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Children and Childhood in British Illustrated Periodicals, 1869-1970

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Authored by Nathaniel Andrews
Published on 20th February, 2023 31 min read

Children and Childhood in British Illustrated Periodicals, 1869-1970

Over the past few years, children and young people have frequently been at the vanguard of political activism in the UK. They have protested against the government’s use of an algorithm to determine GCSE and A Level results, taken part in the “school climate strikes” movement, and participated in efforts to decolonise public spaces. A recent example of these latter efforts occurred in April 2021, when pupils at Pimlico Academy, in central London, staged a “sit-in” protest in response to allegations of racism at the school, and rejected the installation of a Union Jack on the school’s grounds.In turn, children’s activism has become an increasingly prominent topic of discussion in the popular press. Despite this, the portrayal of these children in print media varies considerably. In right-leaning publications, commentators regularly present child activists as naïve victims of nefarious adults seeking to promote sinister political goals. For instance, in an article published on the 5th September 2020, Daily Telegraph columnist Douglas Murray declared that “the green fanatics have terrorised a generation of children”.2 At other times, conservative periodicals depict children as an unruly, disrespectful mob (one Daily Mail headline, printed on the 2nd April 2021, described the aforementioned Pimlico Academy as an “academy of anarchy”).3 For their part, left-leaning publications tend to stress the political agency of children. For example, an editorial in The Guardian, printed on the 7th February 2019, described “Teenage Activists” as “Protestors not Puppets”. Whereas, on the 29th June 2022, Guardian columnist Eleanor Salter expressed her approval “that young activists are now viewed less as angelic saviours, and more as political actors in their own right”.4 Though, ostensibly, such interventions relate primarily to children’s engagement in political activism, they also illustrate something much broader: how, in the media, understandings of childhood remain fiercely contested. In today’s popular press, there is little agreement regarding children’s social status, their responsibilities, or – most importantly – their agency and ability to make informed decisions. 

Of course, whilst it is important to acknowledge the rich variety of views on childhood in contemporary print media, one must also consider them through a historical lens. After all, these tensions and contradictions did not just appear in the last decade. They have played out in print media since the emergence of the popular press itself, back in the nineteenth century. With that in mind, this article explores how ideas about children and childhood manifested themselves in several periodicals with far-reaching influence in the UK. These titles – including well-known magazines and newspapers such as The Tatler, The Sketch, The Sphere, and London Life – were all owned, at various points, by The Illustrated London News (ILN), and they form part of an exciting new series of collections at British Online Archives titled British Illustrated Periodicals, 1869-1970. Throughout their existence, they were generally oriented towards middle- and upper-class readers and their coverage proved highly eclectic. They featured articles on a diverse range of topics, from spectator sports, literature, fashion, and music, to international conflicts, high political intrigue, and everyday life. They provide valuable insights into the myriad social, cultural, political, and economic developments that transformed British society over the last two centuries. This article highlights two key themes that have emerged from a close analysis of these periodicals, mainly in the twentieth century: the tensions between ideas of “autonomy” and “discipline” in educational and parenting discourse; and the “othering” of children and childhood. Though by no means an exhaustive study of childhood in ILN-owned titles, this article provides at least a cursory indication of the valuable contributions that these publications can make to the history of childhood and childhood studies.

Autonomy vs. Discipline

In nineteenth-century Britain, parents who failed to establish “domestic authority” over their children were frequently portrayed as “inadequate”: in particular, authors continually stressed the need for mothers and fathers to lead by example, using their “parental authority” to instil Christian values in their offspring.5 In Victorian classrooms, teachers routinely used corporal punishment to discipline pupils; a practice that, though considered unpleasant, was regarded as, ultimately, beneficial to the child.6 However, the first few decades of the twentieth century saw radical developments in child education and parenting in both Britain and abroad, which challenged prevailing orthodoxies. For example, in Barcelona, in 1901, Francisco Ferrer i Guàrdia – a renowned educational theorist with anarchist sympathies opened his first “Modern School”, which rejected both corporal punishment and rewards; allowed children to choose what they wanted to study in the classroom; and educated boys and girls together, rather than separately.7 Similarly, in the 1900s, Italian physician and educator Maria Montessori began to promote a new system for educating young children – still used in many nurseries today – which stressed the importance of play to the learning process.Rather like Ferrer’s Modern School method, the Montessori Method underlined the freedom of children to choose what they wanted to learn, and when.9 This approach differed radically from previous models of early child education, which tended to highlight the need for structure, and usually involved learning by rote.10 Moreover, as psychoanalysis began to capture the public’s imagination in the 1920s and 1930s, an abundance of psychological studies on childhood emerged, such as Jean Piaget’s The Child’s Conception of the World (1926), Susan Isaacs’ The Nursery Years (1929), and Melanie Klein’s The Psychoanalysis of Children (1932).11

