Batho Collection


The Batho Collection is comprised of over 6000 school history texts. It spans from the 1840s to the early 2000s and covers a vast number of historical topics, from the Stone Age to the fall of the Soviet Union. The collection is valuable in illustrating the changing attitudes in history writing and the differing methods of teaching practices. This collection has been an important element of emerging research on the political and social content of past textbooks, highlighting the dangers of bias and prejudice in these sources.

The collection is named after Professor Gordon Batho who endowed the texts to the School of Education of the University of Durham when he retired in 1988.  It originated at the Historical Association in London and is now held by the Research Collections here at the University of Worcester to ensure future access to students and researchers.

History of Education Society Bulletin, No. 33 Spring 1984Prof. Batho was an educationalist and historian who, at the age of 15, was instrumental in setting up the Ealing Branch of the Historical Association. This interest in history remained with him for this rest of his life; he was part of the Durham County Local History Society and president of the Durham branch of the Historical Association. For his outstanding contributions to history he was awarded the Norton Medlicott medal in 2008.

Items in the Batho Collection were acquired for their documentation of the changing history pedagogy. As well as the books, we also house a selection of exam papers dating from the 1880s and facsimile based teaching materials, a resource strongly advocated by Prof. Batho himself.  The collection was significantly enlarged over time through donations and it is now recognised as the largest collection of history textbooks in the UK. It is here that the true value of the collection lies, in bringing together these rich resources within one accessible archive.

UoC 19 July 1918 Black's Historical Atlas

Here are a few example areas for research based on the Batho Collection:

  • The growth and changing vernacular of Special Needs Education
  • The use of archival material in classroom resources
  • How attitudes towards Empire have been portrayed in educational texts
  • Multimodality in educational resources
  • Attitudes towards different social groups in the telling of history

The Batho Collection is reference only and is located in the Bredon Building on St. John’s Campus.

If you have any enquiries or would like to access the collection, please email Danielle Joyce at

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