100 Years of Ladybird Books

And now for something completely different.

Not a lot of people know that this year marks the centenary of Ladybird Books. That name is redolent with nostalgia for me and I suspect also for many other readers of this blog, as the Ladybird series played a major part in my education. I’ve written on a previous occasion about what a slow learner I was as a child – I didn’t really speak until I well after my third birthday  – but once I got the hang of books I became a voracious reader, with the Ladybird series forming a large part of my diet. Once a month or so on a Friday in the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences we have afternoon tea and cake just to bring staff and students together for an informal gathering. Each time the cake has a different theme and this time we decided to celebrate the centenary of  Ladybird Books, not least because they played such a significant role in my education.

Here is the cake (designed by the inestimable Dorothy Lamb, who also knitted some Ladybird toys for the occasion). The two covers chosen were from the Ladbybird Junior Science Series, Lights, Mirrors and Lenses and Magnets, Bulbs and Batteries both of which editions were published in 1962. Seeing these covers again brought back a flood of memories of my own childhood in the 1960s.


I wish to make it clear that we did request, and were granted, copyright clearance by Penguin Books (who own the Ladybird imprint) to reproduce the covers, not that they lasted very long – about 20 minutes after that picture was taken the cake had been entirely consumed.

Anyway, we weren’t the only people in Sussex to be celebrating the centenary of Ladybird books.  Today (10th May 2015) was the last day of an exhibition called Ladybird by Design at the splendid De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-on-Sea. If you missed it here’s a video describing it.

P.S. I should also mention that one of the interesting things about Sussex University  is the abundance of ladybirds on Falmer campus. I’m not sure what makes it such an attractive residence for these fascinating creatures, but no doubt there will be an entomologist out there who can tell me!

5 Responses to “100 Years of Ladybird Books”

  1. Anton Garrett Says:

    Great books they were too. How about the Ladybird Book of Dark Energy and Matter?

  2. Chris Chaloner Says:

    I had a lecturer who taught acoustics by first showing that the equations were the same as for waveguides – and since we had all done those in electromagnetism it became a piece of cake. Not sure how that would fit with modularisation?

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