As Laura Tisdall notes, “child-centred” pedagogy – which, rather than following a “predetermined syllabus”, concentrated on “the needs of the developing child” – rose to prominence in the post-war period.12 Nevertheless, even prior to the Second World War, new approaches to both education and parenting received much attention in the popular press and, most importantly, in several ILN publications. In an article published in Britannia and Eve on the 1st May 1931, novelist and critic Amabel Williams-Ellis praised recent advances in education, but criticised what she regarded as the dizzying array of employment options with which teachers now bombarded their pupils.13 Instead, Williams-Ellis asked, “don’t they really need to be taught to say No, to be taught to stick genuinely to whatever it is they really like?” Questioning the rationale behind what she categorised as education’s misguided focus on employment outcomes, she went on to argue that teachers should not merely help pupils prepare for their future occupations because, on the contrary, children desire “to know how to enjoy and employ their leisure”; they “want training for their life’s play, not their life’s work.”14 Two years later, on the 1st February 1933, Britannia and Eve published an article by Montessori herself, in which she emphasised the need for adults to consider and respect the perspective of children, and to refrain from authoritarianism in the educational process. Specifically, she warned readers that “if you impose your will on [the child] unnecessarily…you can only expect naughtiness”.15 Discussing the method employed in her schools, she noted that “we teach no abstract rules to the children, but simply provide them with carefully designed materials which provide concrete examples from which they may eventually formulate the rules for themselves”.16 In this environment, “the teacher exist[ed] only to help when she [was] asked”.17 In such cases, contributors to the paper not only highlighted the need for children to enjoy themselves in the classroom, but also the necessity of supporting children in making – and sticking to – their own decisions.

"Visit my Kingdom" in Britannia and Eve

 Maria Montessori, "Visit my Kingdom", Britannia and Eve, 1 February 1933, 73


At the same time, other contributors to ILN periodicals pushed back against what they believed to be an overly permissive approach to teaching and parenting. In a column printed in The Bystander on the 4th July 1928, Millicent Vince opined that “though it is almost heresy to say it in these days, even children may be wrong”.18 In a piece published in Britannia and Eve on the 1st May 1939, journalist and author Fred Majdalany went further. He railed against what he considered children’s “total lack of respect for anybody and anything”, and suggested that this could “only be due to lack of discipline”.19 Qualifying this judgement by reminding his readers that, indeed, he was “not a Victorian parent”, Majdalany went on to argue that “sated with wireless that is as constant as hot water, perpetual visits to the cinema, and a general surfeit of organised amusement, the chicks have come to take everything for granted”.20

In this last case, the author’s critique of modern parenting rested, primarily, on the influence of psychology and what he perceived to be vain and irresponsible mothers fostering a “false sense of equality” between children and adults.21 In particular, he declared that “motherhood has [not] gained from being an arm-chair science, instead of an instinct”, and he even claimed that “nothing…seems to flatter a middle-aged woman quite so much as being treated as an equal by a child”.22 Here, Majdalany was replicating a common trope of the time: that of the “permissive mother”, who had imbibed too many “psychological ideas” and was therefore incapable of keeping her children in line.23 Notably, this trope reappeared in other ILN publications, too. The year 1950 saw the release of the comedy film Tony Draws a Horse, in which a young boy scrawls a “biologically correct” male horse on his father’s office wall, only for his psychiatrist mother to praise the drawing as a “valuable product of her son’s individuality”.24 In response, reviewers of the film expressed sympathy with Tony’s “old-fashioned father” (who considered his son’s work to be “rude”), disparaging the “modern” parenting style of the boy’s mother.25 For its part, The Sketch asserted that, instead, Tony deserved to be punished with a “spanking”.26

