Tuesday, 3 May 2011

A Victorian Schoolbook


My granddad used to work in a timber yard, and one day he found something lodged at the back of a chest of drawers. It was this homework book which dates all the way back to 1884. All of the pages inside are exquisitely hand written, with beautiful little watercolour drawings to accompany the text.

Victorian schoolbook cover
The outside cover

ireland page
A hand drawn map of Ireland

Inside the cover is the name George Thomas, and the address of the school in Gravesend, Kent is written beneath it. I thought it'd be good to share some of the pages as they are so impressive, especially the detail of the maps included, all drawn with ink pen and shaded so perfectly.


The subjects covered inside include Geography (the maps drawn are mostly of countries under the British Empire at the time), Maths (some very complicated sums!), French, Roots (Latin), Physiology (the drawings of bones inside the body are amazing) and History. If only as much thought had gone into my homework books! I wonder what path George Thomas took when he left school, perhaps he became an artist?

Scotland map
A map of Scotland inside the cover.

french homework
Quite a few corrections on his French homework.


australia map
A map of Australia


  1. Wow. That's all I have to say.

  2. What a lovely find! My school books certainly didn't look like that...

  3. So neat and colourful! That is amazing!

  4. What an amazing find! I wonder if you could find out anything about him, maybe get the local paper to mention it or something?

  5. My schoolbooks definitely didn't looks like that either! I hope this person did get to become an artist, their drawings are so beautiful.

  6. Yeah it's a shame his name is quite common, or they may have been more chance to find out more. i did try googling but it's hard without knowing what year he was born in!

  7. this is so so so so so so so SOSOSOSOSOSO good! Really Laura, it's amazing. I can't believe those maps are hand drawn! jesus.

  8. Amazing. It is like a work of art. I also did a search though it seems there were about 30,000 George Thomases in the 1981 consensus and you need to pay to get more details :(


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