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The Northants Campaigner

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(Last updated on 3/6/2024)

This was the title of the county magazine of the National Union of Teachers that Carr edited and published three time a year initially, then twice a year until his budget would not cover the cost of printing more than one issue a year. The magazines were given away to teachers, free of charge. A survey showed that almost all 2,000 copies were taken home and that it was read by 3,000 non-teachers.

It started out as the Northamptonshire Teachers' Magazine, to which Carr contributed an article in October 1957 (No 37) on his return from Huron (see below). Carr took over as editor of the magazine in perhaps Spring 1963 with what might have been No 43, but they were issued intermittently. He stopped numbering the issues and renamed the magazine, temporarily, for the Winter edition of 1963 in honour of the national Campaign for Education Week, but then retained the new name. He tried to publish two issues a year except for 1969 when there was none.

Photo of magazine

Front cover of the last issue, published in 1970 (click to enlarge)

Carr published his last and final issue in 1970, three years after he had given up teaching officially and five years since he had last taught in a classroom.

Carr wrote to a friend about the Campaigner:

It worked to the plan that most members didn't relish Union news and policy served too raw in lavish platefuls.

Carr wrote in the last issue:

Twice a year, 2,000 copies were squeezed out of £110 ... but the last issue cost £90.

Carr paid half his honorarium of £5 a year to a colleague to edit the Appointments, Flittings and Obituary pages.

Carr campaigned against the 11 plus examination and against the streaming of children. The magazine proclaimed the importance of primary education, the need to pay teachers well, and the need for teacher-trainers to have to teach, at least for one year in seven. The Northants Campaigner founded the National Union of Children and published adverts on their behalf. His photograph of Jean Smith and her class is memorable.

In The Northants Campaigner Carr published serious articles, usually interviews with senior education officials, under the name Polly Egerton-Moncrieff, and Carr was Uncle Fred (initially Uncle Ted), who wrote a Let me Help You column in the form of letters.

Uncle Fred, all the country teachers look to you for sophisticated advice. What should I do?.

In about 1964 he wrote on behalf of the magazine to Nikolaus Pevsner, the architectual historian, and asked him to nominate the seven wonders of architecture in Northamptonshire. These were listed in the Spring edition of 1965. One of the items that Pevsner nominated was a carving at Cottingham. Carr must have sent Pevsner a copy of the magazine as it is listed as one of his publications in Pevsner: The BBC Years: Listening to the Visual Arts by Stephen Games (Routledge, 2017, p 371).

Some of the editions of The Northants Campaigner feature spoof adverts or news about Melchester, a fictional place in The Harpole Report and in several of the Wessex Novels by Thomas Hardy. For those of a certain age, Roy played for Melchester Rovers.

The magazine was praised by leaders of the N.U.T.:

My heartiest congratulations on "The Northants Campaigner". I have never seen anything produced locally so good as this. I should think such a paper could do nothing but good.

Heartiest congratulations on the Winter Edition of the Northants Campaigner. This is one of the best and most lively County magazines I have read. I can only wish that more County Associations would follow the lead of Northants.

Only six issues of The Northants Campaigner have been seen; the other issues listed here are guessed. If anyone has any more issues I would love to see them, and will travel a reasonable distance to do so. Please contact me.

Carr also published at least two books of poetry under the imprint of The Northants Campaigner: Robert Bloomfield and Joseph Goodson. Mr Goodson's poetry was featured on the cover of one of the magazines seen.

[Text in square braces are my comments. Like this.]

●  Northamptonshire Teachers' Magazine

October 1957, number 37, page 14

The American Scene by Mr J.L. Carr, Headmaster Highfield School, Kettering

An account of living in Huron, a city of 14,000 on the Dakota prairie, in several sections.

Salaries: trained teacher begins at £960 and ends at £1080.

Work: teaching hours are 8:40 - 11.40 am and 1 - 4 pm.

Caretakers: paid about £110 a month.

School administration: run by a secretary.

The cost of living, illustrated by local prices: eggs 3/- a doz, cigarettes 2/- for 25.


