Following on from our last blog, the latest project the Archive has been digitising is our collection of student workbooks and albums, we’ve found one that links to our last post on the botanical works of Henry Trimen’s A Handbook of the Flora of Ceylon and had to share it. This blog looks at one student, Lena Pike who attended Avery Hill College in 1907-09 and her Nature Study workbook.
Nature Study was the only science subject studied at Avery Hill College, with biology being optional in schools for girls at the time. This is a really fascinating document to look at as it shows Pike’s observations as she writes her analysis in great detail and her illustrations look like they could have been taken out of Trimens’ handbook. There is even what is now over a century old flower pressing of a Pansy and some Ferns, which was extremely delicate to digitise.
In an essay on why Nature Study was included in the schools’ curriculum, Pike wrote that “the class minds are greatly broadened, their knowledge is widened, and they are able to appreciate the beauties of nature. A child will be mystified at the wonders of nature.” She goes on to talk about the experiments and observations and how teaching this in schools would mean that children can learn about the protection nature gives to all living things as well as the economic benefit of nature as she notes the different aspects of a tree.