That said, by the following decade, contributors to ILN-owned publications were articulating a far less hierarchical relationship between adults and children. In a letter published in London Life’s regular “Something to Say” segment on the 15th January 1966, a reader by the name of Eleanor Summerfield drew attention to the many things that her children had taught her over the years. Whilst she noted that “so much is written on how a parent can influence a child’s mind and character”, Eleanor recounted how, with the help of her sons, she had learned to do a wide range of new things, including: “how to shoot with deadly accuracy”;  how to “appreciate the finer points of a horse”; how to play the piano, the ukelele, and chess; and how to “develop, print and enlarge photographs”.27 Similarly, later that year, on the 24th December, London Life printed an article titled “The Art of Keeping Up with the Children”, which discussed the latest trends in children’s publishing. Specifically, the editors declared “the end of condescension in books for the young” and, referring to the recent move away from “sentimentality”, they noted that contemporary children’s authors and illustrators preferred to avoid producing “sickly” content since, in their eyes, younger readers were “too intelligent not to see the way things are”.28

This piece acknowledged explicitly that both children and childhood had changed significantly over time, identifying “a new breed of child, who has commercial television and the cinema to lure him from books [and] the possibility of increasingly mechanised education to change the way his mind works”.29 Though written almost sixty years ago, this last comment appears particularly relevant in our “digital age”, when experiences of children and childhood are increasingly shaped by technological developments. As cultural theorist John Hartley illustrates when discussing children’s climate activism today, the “material formation [of this new cohort] has included consciousness of humanity’s planetary status and actions” and, most importantly, it is their “access to social and other media” which allows children “to enjoy the experience of ‘one species, one planet’”.30 In the same way, Hartley continues, children’s increased access to information online also facilitates “their understanding [of] the costs involved in mismanaging that position”.31 Just as in the 1960s, today’s children and young people are able to engage with a wider variety of media than that available to previous generations. In turn, this has helped to disrupt top-down models of adult-child relations, enhancing children’s sense of autonomy and, arguably, their engagement with current affairs.

The “Othering” of Children and Childhood

The relationship between children and their elders is, in many ways, central to the writings on children and childhood that featured in these ILN publications. That is, contributors often reflected contemporary debates regarding the tensions between “autonomy” and “discipline” in education and parenting. However, as well as revealing conflicting attitudes about how to raise children, the pages of these publications also reveal a more fundamental tension: they show how, at least in middle- and upper-class circles, contradictory understandings of what exactly constituted childhood persisted throughout the early and mid twentieth century. These periodicals presented diverse (and, at times, opposing) ideas about the extent to which children differed from their adult counterparts, and their place in what one could call the “adult world”. 

In particular, much of the content in these publications centred on the specific requirements of children. Unsurprisingly, these tended to include mundane everyday items such as baby milk and clothing. For example, a single issue of The Tatler – which appeared on the 13th July 1921 – contained at least two advertisements for baby formula: one from Allen & Hanburys and the other from Glaxo.32 Similarly, on the 21st April 1920, The Sketch printed an advert from London department store Marshall & Snelgrove, urging readers to purchase “Dainty Clothes for Little Girls” whilst, on other occasions, The Sketch’s sister publications provided in-depth commentary on children’s fashion.33 On the 3rd May 1919, The Graphic reported on “the first living model fashion show exclusively for children ever staged in the United States” and, on the 3rd February 1923, an article in The Sphere expressed approval of the colourful attire of Parisian babies (who, that autumn at least, were “dressed in vivid hues”).34 In like manner, editors and contributors would signpost leisure activities aimed specifically at children. On the 18th December 1965, London Life provided readers with a comprehensive guide of “what to do with a child at Christmas” in the UK capital, including trips to a toy museum, a children’s theatre, and the Daily Mail’s “Schoolboys’ and Girls’ Exhibition”.35