The girls have a large wardrobe, use lipstick, paint their nails and wear conspicuous jewellery. They tend to emphasise their bosoms by means which I do not fully understand and often look like well-groomed cars with protruding headlights.

●  The Northamptonshire Teachers' Magazine (summer edition, 1962)

Presumed, not seen.

●  The Northamptonshire Teachers' Magazine (winter edition, 1962)

Presumed, not seen.

●  The Northamptonshire Teachers' Magazine (summer edition, 1963)

Presumed, not seen.

●  The Northants Campaigner (Undated: Winter edition, 1963)

Size: 182 x 250 mm

Pages: 24 pp

Staples: two

Binding: thick yellow paper covers

Paper: white coated paper with insert of thin pulp yellow paper

Editor: J.Carr

Cover artist: Anonymous architectual drawing of school

Internal illustrations: photographs and cartoon

Credit inside rear cover: Published by J Carr at 27 Mill Dale Road, Kettering and printed by V.B. Pike, Canon Street, Kettering

Photo of magazine

Front cover (click to enlarge)


P 2. Campaign for Education Week, November 11th – 16th

P 9. Situations vacant. Sub-editor. No pay I’m afraid. Should have fairly ruthless disposition. Ability to mow verbiage would be an advantage.

Pp 10-12. An Interview with the President by Polly Egerton-Moncrieff. An interview with Gilbert Lamont, the new President of the Northants National Union of Teachers.

Pp 14-15. Uncle Ted can help you (with a small drawing of an umpire with his finger up, used in the Northamptonshire County Cricket League Yearbooks.)

Dear Uncle Ted. I am aged 22 and keen young teacher who wants desperately to succeed. My Head keeps asking me if I will stay behind at 4 o’clock to help him in the stock-room. So far I have refused. What do you recommend?

Dear ‘Vestal’, It all depends on what kind of success you are after. I need to know other details. Are you big and strong? How large is the stock room? What time does the caretaker go home? Do not misunderstand me. You see if you are not big and strong and the room is a large one, then the caretaker should help him. (I can see that you are a thoroughly nice girl from your beautiful M.R. handwriting). Uncle Ted.

P 18. Rough roundings. What’s rough rounding?....It’s what a rough rounder does. Ask your friend in a shoe factory. The next issue will appear in May, 1964.

P 19. As a salute to Campaign for Education week the magazine’s name has been changed temporarily to the Northants Campaigner.

●  The Northants Campaigner (summer edition, 1964)

Presumed, not seen. Scheduled for May 1964 according to a note in the previous edition.

●  The Northants Campaigner (winter edition, 1964)

Presumed, not seen.

●  The Northants Campaigner (Undated: Spring edition, 1965)

Size: 182 x 250 mm

Pages: unpaginated, 24 pp, including covers

Staples: two

Binding: dark red paper (sorry, it was photographed under artificial light)

Paper: white coated paper with four pages in yellow paper;

Editor: (J.L. Carr)

Cover artist: Drawing of a cow by a child

Credit on rear cover: Published by J Carr at 27 Mill Dale Road, Kettering and printed by V.B. Pike, Canon Street, Kettering

Photo of magazine

Front cover (click to enlarge)


Inside cover. Advert for John Clare anthology, 6d. Any number supplied to schools. Diary: May 30th to Nov 21st

P 1. Photo. This is Jean Smith. She teaches in a local Primary School. And this is her class.

P 2-3. Round the County

P 3-4. The seven wonders of Northamptonshire. [People nominate their wonders]

Professor Nicholas Pevsner; Mr E E Kirby; Henry Bird; John Burden; Sir Gyles Isham; Canon Cartwright

P 5-6. Mr Lamford attends Kettering Mass meeting. Big Campaigner ‘Scoop’.

