Ladybird Tuesday: The Ladybird Book of London


I have to admit to a bit of a cheat with this week's Ladybird Tuesday. Whilst this may look like a genuine vintage Ladybird, it's actually a modern reprint of the original, which was republished in 2011 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the original (published in 1961). Handily this was also the year before the Olympic Games came to London and fitted in very well with the general buzz around the city at the time.

This republished version is pretty much identical to the 1961 original except  a modern price on the dust jacket, a mention of it being the 50th anniversary edition of the back of the dust jacket and a modern copyright statement inside .

The pictures really show London as it was back in the early 60s and to many children at the time it was a bit of a mystical place that they only saw in books or on the television. I certainly remember in my childhood in the 1980s seeing the Thames Television titles featuring St Pauls and having a feeling of wonder about the place. All these years later and I live just 20 miles up the road, studied there and worked there for years – stepping out of the train station and seeing St Pauls every morning. Funny how things change.

London as this book describes it is a bit different from how it is now. Whilst most of the major landmarks are still there changes have obviously happened and new ones have also appeared. The parks, palaces and churches are still there and still attract as much interest now as they did then. The City is vastly different now though. Obviously the Royal Exchange is still there, but today children are more likely to be interested in the Gherkin or the buildings in Canary Wharf.


When it comes to museums, the British Museum and the Science Museum both get mentions, but not the V&A or the Natural History Museum. I wonder why.

London was original published as part of series 618, imaginatively titled London. What is more interesting though is the fact that originally two books were published in the series and the second of these, published ten years later, was a copy of this one, but with the text all written in the European language Esperanto. Whilst many may consider it a bit of a dead language you may be interested to know that Google Translate actually started translating it in 2012! After being an original series of just two books, Ladybird then added a second title called London in 1980 which was a completely new book, rather than an update of the 1961 version. 

If you have a collection of old Ladybird books then please feel free to join in with Ladybird Tuesday. There are no formal rules to follow, just leave a link to any post you write in the comments below and if you're feeling kind link back to my Ladybird Tuesday category here on Being Mrs C. Thank you!


  1. Brian Winnington says

    Hi,I came across your site thro’ google.I collect(amongst many other items)Ladybird books including Ladybird books written in foreign languages.If yourself or others have knowledge of the availability of foreign books it would be appreciated if we could share info. or exchanges.
    Best regards Brian.

  2. says

    Thanks for your comment Brian – sadly Im yet to come across a single foreign language edition in my charity shop searches!

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