Child Education Magazine

These rich illustrations by Linda Birch and Monique Partridge come from one of the Museum’s most recent acquisitions. In May we were given seventy-five editions of Child Education Magazines from 1950 to 1975. Added to an existing collection, we now have over 50 years of editions from 1920 to 1975, published by Evans Brothers Ltd. of Russell Square, London.

These magazines were produced for teachers of nursery to primary-age children, and are bursting with creative ideas. Each one features a pull-out of richly coloured poster or a nature scene, which was intended to inspire creative story-telling; there is so much music on these pages, with lyrics for traditional songs and new compositions, alongside arrangements for voice and piano. Sections on ‘Happenings’ and ‘Things’ share ideas for fundraising, offer reviews of books, toys and equipment, and generally offer a network of support and encouragement for those looking to develop new and interesting methods of teaching very young children.

The magazines will be kept in the library at the Museum of Childhood, and will be available – like all our books and journals – to view by appointment.

July 1953

April 1960

October 1972

Spring 1973

The covers of the magazines are an interesting case study in the representation of children; there is relatively little sentimentality. The black and white pictures on the covers of the 1950s magazines instead show children absorbed in their own activities. As time goes on, there are increased instances of idyllic pastorals of children in ‘nature’, with animals or in the countryside. In the 1960s and 70s, some of the illustrated covers become almost psychedelic, combining strange objects, plants and people in colourful line drawings.

The adverts too are revealing – new toys such as the Abbatt’s train set appear in a magazine dedicated to the railways. The Museum archive contains extensive material on Paul and Marjorie Abbatt, so it is fascinating to see the contexts within which their toys were advertised. For its topicality, look at this advert for Punch’s Toothpaste, in a mouth-watering array of flavours.

The readership of Child Education must have been lively, interesting teachers, passionate about trying new things and doing the best for the children in their tutelage. Articles on emerging psychological theory, educational spaces, and pedagogy give an academic underpinning to the crafts and poems printed to be cut and copied.

This particular set of magazines was collected (and kept very carefully) by Lois DeLyle-Turner, a teacher of many years who taught in London, Malaya and Marlborough. Lois (1924 – 2011) did her initial teacher training in Elephant & Castle, but after a few years set off to Malaya to take up a headship. In her later career as a deputy head in primary schools and then Mayor in Marlborough, Lois dedicated herself to the profession. She pursued a psychology degree, became a trade union representative, and devoted much time and energy to the wellbeing of children more widely.

A woman who went to Malaya alone shortly after the War must have had an intrepid curiosity about the world, and a certain fearlessness. In her later years, Lois wrote about her experience in the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRENS) from 1943 to 1946. After training, she was posted to a base in Scotland where she met up with her brother who was in the air force. He took her for a ride in his Swordfish biplane:

“We flew over the Isle of Arran. Going into a steep dive, I slipped under as I was half standing, half perching on the seat. As I disappeared, the Swordfish being ‘open plan’ as it were, Malcolm just leaned over and pulled me up by my parachute straps! Ah those were the days.”[1]

When I read about this thrilling experience, I thought how Lois’s retelling must have delighted the children who got to hear that story.  I can understand why Lois would have placed value on a set of magazines that offered both realism and inspiration. In Child Education, youngsters are taught about the oil industry, food production and road building, as well as singing songs about conkers and cutting out pictures of castles and submarines.

Although the magazines can now go on to be read and enjoyed by generations in the future, I am pleased we can remember where they came from the woman who collected them, and lived, with such enthusiasm and dedication.

[1] Extracts from Lois’s memoirs are courtesy of her daughter, Belinda.

Tagged , , ,

12 thoughts on “Child Education Magazine

  1. So pleased to see that Child Education is now represented online. I have a few copies from 1963-4 but this is a rich trove indeed.

  2. […] is from the  Museum of Childhood (UK) which recently acquired another seventy-five editions of the magazine from 1950-1975 : The […]

  3. Adrian Atkins says:

    I have a large collection of Child Education magazines from the 1930’s to the 1960’s. Also a few copies of Pictorial Education and Teachet’s World if anyone is interested in acquiring them. Email or call me on 07445 874543

  4. Retired teacher says:

    I too have lots of back copies of Child Education dating back to the late 70s / early 80s , up to 2009. They’re not all intact, as I have taken posters etc out of some of them, but I’m very loathe to throw them away. If anyone is willing to pick them up, they are very welcome to them.

  5. Patricia Houghton (nee Ireland) says:

    I first came across Child Education when I was on a teaching working holiday in the UK from 1954 to 1956. Some few years after my return home I ordered them from my local newsagent and even had about six speech rhymes published including “I saw a slippery slithery snake” in about 1961 or early ’62 which made me quite chuffed. It was a splendid magazine and very relevant to my work with “Infants”. It is lovely to see that it has its own website.

  6. Elizabeth says:

    I have recently retired from teaching and am having a declutter. I have several copies of Child education but have removed pictures and articles from some of the copies.I am so glad I decided to Google to see if there was anything about the magazine on the web.I am now reluctant to part with them . If I lived nearer to Lon don would have taken them to the museum of childhood as I never considered that they may be a historical record about children.
    Elizabeth Townsend

  7. David says:

    1 Have 10 or so copies from 1928 to 1935… Any ideas what I can do with these??

    • Alice Sage says:

      Hi David, I don’t think that the main childhood museums would take them, as its not a large collection. But perhaps a local museum might be interested. The posters inside are beautiful, especially from those early issues, and could find collectors if you put them ebay or similar.
      Good luck.

  8. Alice Sage says:

    Hi David, their value is mainly historic or aesthetic rather than financial.

  9. Sue Wadhams says:

    I am having a massive clear out at home! I have all of 1969 Child Education magazines apart from August altough perhaps wasn’t published in the summer? Any good to you or for the recycling box? I went on to Loughborough and taught for 40 years, 20 as a headteacher!

    • Alice Sage says:

      Hi Sue, the V&A are not accepting any more donations at the moment while they work on museum refurbishment. If you have the time to put them on eBay, you might find interested collectors. They aren’t worth much but they are very beautiful and interesting.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: