Dedicated to old Ladybird books - 1914 -1975

Category

History

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

Collecting Ladybird books, History

100 years … of what?

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…

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History, News & reviews

The Ladybird Story – My Review

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…

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Artists, History

The Ladybird Book that never was

  The original Kenney versions and a 1978 version When I met John Kenney’s relative (see last post) she asked me whether Ladybird had ever published a book in the Robin Hood series called ‘The Spy’. The reason for this…

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Artists, History

The evolution of Tootles

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…

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History, Society

What To Look For – In Vain

A few weeks ago, I was searching through my Ladybird Books, looking for a suitable picture to use for the commemoration of the D-Day Landings.  It proved very hard to find anything – and reminded me how very few pictures…

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History

Today in Ladybird history …

Recently I’ve been having a lot of fun sending daily tweets along the lines of: on this day in history … I find a historical fact and then illustrate it with a relevant picture from a Ladybird Book. Here’s are…

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History, Reading schemes

Remembering William Murray

As the recent documentary on Ladybird Books made clear, William Murray, creator – with McNally – of Peter and Jane, was a commited educationalist.  His methodical, scientific approach  to the teaching of literacy was what first enthused Douglas Keen and…

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Events, History

Amidst all the kerfuffle

about the Timeshift documentary, a reminder of the forthcoming Ladybird ‘Centenary’: http://www.loughboroughecho.net/news/local-news/plans-pipeline-mark-ladybird-books-6414378

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