Dedicated to old Ladybird books - 1914 -1975



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

Events, History

Amidst all the kerfuffle

about the Timeshift documentary, a reminder of the forthcoming Ladybird ‘Centenary’:

Read more
Art, Artists, History

B H Robinson – Ladybird artist

I’ve just made a new page about the life and work of the Ladybird artist B H Robinson. He illustrated a large number of books for Ladybird in the late 70s and 80s, including ‘Horses’ ‘Dogs’ and many of the…

Read more
Collecting Ladybird books, History

Puffin Picture Books

Why did Ladybird become so successful through the 1950s and 60s? With the steer of Douglas Keen, Ladybird began to commission more and more non-fiction titles.  These titles clearly filled a gap in the educational market and I have read…

Read more

Reading on the tube

A couple of good friends visited me from the USA this summer. Of course they wanted to visit London and were especially keen to see The Tower of London. Since you get more out of a visit when you know…

Read more
History, Nostalgia

Sniffup? Spotera

If that means anything to you, you may have been in the Puffin Club as a child. Or perhaps you still are 🙂 This weekendI read an article on Puffin Books, and for many of us, there is a real…

Read more
Artists, History

Toys and Games

Here’s the 4th episode of the story behind some of Robert Ayton’s Ladybird artwork, as told by his nephew. This one is my personal favourite so far, as I loved this book as a child. Click on the book below….

Read more
Artists, History, Uncategorised

Robert Norton Ayton

I’ve added a new biography page to Below you’ll find a biography of Robert Norton Ayton, illustrator of many Ladybird Books from the ‘golden age’ of the 1960s and 70s. You’ll find it here Coming soon: Reminiscences of Ayton’s life…

Read more