In addition to addressing children’s material needs, these publications sought to reflect the distinctive perspectives of children too. The aforementioned Britannia and Eve article by Montessori illustrated the need “to look at the world through a child’s eyes”, and referred to what she called the “kingdom of childhood”: the unique mental space that children inhabit as they develop and learn.36 Discussing children’s fashion in a regular “Woman’s Sphere” column – published in The Sphere on the 24th April 1920 – an author writing under the name “Marjorie” employed similar language to Montessori, describing “that kingdom peopled by the little people”.37 Equally, on Christmas Eve 1966, another London Life article advising readers on child-friendly Christmas activities adopted the title “In a Child’s Eyes”.38 Crucially, in a satirical piece published on the 12th October 1928 in Britannia – one of the predecessors to Britannia and Eve, several issues of which are also included in British Illustrated Periodicals, 1869-1970 – an anonymous (and undoubtedly adult) author using the pseudonym “Shrimp” wrote from the perspective of a seven-year-old boy. This “boy” shared with the reader his daily activities, from “making white snakes” with toothpaste to “fighting a horde of cannibals” on a desert island.39 Though he expressed affection for his mother, the narrator complained of her constant interruptions (“asking questions, tidying up, knocking down my palaces”) and, crucially, he explained that “it’s very dangerous for her to come into my world all the time”.40 In other words, these publications continually emphasised the difference between children and adults by evoking a distinct “child sphere”: a “world” or “kingdom” of play, imagination, and creativity, from which adults were barred.

"That Woman by her Son" in Britannia

 Shrimp, "That Woman by her Son", Britannia, 12 October 1928, 263

Given the continual “othering” of children and childhood in these publications, it is striking that, at times, they also appeared to present children as simply smaller versions of grown-ups, rather than beings fundamentally different from their adult counterparts. In his seminal study Centuries of Childhood – first published in English in 1960 – Philippe Ariès famously argued that, in the Middle Ages, “the idea of childhood did not exist”.41 Here, Ariès did not mean to imply that, during this period, adults never expressed affection or cared for children.42 Instead, he indicated that, once a child was old enough to no longer require constant care they “belonged to adult society”.43 In other words, he suggested that medieval adults did not distinguish between themselves and children in the way that we would today and that, in this context, children were, essentially, what we might call “miniature adults”.44 Despite the significant influence of Ariès’ work in the field of childhood studies, his conclusions in this book proved highly controversial, and many scholars – particularly medieval historians – have since taken issue with his arguments.45 Nevertheless, the portrayal of children as adults is a common theme in these ILN-owned publications, particularly in depictions of the aristocracy or royalty. 

The following photograph – published in The Bystander on the 4th July 1928 – shows the young Prince Peter of Serbia.46 Here, Peter is dressed in full military uniform (complete with rifle), and resembles an adult monarch in both pose and attire.47


"The Future King of a Fighting Race" in The Bystander

"The Future King of a Fighting Race", The Bystander, 4 July 1928, 51

On the 3rd May 1930, The Sphere provided another example of this phenomenon, in a segment titled “Children of the Aristocracy”. This piece featured portraits of children from influential families in Japan, Hungary, and Britain.48 Here, as in the image above, some of the children were dressed in adult clothing (in one portrait, a young boy was even pictured holding a gentleman’s cane).49 

"Young Things: Children of the Aristocracy" in The Sphere

"Young Things: Children of the Aristocracy", The Sphere, 3 May 1930, 237

However, there is a notable lack of consistency in the discourse used to describe such children. Whereas the editors described the boy at the top-right of the “Children of the Aristocracy” piece as “a young gentleman of England”, the image at the bottom-left reads “Age of Innocence”.50 Similarly, despite the attire of the aforementioned Serbian Prince, the editors did remind readers that he was, indeed, a child, describing him as “Little Prince Peter”, and noting that he was “playing at soldiers”.51 In other words, an element of both ambiguity and humour pervaded such representations. An article that appeared in The Sketch on the 19th March 1947 is particularly illustrative of this: it recounted how an eight-year-old British boy named Richard Lawrence had been “adopted” by a US army unit he came across in Nazi-occupied France, which had subsequently made him its official “mascot” and given him his own “GI” uniform.52 Put simply, whilst depictions of children as adults appeared, on the surface, to negate the difference between childhood and adulthood, they were usually (at least in part) ironic. When they donned adult clothing, these children became comic inversions of the status quo and, in this sense – like references to a distinctly “child sphere” – they provided a further example of the “othering” of children and childhood.

