World Book Day

Published: Thursday 3 March 2016
David Salmon

In celebration of World Book Day we thought it fitting to highlight three of the book collections held in the University Archives: the Salmon Collection, the Murray Collection and the Saffron Walden Book Collection. 


1. The Salmon Collection

The Salmon Collection consists of around 230 books on the practice and theory of education in the early part of the nineteenth century. It includes titles by Joseph Lancaster and Andrew Bell on the monitorial system as practised in Britain and in Madras, and Sarah Trimmer’s condemnation of Lancaster for undermining Christian education. The collection contains several examples of early Victorian teaching manuals prepared for the BFSS. Some books are in their original condition but many have been rebound.

The collection was assembled by David Salmon, a student at Borough Road College from 1870. He was appointed principal of Swansea Training College (now part of Swansea Metropolitan University) in 1892 and stayed there until 1932. He died in 1944. A bibliophile as well as an educationalist, he collected books all his life and had a particular interest in the early educationalists, including Joseph Lancaster. He wrote a biography of Lancaster as well as a number of articles on aspects of the history of education.


A plan of classroom and illustrations of embroidery stitches from a Spanish interpretation of the work of Joseph Lancaster and Dr Andrew Bell, Método de Enseñanza Mutua [Method of Mutual Education] from 1820 (Catalogue Ref: Salmon/45).


2. The Murray Collection


Elsie Murray c.1897

The Murray Collection came to Brunel University London Archives from the E.R.Murray Memorial Library at Maria Grey College. It consists of over 700 books devoted to the interests of children, including children’s stories from Murray’s own collection. The collection contains books published in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and includes both fiction and non-fiction books for children as well as texts on educational theory. Items were added after her death, as a “Memorial Library”, with a contribution of £148 from the Old Students’ Association. Among the contributors were past children and parents of the Kindergarten, old students, colleagues and personal friends.

The collection is named after Elsie Riach Murray. Murray was a Scot, born in Edinburgh in 1861. In 1893, at the age of 33, much older than the majority of students, she became a student at Maria Grey College. After her training she was head of the preparatory department at Chiswick High School for three years but returned to Maria Grey to take up the post of head of Kindergarten in 1898. She was to remain in post until retirement in 1926, becoming Vice-Principal in 1914, and establishing the College as a centre of the Froebelian movement.


Front cover of a 1919 version of Cinderella, retold by C.S.Evans with Illustrations by Arthur Rackham (Catalogue Ref: Murray/137)


3. The Saffron Walden Book Collection


Saffron Walden College building

This collection consists of around 230 children's books which were originally used at Saffron Walden College for teaching. It contains books published in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Saffron Walden College was the last college opened by the BFSS in Essex in 1884. It was specifically set up for training mistresses for Infant Schools. The original purpose of the college was to train kindergarten teachers in Froebelian methods. In 1894 the training was extended to include work with juniors. From 1961 students could train for the 9 – 13 age range and in 1972 training for the nursery age was added. Practical teaching was very important. Attached to the College was a small practising kindergarten. From 1901 the new South Road School acted as the practising school. Changes in the national provision of teacher training sadly led to the closure of Saffron Walden College in June 1977.


Front cover of a c.1911 version of Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island. (Catalogue Ref: SWBook/183)


If you would like more information on any of our book collections please contact us on

Page last updated: Thursday 03 March 2016