Dedicated to old Ladybird books - 1914 -1975

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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

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…

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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….

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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…

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History

A Quick History of Ladybird books

I’ve made a new ‘History of Ladybird Books’ presentation. To view it you need to click the arrow at the bottom of the presentation – it might take a few seconds to load. Keep clicking that arrow to advance through…

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Artists, History, Uncategorised

RIP John Berry

I have only just heard that John Berry died just before Christmas, aged 89. When Ladybird was reaching its peak in the 1960s and 70s John Berry was one of the favoured artists. His style is photographic and was the…

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History

A bit of history

I am delighted to have recently acquired the rather odd-looking book in the picture. It was owned (and probably made) by William Murray – author of the Key Word Reading schemes: Peter and Jane and ‘Read with Me’. It’s a…

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