Of course, even if they emphasised its “otherness”, we must also consider the importance that contributors to these publications placed on the formative nature of childhood. That is, the role of childhood as a stage of development and preparation for adult life. Discussing the period between the 1930s and the 1950s, Laura King highlights how both print media and politicians regularly portrayed children as “future adults”.53 Though she stresses that the depiction of younger generations “as the future” was not necessarily a new phenomenon, King describes how the First and Second World Wars contributed to significant changes in the ways in which children were conceptualised: especially during the latter conflict, “the disruption, dangers and economic climate of war” added an extra impetus to this future-oriented discourse.54 Companies and charities at this time frequently drew connections between children’s welfare and Britain’s future in their advertising, with several ILN-owned periodicals engaging in this type of rhetoric.55 For example, an advert for the charity now known as “Barnardos”, printed on the 1st February 1938 in Britannia and Eve, informed potential donors that “happy children make contented men and women” whilst, in an issue of The Sphere published on the 23rd February 1957, a fundraising campaign for the Church of England Children’s Society declared that “with affection, care and security, living in homely surroundings…our children’s future is assured.56 Another issue of Britannia and Eve, published on the 1st February 1941, printed a further advert for Barnardos, urging readers to “become a partner in [the] happy work of training future citizens!”57 The same issue included an article titled “Catch ‘em Young”  which warned readers of “minor ailments” that “so often overlooked in childhood…mark the beginnings of more serious troublers in after life”.58 Similarly, in a piece on employment opportunities for women in post-war Britain, this issue featured a photograph of two infants climbing some stairs, with the caption “up the steps to a better tomorrow?”.59 Overall, this future-oriented discourse employed the image of the child as a symbol of national development (though it is also important to note that this language was often used with "competing visions" in mind, such as the establishment of a universal welfare system or, on the other hand, a socially-conservative preservation of "British values").60 

Again, we can draw parallels with the language used to describe children (and, more specifically, child activism) today. As Guardian columnist Eleanor Salter suggests in her aforementioned article from June 2022, between 2016 and 2020 "climate politics...was awash with ideas around children, the future, and intergenerational justice", and many climate activists "used the next generation as a proxy for the future".61 In the case of the periodicals discussed above, this language reflected the fact that, even if contributors viewed childhood and adulthood as fundamentally different from one another, they acknowledged – and highlighted – that childhood and adulthood were intrinsically linked, since the experiences of the former directly affected the latter. In a sense, this future-oriented discourse emphasised the agency of children, stressing their ability – and, to an extent, their responsibility –  to shape future outcomes.


This article has drawn attention to some of the ways in which the collections in British Illustrated Periodicals, 1869-1970 can inform historical scholarship on childhood, both in Britain and abroad. As indicated above, the article has provided merely a cursory overview of these ILN-owned periodicals, and it is important to note that content on children and childhood in such publications related, for the most part, to the experiences of white middle- and upper-class European children. With that in mind, more in-depth analyses of these new collections could consider the portrayal –  or, indeed, absence – of working-class children and children of colour in these periodicals, as well as the gendered nature of child-related content. At the same time, this article has situated current discourse on child activism within the historical context of the popular British press, illustrating that the idea of childhood itself has long been contested and debated in the pages of prominent British newspapers and magazines. As historian Diana Georgescu points out, in an article published in The Independent on the 29th October 2019, the current media discourse on child climate activism reflects "deep seated" convictions about childhood that have their roots in the nineteenth century: namely, the idea "that childhood is an age of innocence and being dependent on adults, a time that aligns with the private, not the public and political sphere".62

Special thanks to Nishah Malik, Collections Editor at British Online Archives, for peer review and contributing background research to this article.


