventually write. Several speakers emphasised the crucial role of adults like librarians, in ensuring that good stories are put in the hands of young readers.

Other speakers considered the issue of how illustration works to enhance these stories. Jim Kay, for example, masterfully demonstrated how he brought his own experience, influences and creativity to illustrating the Harry Potter books, while adhering carefully to JK Rowling’s words.

Many children’s publishers were present and keen to talk to delegates about new titles. It seemed a testament to the publishers’ appreciation of the key role school librarians play that they came laden with proof copies of new publishing which were eagerly snapped up. As ever I was struck by how much of their stock school librarians have to read in order to do their work effectively.

Consider books – but not just books

The resources in the CR collection are essentially tools to be used in the classroom. The optional sessions during the weekend provided an excellent opportunity to learn about what these tools can achieve in expert hands. As one would expect books featured significantly, with sessions on reading for pleasure and award shadowing for example. But in their quest to support and inspire learning it was clear that the speakers, trainers and delegates had a much broader view of what constitutes the right tool for the job. Tech was high on the agenda with a discussion session, for example, on the impact of book blogging and vlogging. Annie Brady, SLA school librarian of the year, gave an inspiring workshop on how she is using board games in her library in St Paul’s CBS Secondary School, Dublin to support both literacy and numeracy. Before giving practical advice on selecting the games and the opportunity to try some out, Annie described an impressive array of benefits from number and shape recognition, to critical thinking, problem solving and developing empathy and social skills. The programme also provides a link with families and it seemed to set the library up as a fun, constructive and refreshingly surprising place to be.

From school library to academic library

I came away from the weekend with a long wish list of resources and new ideas about selecting stock to deliver stories, information and skills. Speaking to so many people dedicated to encouraging reading and information literacy left me with an increased appreciation of the many issues relevant also to academic libraries: the need to see your service through your users’ eyes, to engage, to innovate and to find the highest quality resources and spread the word about them. And perhaps most motivating of all was the sense that if children can have positive library experiences in school, they are likely to come and find good library experiences at university.

Special thanks to Andy Riley and Hachette Children’s who provided the illustration of Evil Emperor Nurbison to the event.


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Changes in the library this summer

Exciting changes are underway so here are a list of them with some key dates:

26 July – Extra  study spaces

We’ve just had 5 individual study pods and new student workstations installed on L3 (see photos below). When we’ve finished there will be an extra 21 study spaces in the library. All places will have an electricity supply.

1st Aug – remodelled front entrance area

The membership area will be replaced by a more modern “Welcome” desk. The issue desk will be removed, opening up the space to allow for the self service machines to be located in a central cluster, giving better access. Another machine and an additional book return box will be added at a later stage.

We will be also be introducing self-service collection of reserved items. The enquiry desk will be redesignated as a help point. Staff assistance will be available as usual, so please do ask for help if you have any queries.

10th Aug – UCL Library Management System migration

The library is migrating to the UCL Library Management System for borrowing books. From this date, you will need to use UCL Explore instead of IOE Library Search in order to find IOE Library materials. Your loans will be transferred automatically. To log into your library account, you will need to use your UCL barcode (on your ID card) and PIN. Further details are available here. Note that access to e-resources will be unchanged.

Here are some photo’s from the most recent work:

New study stations with lamps which give even workspace coverage…


Pods for private study:


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Don’t judge a collection by its title

You could potentially be missing out on a great read or an entertaining DVD if you find the name ‘Education in Literature Collection’ off putting. The criteria for inclusion in the Collection is ‘novels, poetry, plays and DVDs about the educational experience at all levels and from the viewpoint of both pupils and staff’. But there is plenty of scope within that remit to cover several different genres.

It may be surprising but the genre with the most titles is that of crime fiction. There are books by British stalwarts including The Night of the Twelfth / Michael Gilbert  and Cat among the pigeons / Agatha Christie. More recent titles from Britain include The Ofsted murders / Gary Sargent and Gentlemen and players / Joanne Harris. Crime novels from America include The Secret history / Donna Tartt ,The Lake of dead languages / Carol Goodman and A Death in the faculty / Amanda Cross.

There are novels that prove the universal appeal of the crime genre including A Land without Jasmine / Wajdi al-Ahdal from Yemen, Secrets and lies / Jaishree Misra from India and Ancient rites / Diale Tlholwe from South Africa.

On a lighter note books to make you laugh include Spud / by John van de Ruit ,Teacher, Teacher! : the alternative school logbook, 1977-1978 / Jack Sheffield or Skippy dies / Paul Murray. SPUD2

Books which can be described as ‘a good long read’ include To Serve them all my days / R. F. Delderfield, The Power of one / Bryce Courtenay or South Riding : an English landscape / Winifred Holtby.

If plays are your thing we have several including The History boys / Alan Bennett, Educating Rita / Willy Russell or the classic The Browning version : a play in one act / Terence Rattigan. We also have DVDs of film versions of all three plays.History Boys

For those of you who prefer your reading to have a more factual basis we have a selection of biographies including Teacher Man : a memoir / Frank McCourt , The Unexpected professor : an Oxford life in books / John Carey  or A Good school : life at a girls’ grammar school in the 1950s / Mary Evans.

