Lustige Geschichten, or “Der Struwwelpeter”

A classic among children’s books, who hasn’t heard of or seen images of “Struwwelpeter” (or “Shockheaded Peter” as he’s called in English)? Peter refuses to wash, comb his hair or cut his nails and is therefore not the most popular of boys, the moral being of course that if you look after yourself, people will like you. Continue reading

At the sea side (Erddig)


Working at Sudbury’s Museum of Childhood has reminded me of other children’s literature I’ve come across over the years. One of the great features of country house libraries is the presence of books aimed at children that have survived the vigorous reading practices of the very young (not quite like the model child on the left, in other words). Continue reading

Calke Abbey: Children’s books

This time, some images from the School Room at Calke Abbey in winter. By now, the house has reopened of course and all the tissue has disappeared to display the books in all their glory.

IMG_1142 IMG_1143 IMG_1144

Erddig, Wrexham (4): More children’s books

IMG_0758Going through the photographs of my cataloguing project at Erddig again over Christmas, I stumbled upon an image of this lovely rocking seat, originally located in the Nursery. As I mentioned before, Erddig is very similar to Calke Abbey: both houses are full of stuff! As with children’s books, much-loved children’s toys tend not to survive, but Erddig is very fortunate to have a large collection of nineteenth and early twentieth-century children’s toys and books. Continue reading

Erddig, Wrexham (2): children’s books


Clip art (copyright unknown)

The survival of children’s books is sometimes one of the great strengths of country house libraries. How many of us still have the books we read as kids? How many books survive the rather unpractised handling skills of young children (my favourite book certainly didn’t make it unscathed…) or the pens, pencils, paint, food, bath water to which these books might be subjected?

Chances are that if a historic children’s book hasn’t become part of a museum or library collection, the odds are much against it. In the past, I’ve catalogued small numbers of nineteenth-century children’s books at Calke Abbey and I was really pleased to find some at Erddig.  Continue reading