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Exercise Book

1960s (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This green exercise book is part of a set of three produced by two brothers during the 1960s. The books contain information about an extensive imaginary monkey world that they created during their school holidays. The books have details about day to day life in monkey society, including political struggles, religious views, schooling and tests, cultural events, and the monkey justice system which featured fines and punishments for bad behaviour. Accompanying the books are the monkeys themselves which were homemade by a live-in teacher who resided with the family while the boys were growing up.

The books and the monkeys give a very unusual insight into the thoughts and concerns of teenage boys in the 1960s. The world they have created is complex in its political and moral structures, showing evidence of wider cultural influences. The books have captured the inner workings of imaginative play, something that is usually intangible and difficult to record, making the objects exciting and important records of modern childhood.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Brief Description
Exercise book with green cover, containing writing of Richard and Michael Jay Reddaway, English, 1960s
Physical Description
A green, paperback exercise book with ruled squares inside. The front cover has 'EXERCISE BOOK' written in dark blue lettering, while the back cover has a table filled with general knowledge facts, such as the world's longest rivers, tunnels and bridges. Inside the exercise book there are handwritten notes in a variety of colours and styles.
Dimensions
  • Length: 20cm
  • Width: 16.4cm
  • Depth: 0.3cm (approx.)
Production typeUnique
Marks and Inscriptions
  • RULED SQUARES (On front cover)
  • Exercise Book Name: Michael Jay Reddaway [Handwritten] School: Garden Hill, Totteridge Lane, London, N20 [handwritten] (On front cover)
  • Winfield see the name, it's the mark of value Re-Order No. 2a (H) (On front cover)
  • British made (On back cover)
Credit line
Given by Richard Reddaway and Clare Reddaway, in memory of Michael Jay Reddaway
Object history
The exercise books belonged to two bothers, Richard (b.1952) and Michael Jay (b.1956) Reddaway, who wrote them during the 1960s.

The books contain information about the lives of the boy's monkey toys. They record the identity and activities of their toys, providing a detailed account of the workings of the monkey society that the children had created. Monkey life involved things like political struggles, religion, school, tests and honours, entertainment and cultural events, and a justice system with fines and punishments.

The monkeys that accompany the books were home-made by Andolie Luck, a live-in teacher who resided with the Reddaway family in the 1960s. They are dressed in a variety of outfits made from different fabrics, some of which could have come from Africa, as Andolie had family living there. They were also donated to the museum.

The two brothers both attended boarding school in Cambridge, which meant that when they came home in the holidays the monkeys and books took up the majority of their time.

Summary
This green exercise book is part of a set of three produced by two brothers during the 1960s. The books contain information about an extensive imaginary monkey world that they created during their school holidays. The books have details about day to day life in monkey society, including political struggles, religious views, schooling and tests, cultural events, and the monkey justice system which featured fines and punishments for bad behaviour. Accompanying the books are the monkeys themselves which were homemade by a live-in teacher who resided with the family while the boys were growing up.



The books and the monkeys give a very unusual insight into the thoughts and concerns of teenage boys in the 1960s. The world they have created is complex in its political and moral structures, showing evidence of wider cultural influences. The books have captured the inner workings of imaginative play, something that is usually intangible and difficult to record, making the objects exciting and important records of modern childhood.
Associated Objects
Collection
Accession Number
B.178-2013

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record createdJuly 19, 2013
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