Sunday, 31 August 2014

The new History curriculum and The Nursery History of England


So the teaching of history is to be overhauled and all children in primary school are to be taught a chronological history of 'Our Island Story.'  Well three cheers for that.

But if this is to happen schools will need to buy new books and - as luck would have it - I have a copy at my elbow of the very history book which every single child should be given as a basic 'primer' of history.

The Nursery History of England is probably the finest history book ever written. And I don't mean the finest 'childrens' history either -I mean the 'Finest' full stop. What is so horrifying of course is that when it was published, shortly before the Great War, every child in the land was taught the basics of British History and knew the dates of the kings and queens as well as the dates of the key events in the history of our Island. Now - talking to my children's friends - or actually middle aged adults -I am horrified by their complete ignorance.

So what is so brilliant about the Nursery History of England?  In one word- it is pictures. Glorious technicolour pictures as well.  Open the book at random and on one page there will be two beautifully painted pictures of events in history while -on the page opposite- are two short explanatory paragraphs.  My sisters and I poured over this book in our childhood and -if I close my eyes -I can recall many of the pictures from my memory bank. King Alfred burning the cakes, King Cnut ordering back the waves, King John and the Magna Carta, the Empress Matilda fleeing across a snow covered landscape and so on. All the great stories are here.

All right -I will admit - perhaps some of the sentiments and views expressed may jar with some of our friends in the Urban Metropolitan elite.  Take the final entry which concerns King George V's visit to India.

One of the biggest countries which belongs to England is India.  It is very hot and poor English people do not go out there, but just a few English people who help to rule the country. There are a great many Indian princes. A short time ago king George and queen Mary went out to India, and the Indian princes went and bowed down before them to do them honour. Some of them brought presents, and it was a very fine sight. The king and queen wish India to be happy and all the other lands they rule as well.     

Great Stuff - and absolutely true.

3 comments:

  1. I couldn't agree more with your sentiments. Unfortunately the politically correct amongst us are hell bent in sanitising history so as to not upset minorities and other groups, at the expense of our heritage. It's about time that the tables were turnd and they realised that we will not rewrite history for their convenience. We may have gutless leaders now but we were once the envy of the world, now unfortunately our benefits system appears to be the envy of the world as individuals flock here in their thousands to have a slice of the pie! Whilst our tiny island buckles under the strain.
    Keep up the good work, my friends and I always find your blog very entertaining.

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  2. Nationalism is a device used to control what Jung would call the Shadow

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  3. Perhaps it is co-incidence, but have you, Francis, caused a mini-boom in the Amazon price of this book? I bought the 1946 version on 3 Sep 2014 for £7.83 including delivery. Now the highest price is £60.43.

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