When Bronwen Cohen, director of Children in Scotland, asked for a show of hands from those who had heard of Robert Owen, a paltry dozen or so were raised in the packed lecture room at Strathclyde University.
Even allowing for the number of overseas delegates, this did seem rather remarkable.
Cohen then explained Owen to the pre-school audience. He had established what was effectively Scotland's first nursery school for workers' children at his New Lanark mill in the early 19th century.
It was with some relief that she wasn't asked if Owen had done so as part of a childcare partnership with South Lanarkshire.