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ICHRE Summer Conference, 21-22 June 2017

Helen Biggs14 June 2017

images from the IOE student union archive

What: A free, two-day conference, held by the International Centre for Historical Research in Education, in association with the Friends of Newsam Library

Where: Cruciform Building, UCL

When: Wednesday 21st and Thursday 22nd June

This year’s ICHRE conference will cover a variety of themes and topics, including the social histories of universities and the history of education in China and East Asia.

Three members of UCL Libraries’ Special Collections, Archives and Records team will be taking part in the conference:

  • Colin Penman, Head of Records, will be delivering the conference’s keynote speech on Redundant women: UCL’s place in the history of women’s higher education
  • Jessica Womack, IOE Archivist, will be speaking on Socialising the IOE: the Student’s Union, and beyond the lecture theatre
  • Kathryn Hannan, IOE Archivist, is taking part in a panel discussion on Teaching history of education through primary sources.

To find out more about this event, and to register for your free place at the conference, click here.

The history of teaching history

utnvbsc2 March 2017

Following a display of some of our history textbooks at UCL Institute of Education which were arranged in a mini-exhibition by our Special Collections Librarian Nazlin Bhimani and viewed by the Minister of State for Schools Nick Gibb, I was lucky to be able to view these today before the exhibition was dismantled. I didn’t realise that we had material from as early as the 17th century. This one from 1648 is from our Brooke Collection and would have been used by tutors and governesses to educate the children of the upper-classes:


Brooke 296: Introduction to History (1648)

It was fascinating to learn how the methods of teaching history have see-sawed over time between the purely factual and the more evidence-based which relied on sources. Also, that there were things going on that we might generally associate with more modern times. There are three good examples of this:

First, the use of local history (and what is around us) was being used in teaching history as early as 1914 . This was suggested by the Board of Education (but they also criticised the fact that dates were not being drummed into the children).

Second, the use of drama as a method of teaching history was pioneered in 1911 by Harriet Finlay-Johnson, headmistress of Little Sompting school in Sussex and was the start of the progressive education movement.

Finally, it is interesting (dare-I-say of contemporary relevance) to note that in 1927, the Board of Education’s “suggestions” contained a 22-page appendix on the League of Nations promoting the idea of the global citizen and how that concept should be embedded in education.

Overall, a great exhibition showcasing our collections which we would be happy to run again if there is interest.



Postwar textbooks from the 1930s to 40s (technology enables mass and cheap colour productions)

Postwar textbooks from the 1930s and 40s when technology enables mass and cheap colour productions