Way, way back in the early days of Ladybird Tuesday I dipped into series 606E, The Public Services, looking at Electricity. I even commented at the times about how the whole concept of Electricity, Gas and Water being public services was vintage in itself. Years on, it’s time to revisit the series again, but this time we’ve moved on to the Water Supply.
I still smile to see this book labelled as being “A Ladybird ‘Easy-Reading’ Book”, but then when I consider some of the slightly obscure titles that Little Miss C brings home as school reading books maybe it isn’t as strange as I used to think. Kids do seem to have an interest in some of what us adults might class as mundane, or even geeky, and I think it fair to say that books on the Public Services fall into that category. Luckily I think I, and several of my friends – yes I’m looking at you L and J! – fall into that geeky category.
Water Supply starts off with what has to be one of the most obvious things here in the UK – the fact that it rains rather a lot and hence we have a lot of water. It then goes on to explain about what a well is. Again, it seems like the obvious, but just a few months ago I honestly met someone who claimed never to have seen a well before and didn’t really believe that they exist. What the…?
The rather sweeping statement that “some large cities have made use of all the water that is nearby” is where this particular Ladybird books heads towards being being sexist in the way that so many of their books did. It goes on to tell us that the men at the water department must find more water. Heaven forbid that they might have a woman on their team!
Dams and reservoirs are explained, along with some helpful statements like “if a valley with houses in it has to be flooded, the people living in them must move”. You don’t say? Or maybe I’m just being a tad cynical at the early hour I’m writing this particular Ladybird Tuesday…
In fairness though the book goes on to explain how the water is then taken from the reservoirs, treated to make it safe into drinking water, and taken to people’s houses. The book then looks at all things domestic, and covers much of the same ground as the later title Water in the Ladybird Leaders series. They don’t leave that sexism behind though as there’s still lots of talk about the “men from the water board” having various jobs to do. Let’s just hope the modern day equivalent book would be a bit more balanced from an equality point of view.
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Steph Gaurt says
When we lived in BIrmingham there was a lovely kids model of the Welsh reservoirs where Birmingham gets its water in a local park. Our kids loeved to play in the water. Those water works were the pride of Birmingham – sadly sold off as part of the nationlisation programme.