Throwback Thursday

While most libraries will fall over themselves to tell people about the new books they’ve had in, we thought we’d have a change and seek out the oldest books we could find in the ILC.

These are our three oldest:

  • Freshford, A Study, by The Rev P. J. Goodrich, published in 1929
  • The Place-Names of Wiltshire, edited by Allen Mawer and F. M. Stenton, published in 1939
  • A History of Everyday Things In England, Pt 4, by M. & C.H.B Quennell, published in 1942.

All are from the history section, and date from when the ILC was part of Fitzmaurice Grammar School, long before St Laurence existed.

The oldest is a history of the small village of Freshford, not too far away from Bradford-on-Avon. It was written by local vicar, Percival John Goodrich.

The place names book from 1939 is a bit dull, but good for the odd fact. For example, Bradford on Avon was originally Bradanforda be Afne in 900AD, and Budbury (one of the names for the school houses) was originally Bodeberie in the Doomsday Book of 1086.

The 1940s history book was written by a couple, Majorie and Charles, who were an artist and an architect respectively. It covers housing, city planning, dress, everyday utensils, transport, and material culture from the mid-19th century through to 1942 – what would today be defined as “social history”. Whilst Charles wrote most of the text, the book is full of Marjorie’s detailed illustrations.

Together all three give a small insight into what life might have been like in Bradford-on-Avon and the local area over the past 100 years.

Get writing!

The BBC have launched their annual 500 words short story competition.

The competition is open to writers up to 13 years old. All you need to do is tell the best story possible in 500 words. What will you write about? Spaceships? Grannies? Cookies? The best day of summer? Snow day surprises?

Check out the BBC 500 words page here. You can submit to this brilliant national competition online. Check out the prizes up for grabs here too! You have until the 8th of March!

Once you’ve finished your story, you can submit it to a school-only competition too! Bring it down to the ILC where Mrs Lown will have a prize for the best one.

Great School Libraries

Are you aware that school libraries are not a requirement and aren’t overseen by ofsted?

Did you know that school libraries do not have a secure source of funding?

We’re lucky to have such an amazing space to call our own, with so many great resources available to all.


Do you think every child deserves to have a place in their school where they can go and browse books and resources specifically aimed at helping their learning?

Please consider supporting the Great School Libraries campaign; sign up here.

The aim is to bring school libraries and librarians back to every school in the UK.

Watch the video for more information:

Pick up a Penguin?

When you think of “iconic” cover designs, what comes to mind?

How about Penguin Classics?

You’ve probably seen them, bold block coloured book covers, but how much do we know about them?

The story goes that Allen Lane (already involved in publishing) ended up on a journey at Exeter train station only to find he had nothing to read. He came up with the idea of paperback books that would be good quality literature but cheap enough for the public to buy. He even had a book vending machine called the ‘penguincubator’ installed outside Henderson’s bookshop in Charing Cross Road. There were concerns that there would be no profit in the venture but when Woolworths put in a bulk order that covered the cost of the whole project Allen’s idea was secured.

Penguin was established as it’s own publishing house in 1935 and has been regularly printing their bright and affordable books ever since.

What is it about Penguin books, though, that gives them lasting appeal?

The front cover; Simple, sleek, bright and eye catching. Colour coded for ease of picking the genre you like. Affordable. Comprehensive.

Three bands of colour, top and bottom matching, with cream in the middle featuring the title and the unmissable logo of the penguin itself.

The colours we know best are the white and bright orange of fiction, but did you know that green covers stand for Crime novels? Dark blue is for biographies and red for drama. It’s a great way to instantly see what genre a novel might be and whether you fancy picking it up.

So what do you think? Do you prefer a simple design like the Penguin classics or do you like your front cover to give you a hint of what might be happening inside?

And of course… we know some things never change!

Mrs Lown reads – We are all made of molecules

This book has been on my to-read pile for ages, but only after a year 7 student persuaded most of his reading class to get it did it finally make it to the top of my list.

The blurb starts with the phrase ‘there are two sides to every story,’ which is completely true, the story is told from the alternating perspectives of Ashley and Stewart who have become part of a blended family after their mum and dad started a relationship.

Ashley and Stewart couldn’t be more different. Ashley is 14, into fashion and being popular but not studying. Stewart is 13 and gifted but doesn’t have a clue how to fit in.

Stewart is an immediately likeable character, he’s funny, individual and full of heart and is definitely the one that keeps the story going at the start. Meanwhile Ashley is… well… hideous. You wouldn’t want her for your worst enemy let alone your new step sister whilst you’re struggling to fit in in a new school.

Suffice it to say that Ashley gets her comeuppance in the end, but I won’t say any more to spoil the surprise!

If you’re looking for a quick read (it only took me an evening), about what it means to learn to live together with all our differences, but also explores more serious questions about consent, the use of technology and whether appearances are all that matters, then this is definitely worth trying.

We have multiple copies in the ILC, so if you want to read with a friend or even a small group, come and speak to the ILC about borrowing them together.