Those of you who enjoyed reading boarding school stories when you were younger could try Cracks / Sheila Kohler, Friendly fire / Patrick Gale or The Cactus Valley Boarding School / Sandra Joy.

There really is something for everyone because if you want a scary read try The Perils and dangers of this night / Stephen Gregory. For fans of Science Fiction there is Flowers for Algernon / Daniel Keyes .Nancy Spain


Novels with LGBT themes include Poison for teacher/Nancy Spain, She’s my dad/ Iolanthe Woulff and Embrace/ Mark Behr.

Please come and have a browse through the collection on Level 4 of the Library. Even if you do not find a book that takes your fancy you may find a DVD to watch.



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My Trip to the British Library by Shanaz Durrant

On my regular commute to UCL IOE, I often walk past the British Library and see the queues of people from the public waiting to go in, and whilst I signed up to be a member a few years back, I never thought I would have the opportunity to go “behind the scenes” and be shown around the basements of the British Library…

The building itself is a wonder to look at from the outside and when you get into the foyer, it is hard to believe that the building is 43 years old. For you historians out there, the British Library was established in 1972 as part of the British Library Act 1972 and the collections that this beautiful building holds began their development when the British Library was part of the British Museum.

As we were introduced to some of the staff who worked there and made our way to the lifts (one of many as I was going to discover…), it was clear that this trip was going to be an enlightening one.

Whilst making our way down to the basements, we were informed how deep we were actually going, and to give you a visual of the depth, let’s say that the whole area which the basements occupied under the library is equivalent to 8 storeys (there were four levels in total).

The deeper we went, the quieter and colder it became…and you could clearly hear the sound of the underground trains making their way to their destinations- we were told that the Victoria line passes by one of the basements. It was surreal to think that we were so deep underground as it didn’t feel like we had gone that far at all!


When we arrived at the first section, it was amazing to see the amount of stacks there were and how many books they contained! It made our two onsite library stacks look miniscule compared to just this area… and there were more to see. The first section was like a maze and had the most intricate and most resourceful system I have ever seen when it came to fetching the requested items for the readers who wanted to see them.

There was what you could describe as a “rollercoaster ride for the books” aka the ‘mechanical pulmonary system’. The staff who worked in this department placed the requested books into a plastic tray and then sent them on their merry way onto the pulmonary system and on to their designated area upstairs. From there, the books were taken to the specific reading rooms for the readers. BL 2Now this system really impressed me as it worked- most of the time I was told- so well that it is able to keep up with the demand from the general public and with the collections which consist of around 170,000,000 items. You can definitely say that having some mechanical help is well needed to ensure that everyone is happy and the collections are able to be seen.

As we made our way through the different basements, it was clear to see that this library is a treasure chest of books and collections, written in different languages, scripts and from vastly different historical periods. To read the entire collection, on the basis of reading 5 items a day, it would take you around 80,000 years to read everything, so it is safe to say that the British Library holds reading content, which in its entirety, you would never be able to be read in your lifetime- but you could at least try!

As we reached the final basement, we were able to look at the maps of the UK that dated back to the 1500s, and it was fascinating to see the intricate detail of the hand drawn maps of the boroughs and counties around England and the United Kingdom. I even got to see my hometown, which I never even knew dated back as far as then! At the end of the trip we made our way through the labyrinth (it really would be easy to lose yourself down there…) and back to the “real world”.

I would highly recommend visiting, when the next opportunity to go and see the basements in the British Library arises, because even though you get to look around the main library, it is easy to forget that this is a library which has the second largest collection of books in the world. That being said, when you go to the British Library next… never judge a book by its cover.

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A visit to the House of Lords: Teas, Tours and Policy Papers

We are justly proud of our Official Publications Collection here at the Library; our print holdings reflect the development of state education policy since the nineteenth century and of course we continue to preserve and protect born digital government publications through our Digital Education Resource Archive (DERA). As the Official Publications Librarian, one of the elements of the role that has always appealed to me is that the collection also contains material that is not quite “official”. We collect selected publications from the major political parties (as well as some interesting material from some of the smaller ones) and we also add material produced by pressure groups and others with an interest in educational policy.


We continue to add to our printed collection and often this is through kind offers of donations from individuals who have worked in the sector. We were recently approached by Baroness Sharp of Guildford offering materials related to her work in the House of Lords to the Library and Archives. My colleague Kathryn Meldrum from the Archives and I were honoured to be able to visit Baroness Sharp on the same day that she gave her valedictory speech in the House of Lords on the theme of poverty and education. The first hour or so of our visit was spent identifying materials that we could add to our collection. This included papers and publications produced by the Liberal Democrats as well as a wide variety of publications authored by Charities and Think Tanks. All of these materials will help to further enrich our Official Publications Collection, offering researchers the opportunity to gain deeper insights into the development of educational policy in the UK.

However, I must admit that the real highlight of the day for me was the opportunity to take tea with Baroness Sharp in one of the Tea Rooms of the House of Lords. This was followed by a wonderful tour of the building and an opportunity to sit in on one of the debates (I was glad that I had worn a suit – although I had to borrow a tie to gain admittance to the chamber!). We returned to the IOE with some wonderful donations and memories of quite a remarkable day.

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