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Monday, April 16, 2007

Look and Learn website

The Look and Learn website has undergone something of a revamp and now has a host of new features including a blog-style column for articles culled from the pages of Look and Learn; there are only a handful up at the moment but it should develop quickly. The selection is deliberately somewhat random -- so far you'll find Aardvarks rubbing shoulders with Edmund Spenser's 'The Faerie Queen' and Neville Chamberlain waving his famous piece of paper at Evans of the Broke.

We've also uploaded a number of issues of The Children's Newspaper, the famous Arthur Mee-edited magazine that ran from 1919 to 1965. It's a fascinating trip back in time to bygone years. Today's issue, for instance, is from 16 April 1938 and contains a piece noting that there are now 40 million motor-vehicles on the road; elsewhere on the same page you'll learn that it was the centenary anniversary of the invention of blotting paper and a manufacturer from Melbourne was looking for 30 spinners to take from Lancashire to Australia to teach Australian workers how to spin cotton.

The Children's Newspaper was definitely of its time: some of the pieces show how insensitive we were to race and creed back then; the run of Children's Newspaper shows how attitudes and lifestyles changed over those 46 years. It also follows all the major discoveries in science and about our world and others although I'm guessing that social historians will be more interested in how it charts the growth of things like television and pop music.

A history of the paper can be found here. LLM will also be making the whole paper available in searchable PDF format on a set of DVDs at the knockdown price of £59.99 in June. The set can be pre-ordered here.

I've been quite astonished at the success of our children's art competition. We've now had over 400 entries with increasing numbers coming from abroad -- the website is global, after all. There are some very imaginative and colourful entries and, if you have kids, why not encourage them to try their hands.

The Picture Gallery, which is my corner of the site these days, is now up to 15,745 images and there are many, many more to follow. I arrived back home from the office last week with half a terabyte of artwork images on a spiffy new hard drive, so that'll be keeping me busy over the next few months. A vast amount of original artwork is in the process of being photographed and cleaned up so we will have many more examples going up over the coming weeks.

So that's phase 2 of the website up and running... go visit the site and take a look for yourselves. Send some comments into the blog, look at the stunning array of pictures, download a copy of The Children's Newspaper... go on. You know you want to.

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