Monday 13 July 2009

Martha Smith's 1784 Ackworth School Ciphering Book

Yesterday I left you pondering on this book to see what you could see that was special. Some of you emailed to tell me that Martha could do double digit multiplication - that is multipy by 11 and 12 in one stage. It is clear from this that the girls were well taught and very competent. Perhaps you might like to look also at the numbers which form the answers and compare them with the numbers set out in the problem. Did the same hand write both? The answer is: no. These problems have been written down by someone else - written beautifully, and what is more with that beautiful decoration. The teacher who set the problems for Mary to solve took great care to make the work attractive for her pupil. And the teacher would have done the same for numerous other pupils. Isn't that special?


  1. These glimpses into our past continue to fascinate me. Thank you so much for providing this information.

  2. I did notice the writing was different. Also, do you suppose the girls "worked" the problems on a separate sheet of paper and just wrote the answers in their books??