The Batho Collection is comprised of over 6000 school history texts. It spans from the 1840s to the early 2000s and covers a vast number of historical topics, from the Stone Age to the fall of the Soviet Union.
The collection is valuable in illustrating the changing attitudes in history writing and the differing methods of teaching practices. This collection has been an important element of emerging research on the political and social content of past textbooks, highlighting the dangers of bias and prejudice in these sources.
The collection is named after Professor Gordon Batho who endowed the texts to the School of Education of the University of Durham when he retired in 1988. It originated at the Historical Association in London and is now held by the Research Collections here at the University of Worcester to ensure future access to students and researchers.
Prof. Batho was an educationalist and historian who, at the age of 15, was instrumental in setting up the Ealing Branch of the Historical Association. This interest in history remained with him for this rest of his life; he was part of the Durham County Local History Society and president of the Durham branch of the Historical Association. For his outstanding contributions to history he was awarded the Norton Medlicott medal in 2008.
Items in the Batho Collection were acquired for their documentation of the changing history pedagogy. As well as the books, we also house a selection of exam papers dating from the 1880s and facsimile based teaching materials, a resource strongly advocated by Prof. Batho himself. The collection was significantly enlarged over time through donations and it is now recognised as the largest collection of history textbooks in the UK. It is here that the true value of the collection lies, in bringing together these rich resources within one accessible archive.
The collection is particularly useful for the following research areas:
The collection is currently being catalogued but chronological listings are available in pdf format:
Ruth Reeves, an Education Lecturer at the University, donated a collection of teaching related material dating 1920 - 1970. (pdf)
The majority of the material is literacy related but there are also a small number of numeracy and history related volumes.
This collection of eight sets of classroom posters published in the 1950s comprises over 400 individual posters covering History, Geography, Nature, and Bible stories from the New Testament and the Old Testament (pdfs).
These pictures not only provide an insight to education in the 1950s, but are a commentary on the social history of the time as well as standalone works of art and illustration.