[1] Donna Ferguson and Michael Savage, “Controversial Exams Algorithm to Set 97% of GCSE Results”, The Guardian, 15 August 2020, accessed 6 February 2023,, Sylvia Hayes and Saffron O’Neill, “The Great Effect: Visualising Climate Protest in UK Media and the Getty Images Collections”, Global Environmental Change, 71 (2021), 2, and Nazia Parveen and Tobi Thomas, “Pimlico Academy Pupils Stage Protest over ‘Discriminatory’ Policies”, The Guardian, 31 March 2021, accessed 6 February 2023,

[2] Sophie Borland, Glen Keogh, and Neil Sears, “Green Militants Urging YOUR Children to Skip Lessons”, The Daily Mail, 10 February 2019, accessed 6 February 2023, and Douglas Murray, “The Green Fanatics Have Terrorised a Generation of Children. Now They’re Turning on the Free Press”, The Daily Telegraph, 5 September 2020, accessed 6 February 2023,

[3] Ali Mitib, David Brown, and Nicola Woolcock, “Teach Pimlico Academy Flag Protestors a Lesson, Say MPs”, The Times, 2 April 2021, accessed 6 February 2023,, and Paul Bracchi and Tim Stewart, “Inside the Academy of Anarchy: How Pimlico School Saw the Headmaster Chased Down a Corridor, the Union Flag Torn Down and Burned and Cynical Teaching Unions Back Woke Protests”, The Daily Mail, 2 April 2021, accessed 6 February 2023,

[4] “The Guardian View on Teenage Activists: Protestors not Puppets”, The Guardian, 7 February 2019, accessed 6 February 2023, and Eleanor Salter, “Children Aren’t the Future: Where Have all the Young Climate Activists Gone?”, The Guardian, 29 June 2022, accessed 6 February 2023,

[5] Siân Pooley, “Child Care and Neglect: a Comparative Study of Late Nineteenth-Century Parental Authority”, in The Politics of Domestic Authority in Britain since 1800, ed. Lucy Delap, Ben Griffin, and Abigail Wills (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009), 221 and 226-227.

[6] Jacob Middleton, "The Experience of Corporal Punishment in Schools, 1890-1940", History of Education 73, no. 2 (2008):  254.

[7] Kirwin Shaffer, "Freedom Teaching: Anarchism and Education in Early Republican Cuba, 1898-1925", The Americas 60, no. 2 (2003): 162-164.

[8] Maria Patricia Williams, "Becoming an International Public Intellectual: Maria Montessori before The Montessori Method, 1882-1912", British Journal of Educational Studies 70, no. 5 (2022): 575 and Angeline S. Lillard, “Montessori as an Alternative Early Childhood Education”, Early Child Development and Care 191, no. 7-8 (2021): 1197.

[9] Lillard, 1196-1198.

[10] Ibid., 1196-1198.

[11] Michal Shapira, “‘Speaking Kleinian’: Susan Isaacs as Ursula Wise and the Inter-war Popularisation of Psychoanalysis”, Medical History 61. no. 4 (2017): 525-527 and Laura Tisdall, “Education, Parenting and Concepts of Childhood in England, c. 1945 to c. 1979”, Contemporary British History 31, no. 1 (2016): 5.

[12] Tisdall, 1.

[13] Amabel Williams-Ellis, “The World Moves on Apace but Does the Teacher Stand Still?”, Britannia and Eve, 1 May 1931, 81.

[14] Ibid., 81.

[15] Maria Montessori, “Visit my Kingdom”, Britannia and Eve, 1 February 1933, 73.

[16] Ibid., 73.

[17] Ibid., 73.

[18] Millicent Vince, “Femina – Nurseries of Illusion”, The Bystander, 4 July 1928, 40.

[19] Fred Majdalany, “Other People’s Children”, Britannia and Eve, 1 May 1939, 48.

[20] Ibid., 48.

[21] Ibid., 48.

[22] Ibid., 48-49.

[23] David Cowan, “‘Modern’ Parenting and the Uses of Childcare Advice in Post-war England”, Social History 43, no. 3 (2018): 332. 

