Let me tell you story. This is a story that has a moral, only I’m not quite sure what it is. Once upon a time there was a Ladybird book about a little red hen and some grains of wheat….Read more
- About Me
What do I mean by ‘History’? Actually a couple of different things.
When did Ladybird books begin?
Well it depends what you count as a Ladybird book. The company behind them, Wills & Hepworth, started printing the occasional children’s book as long ago as 1914 – but these are very different from the books we associate with the brand.Books in the distinctive Ladybird format first appeared in 1940. The next key date is 1972, when the company was sold at the height of its success. Success gradually waned – although the decision to close down UK printing altogether in 1999 remains controversial. On various blog posts here you will find parts of the story, which I’ll draw together some time soon. In the meantime, here’s a brief summary
‘History’ too can refer to the biographies of the key players – especially the artists, so you’ll find a lot of information here.
It can also refer to the biggest series of Ladybird books, the History series, mainly written by L du Garde Peach and illustrated by John Kenney. Either way, you should find quite a lot of information in the posts below
In common with Basil Fawlty, golden-age Ladybird books try not to mention the war. This to some extent reflects the spirit of the age – of the 1950s to 70s – to look forward, not backwards, towards a constructive, technology-driven future. …Read more
Myself, John Grindrod and Tim Dunn gave a talk in October 2016 at the Conway Hall. The talk, chaired by Samira Ahmed, had a long and complicated title but was about ideas of modernism and the future in the ‘golden…Read more
‘A’ isn’t always for ‘apple’. The question is, was ‘A’ ever for ‘Armoured Train’ ? (Bear with me; this IS leading somewhere). There were lots of different Alphabet books produced by Ladybird over the years and there’s a story that…Read more
It’s finally here. Let the party begin. A centenary of Ladybird Books. It says so here, and here …and here … Radio programmes and newspaper articles and exhibitions and celebratory re-publishing … Some starting now, lots in the pipeline. Expect…Read more
The Ladybird Book Story is a new publication based on a PhD thesis by Lorraine Johnson and co-written by Brian Alderson; published by The British Library. Here’s a very quick summary of what I’m going to say for those who…Read more
Last month I had a truly Ladybird-Geeky treat. I met up with Ladybird artist John Kenney’s closest surviving relative and, over a very pleasant lunch, enjoyed the pleasure of talking with someone who shares my passion for these pictures and…Read more