Past TimesEd

25th June 2004 at 01:00
75 years AGO JUNE 22, 1929

The remarkable ignorance of London school children concerning their own city is shown in the report of an inspector to the education committee.

Many of them, he states, do not know where St Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, and Buckingham Palace are situated... Probably the most remarkable fact is that one-third of the school children living in Islington have never seen the Thames. This is not necessarily due to the fact that their parents are poor...Mothers are too busy looking after the remaining eight or nine children to take them so far as the Thames. The mothers of smaller families are much too afraid of the traffic to venture thus far from their homes.

50 years AGO. JUNE 25, 1954

A new select committee report on accommodation in the House of Commons contains some astonishing evidence on the uses to which members of Parliament sometimes put their library. It could be discounted if not condoned that on occasion they have left on the shelves such miscellanea as medicine bottles, clothing, private papers and even an empty bottle of Burgundy...But there is worse to come. At the last overhaul some 700 volumes were missing and the signs are that this year the deficit will be even more serious. Moreover, some members who want what they consider a permanent reference for themselves will cheerfully take a pair of scissors and mutilate official papers and periodicals. "We have had,"said the Librarian, "the whole insides of books of a certain sort removed and the covers replaced." All this makes heavy reading for the teachers and librarians who are trying to bring up the young to have some respect for books.

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