[24] Ibid., 332-333. 

[25] Ibid., 333.

[26] Ibid., 333.

[27] Eleanor Summerfield, “The Teachers Taught”, London Life, 15 January 1966, 62.

[28] “The Art of Keeping Up with the Young”, London Life, 24 December 1966, 27.

[29] Ibid., 28.

[30] John Hartley, “Children of Media – World-builders”, Media@LSE Working Papers Series, accessed 6 February 2023,, 32.

[31] Ibid., 32.

[32] “Allenburys”, The Tatler, 13 July 2021,      and “Glaxo”, The Tatler, 13 July 2021,   

[33] “Dainty Girls for Little Girls”, The Sketch, 21 April 1920,     and 

[34] “Children’s Dresses after the War”, The Graphic, 3 May 1919, 575 and L. R., “‘Coloured Babies’ in Paris – the Change in Juvenile Fashions”, The Sphere, 3 February 1923, 130. The racist terminoogy employed in this last article is emblematic of much of the discourse in ILN-owned publications during this period, which tended to be highly xenophobic and supportive of Britain's imperial project.

[35] “What to Do with a Child at Christmas”, London Life, 18 December 1965, 28.

[36] Montessori, 73.

[37] Marjorie, “Woman’s Sphere”, The Sphere, 24 April 1920, 108.

[38] “In a Child’s Eyes…the Wonder of Christmas”, London Life, 24 December 1966, 

[39] “That Woman: by her Son”, Britannia, 12 October 1928, 263.

[40] Ibid., 263.

[41] Philippe Ariès, Centuries of Childhood: a Social History of Family Life, trans. Robert Baldick (New York: Alfred A. Knopft, 1962), 128

[42] Ibid., 128.

[43] Ibid., 128.

[44] Ibid., 128.

[45] Colin Heywood, “Centuries of Childhood: an Anniversary – and an Epitaph?”, Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth 3, no. 3 (2010): 346-348.

[46] “The Future King of a Fighting Race”, The Bystander, 4 July 1928, 51.

[47] Ibid., 51.

[48] “Young Things: Children of the Aristocracy”, The Sphere, 3 May 1930, 237. 

[49] Ibid., 237.

[50] Ibid., 237.

[51] “The Future King of a Fighting Race”, 51. Emphasis added.

[52] “We Take Off our Hat to – and We Applaud”, The Sketch, 19 March 1947, 146.

[53] Laura King, “Future Citizens: Cultural and Political Conceptions of Children in Britain, 1930s-1950s”, Twentieth Century British History 27, no. 3 (2016): 389-390. 

[54] Ibid., 393-394.

[55] Ibid., 397-398.

[56] “Dr. Barnardo’s Homes”, Britannia and Eve, 1 February 1938, 4 and “Happiness”, The Sphere, 23 February 1957, 323. 

[57] “What a Responsibility”, Britannia and Eve, 1 February 1941, 67.  

[58] “Catch ‘em Young”, Britannia and Eve, 1 February 1941, 30.

[59] “Tomorrow’s Professions for Women”, Britannia and Eve, 1 February 1941, 31.

[60] King, 410.

[61] Salter.

[62] Diana Georgescu, "Greta Thunberg Highlights the Problematic Way Both the Right and Left View Child Activists", The Independent, 29 October 2019, accessed 7 February 2023,

Authored by Nathaniel Andrews

Nathaniel Andrews

Nathaniel Andrews is Senior Editor at British Online Archives, and a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Leeds Arts and Humanities Research Institute. Between October 2018 and September 2021, he taught in the Schools of History and Languages at the University of Leeds, and between September 2021 and June 2022, he was a Lecturer in Spanish and Latin American Cultural Studies at the University of Manchester. His research centres primarily on the history of anarchism in the Hispanic World and North America, and he has several publications on the Spanish and Argentinian labour movements. He is currently working on his first monograph.

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The British Online Archives blog is a platform for scholars to present their research to students and the general public. The posts cover a range of historical themes and debates from around the world. The opinions expressed represent those of the authors, not British Online Archives or Microform.

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