Library Services


Historical Textbooks Collection


All the subjects taught in state schools, for all ages, from nursery to sixth form


c88,000 books

Scope and content

This is a large collection of British school textbooks, covering all educational levels, from nursery to sixth form. It covers all aspects of the curriculum, with particular strengths in geography, history, science and technology.

Most material dates from the late nineteenth century onwards, with strong holdings from the 1920s to the 1960s.


The collection grew out of the National Textbooks Research Library (NTRL) Collection which was set up in 1963 at the IOE to allow teachers to browse materials before asking their schools to purchase multiple copies of the books. At this time, it consisted of 12,000 books. In 1968, due to space constraints, the collection was moved, first to Ridgmount Street and then to University House, 2 Taviton Street. In 1980, it moved to Bedford Way and was renamed the National Reference Library of Schoolbooks and Classroom Materials (NRLSCM). In 1990, when the Inner London Education Authority was disbanded, its Resource Library was added to this collection. Duplicate items were added to the Curriculum Resources Collection so that it could be loaned. It has since grown in size as new material relegated from the library's Curriculum Resources Collection continue to be added to the collection.  


This collection is catalogued and is searchable on Explore. Items from the collection can only be perused in the IOE Reading Room.