606e - The Public Services
(Easy Reading)
This was the fifth series of the 'Easy Reading' books which were first launched in 1960. All three titles were written by the team of I. & J. Havenhand, and very well illustrated by John Berry, who was kept very busy by Ladybird throughout this period. Berry often worked from photographs, copying them closely where appropriate, but his 'photo-realistic' pictures were well suited to the technical subjects covered. It has been wondered why there is often quite a gap between titles, these three titles span a four year gap for example. However it was not uncommon for a title to take up to two years from inception to publication according to former Ladybird director Douglas Keen.

The three books are typical of Ladybird's educational approach at its best. They all start with some historical background on life before the particular public service in question, details of where the resource comes from, and then the way the industry works today. Electricity and Gas have illustrations of typical household appliances, and cover the supply right down to showing how the household meter works (plus diagrams on the end papers of the various area boards). Water likewise covers everything from how water is collected in dams up to diagrams of a typical household water system. There was also an interesting 'limited edition' of this last title, which was printed for schools to go with the Yorkshire Water Authority educational programme, and differs from the normal edition in having the YWA name on the front and a different title typestyle. Whether this edition was available in shops or only supplied to schools isn't known. All three titles post-date the dust-jacket, and came with printed hard covers. With the selling off and privatisation of these resources, the books are sadly now as much a part of history as the notion of public ownership (can you imagine the shareholders voting away dividends to pay for school books?).

Electricity 1966
Gas 1967
Water Supply 1969
Water Supply YWA edition 1969

 

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