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img img_0004I have the very strong conviction, and I am certainly not the only one to believe this, that anyone at any age can be taught how to read by merely making it interesting. Here is such an example of how this was done well over one hundred years ago for underprivileged youths in the City of London!

Have a look at the opening page of the Story of the Life of Sir Walter Scott by Robert Chambers LL.D with the pasted down bookplate shown here.

img_0001The Oxford Road Band of Hope was most probably run by the Oxford Chapel located in Barnsbury which is an area of northern London in the London Borough of Islington.

What was the Band of Hope?  Hope United Kingdom is a United Kingdom Christian Charity based in London, England that educates children and young people about drug and alcohol abuse. It was founded in 1855 as the Band of Hope.

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The frontispiece of the book

This book became more than just any book to the winner of this First Prize for Reading, it became a tangible asset in the life of a youngster which he was able to show to friends and family. The life and work of Sir Walter Scott was widely known in Victorian England and was studied throughout the school system. Scott’s major historical novel Ivanhoe would have been a must read book at that time and also into the mid Twentieth Century as well.

From the date (1894) the book was published, we can surmise that only newly released books and the latest “interesting topic” would be given as an incentive to the young reader, the same year (1894) was filled out on the book plate shown above.

img_0003img_0005This book (from our own collection) with the addition of the added bookplate has thus become more than just a container of content, it has the added dimension of a precise location in time and the personal relationship to an eventful occasion in the education of a young person.

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