This collection of children's books was given in 1955 by Miss Margaret Eyre to the Ministry of Education, whose successor, the Department for Education, deposited the Collection with the Institute in 1992.
Although there are a few foreign language items, most of the books are in English. There are both story books and books of general knowledge prepared for children's recreation and instruction in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The collection was named after the extended Baines family since a large proportion of the books have hand-written dedications or the names of their original owners, nineteen of who are members of the family of Miss Eyre’s mother, Lucy Dorothea Eyre (née Baines). Other books in the collection can be linked by dedication to members of the related Eyre and Percival families.
Margaret Eyre (9/12/1874 – 11/8/1963), who never used her baptismal names which were Lucy Marguerite, was the only child of Gervas Selwyn Eyre* (1851 – 1920) and Lucy Dorothea Baines (1849 – 1938). Our Baines collection forms a small part of material from the Baines/Eyre/Percival families donated to archives and repositories. Two notable collections of material from her wider family are the Baines/Percival papers in the Bodleian Library, and Eyre Papers in the Pitt-Rivers Museum. The Victoria & Albert Museum also holds a Burmese wall hanging donated by Miss Eyre.
The bulk of the books in the Baines collection belonged to the children of the Reverend Edward Baines, Miss Eyre’s maternal grandfather. Edward John Baines (1801 – 1881) was born in Ludlow, and educated at Shrewsbury and Christ’s College Cambridge. He was vicar of Bluntisham in Huntingdon, and later of Yalding in Kent. He married a cousin, Catharine Eularia Baines, thirty years his junior. Edward Baines wrote several books, including ‘The first-form Latin grammar on analytical principles’ (1855), Canticles from the Psalms pointed for chanting...’ (1847), and ‘Sermons preached mainly to country congregations...’, edited with preface and memoir by Alfred Barry, Bishop of Sydney (1883).
Further information about Miss Eyre is contained in an account of her life, including material written by herself, published by her niece Alicia Constance Percival, ‘Aunt Margaret : reminiscences of Margaret Eyre 1874-1963, compiled in 1974 by her niece, Alicia C. Percival’. Copies are available in the British Library, Bodleian, and the Women’s Library (which also holds Alicia Percival’s personal papers).
Alicia Percival (1907-1987) having trained as a teacher, was after the second world war, Vice Principal and then Principal of Forest Training College (1945-1950), and later Vice Principal and Principal Lecturer in Education at Trent Park Training College (1950-1966). She wrote several books on education as well as writing with Margaret Mare a study of the Victorian writer Charlotte M. Yonge. Some of her books are in the Library. She was awarded a Ph.D. at the Institute of Education in 1968.
*This spelling of Miss Eyre’s father’s name is taken from General Register Office at the time of his marriage, other sources have his first name as Gervais.
This information was complied by Antony Daws, Media Librarian, Newsam Library & Archives, Institute of Education.