Thursday, 29 October 2015

Voluntary Work

I'm really enjoying the work I do at the British Schools Museum. At first, I thought I'd be involved with the groups of children who come for a day's immersion in the educatioal system of the Victorian age. It soon became clear that I was much more comfortable working on the database that is cataloging the thousands of items in the museum's care.

I started with the Ladybird books, part of the Benchmark Collection at the museum.  Then I moved on to the Jill Grey Collection.

My biggest thrill came last week, entering the details for Aunt Charlotte's Stories of English History for Little One's (!873)

Handling a book of such a great age was a priviledge, Although the cover showed signs of wear, the inside was beautiful. The colours of the illustrations and the black ink of the text looked like new.

Today, it was the turn of geography books. My favourite was an original 1867 edition of  The Civil Service Geography: being a manual of geography arranged especially for examination candidates and the higher forms of schools, by Lancelot M. Dalrymple Spence (of HM Civil Service). Lancelot died before the book was completed, so it was finished and edited by Thomas Gray (one of the Assistant Secretaries to the Board of Trade.)

After entering the details of this book into the database, I thought of Anthony Trollope (who worked as a Civil Servant with the Post Office), and his thoughts about the need for entry by examination.  This work really appeals to the historian in me, and allows me to experience what was my second choice of career as a librarian.