An Irish-Cockney Village in the East End

Ellen Delay’s attendance medal, 1900. B.14-1995

This medal was awarded to Ellen Delay, a pupil at St Patrick’s School, Wapping in 1900. It’s a bit different from the medals awarded by the School Board for London I wrote about here. It has no portrait of the Queen, and the metal is a bit lighter. The name of the student is engraved, but so is the year, which suggests they weren’t minted annually. And also, significantly, the name of the school is included. Continue reading

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Never Absent, Never Late

School Attendance Medals in the Museum of Childhood

The British state first became seriously involved in the schooling of its citizens in 1870. A series of inquiries and investigations over the previous decade had revealed an education system of great complexity, supported by structures of inequality and incompetence. To resolve this, the Elementary Education Act of 1870 took the responsibility away from families and gave it to local councils. It was now down to these elected officials to ensure every child had access to a school place (and not just those children from professional or artisan families). In order to provide these places, local authorities were required to establish School Boards, which in turn could build and staff new schools.[1] Continue reading

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Child Education Magazine

These rich illustrations by Linda Birch and Monique Partridge come from one of the Museum’s most recent acquisitions. Continue reading

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Gus Wood the Punch Professor

A few weekends ago, Punch and Judy performers from across the country gathered in Covent Garden to celebrate the 350 year anniversary of the first recorded puppet show in Britain to feature Mr Punch. This summer at the V&A Museum of Childhood we are marking the milestone with a display showing the history of this rambunctious and controversial character.

Find out more about Happy Birthday, Mr Punch

But there’s another anniversary to mark. In the Museum’s Upper Galleries, visitors can see a Punch and Judy booth first used 100 years ago. It is tall and narrow, made of faded blue, yellow and white striped fabric, with columns each side of a stage painted to resemble marble.

Gus Wood's Punch and Judy Booth

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