Tag Archives: children

A school prize

School prizeBooks in Special Collections aren’t here just because of their subject matter. Many of them are unique because of their ownership history or how they have been used in the past. Every-day life on the railroad, a book belonging to our Transport History Collection, has an inscription inside revealing that it was originally purchased in 1901 to be awarded as a school prize for “perfect attendance and perseverance” to a boy called Armstrong.

From him, it somehow made its way to the railway historian, David Garnett, and formed part of his bequest to the library in 1984. Garnett was born in 1909, so I wonder at what point the book passed into his hands?

Railroad life

The book itself was published by the Religious Tract Society, and seems a strange choice of subject matter for a religious group. The Society originally published evangelical material, but from the 1860s onwards also published material aimed at children and women. The majority of this book covers the history of the railways in Britain, and only the appendix is religious, entitled Christian work on the railway, about the work of the Railway Mission (something which featured in our blog post last year about the Up and Down Lines poster).

As well as books, the Garnett Collection, includes many  railway maps, particularly those produced from 1869 by John Airey, an employee of the Railway Clearing House (RCH), and subsequently by the RCH itself. It also includes Ordnance Survey maps and railway maps produced by the various railway companies and catalogues and research notes made by Garnett himself.

Marcus the mole

Recently we received a donation of four issues of Tunnel Express to add to our Channel Tunnel Association ArchiveTunnel Express is aimed at children, featuring Marcus the mole as a guide to the world of tunnels. All four issues were published in 1988, the year that construction finally began on the Channel Tunnel. The magazines feature quizzes, games and information about tunnelling animals, and the tunnel itself. It obviously got a great response from teachers, as the second issue features letters and drawings sent in by schools who had read the first issue.


© Copyright Groupe Eurotunnel

Tunnel Express isn’t the only item in Special Collections aimed at children. Marcus the mole also features in a book in the Channel Tunnel Association Archive called The Tunnel. In it Marcus wants to meet up with his cousin Pierre, who lives in France. Between them they come up with the idea of digging a tunnel and, combating the monsters under the sea bed, as well as le Rat-Bureaucrate and Techno-Rat, along the way, their tunnels finally meet. Published in 1993, the year before the Tunnel was officially opened, the book is a fun way to get children reading both English and French.

DSC00362Other children’s book in this collection aren’t fictional! The story of tunnels is aimed at children, but features information and illustrations from tunnelling organisations, and is quite serious, including an index and detailed diagrams.

TunnelsThese aren’t the only children’s books in our collections. You can find out more by searching the library catalogue.