P 7-8. An Interview about Interviews with the Chairman by Polly Egerton-Moncrieff

P 9-10. Rough Roundings, News, Obituary

P 11-12 Uncle Ted can help you

P 12. The Borough Young Teachers Social and Hunt Column

P 13-14. Education and Social Class by H.S. Burry

P 14. Appointments

P 15. Letters to the Editor

P 16. Road safety – your contribution

P 17. For sale; Flittings; Northants County Association officers

P 18. Officers contd

P 19. Advert for Stewarts and Lloyds

Inside rear cover. Advert for E J Arnold

Back cover: Adverts.

●  The Northants Campaigner (Undated: Summer edition, 1965)

Size: 182 x 250 mm

Pages: unpaginated, 24 pp

Staples: two

Binding: thin yellow card covers

Paper: white coated paper with centrefold in thin pulp yellow card;

Editor: (J.L. Carr)

Cover artist: Drawing by Carr to illustrated article which start on cover: Polly Egerton-Moncrieff meets the National Union of Children

Photo of magazine

Front cover (click to enlarge)

Internal illustrations: reproduction of a longsheet of the spires of Northamptonshire churches as a centrefold plus photographs and small drawings by Carr

Credit on rear cover: Published by J Carr at 27 Mill Dale Road, Kettering and printed by V.B. Pike, Canon Street, Kettering


Cover. Polly Egerton-Moncrieff meets the National Union of Children, inside cover and page 1.

P 2: A full-page cartoon. There once were two young Northamptonshire mistresses . . . This is a Campaigner visual aid to school dinners. No. 2 – Pudding for Promotion

Middle pages, printed on thin pale yellow card. A Commemoration of Queen Elizabeth’s visit July 9th 1965. Northamptonshire church spires.

P 14. Cartoon. Let Uncle Fred help YOU. Co-respondents must use a nom-de-plume. A letter: Dear Uncle Fred from Desperate Head, with a reply.

P 16. We went for refreshment a * b * c

P 24. Sally Gilbey - Auxiliary. Notes of a lesson on coal, May 18th 1886.

Sally Gilbey was 16 when she prepared the lesson she was to give on coal. Quite possibly she had been a pupil in the same small school at which she became a pupil-teacher.

●  The Northants Campaigner (Undated: Winter edition, 1965)

Size: 182 x 250 mm

Pages: unpaginated, 24 pp

Staples: two

Binding: glossy printed card covers

Paper: white coated paper and two leaves of yellow paper

Editor: (J.L. Carr)

Cover artist: photograph of a willow tree and three poems in white on black to right.

Internal illustrations: photographs and a some drawings by Carr

Photo of magazine

Front cover (click to enlarge)

Credit on rear cover: Published at 27 Mill Dale Road, Kettering (4495) and printed by V.B. Pike, Canon Street, Kettering (3587)


Poem on front cover by J.P. Goodson, 1965, Brigstock. Letters to the editor dated June and July 1965. Polly Egerton-Moncrieff say PLEASE 'TEACHER', 3 pages. The Kingsliffe Meeting, 4 cartoons by Carr. Uncle Fred can help you: letter to Uncle Fred from Freda, with reply from Uncle Fred.

Wanted. Assistant Editor, man or woman, will share my annual 5 guineas honorarium.

Notes: Inside the rear cover is a page of spoof advertisements. Here are two examples.

Melchester Secondary School. Assistant for Backward Class (olde-established vacancy). Candidates need not have had teacher training. So long as you are an Honours Graduate of anything (Engineering, Divinity, Forestry etc) you will receive BURNHAM SCALE + £200.

MOTHERS TAKE A PART-TIME JOB TO GIVE THE KIDS THAT LITTLE BIT EXTRA. We have arranged working schedules to give you ample time to see your children off to school in the morning (subsidised and professional supervised dinners available). 2 pm – 10 pm. Apply Personnel manager Melchester Crisp Factory.

Rear cover, next to a photograph of four boys standing by another boy who is fishing:


We are four boys and one fishing (in the Ise Brook), veterans of re-organisation (for our own good) (we) are waiting to be re-organised again.

We are all old boys of (a) mixed comprehensive school. We were there from 5 to 11 and liked it.

Then you re-organised us into Clever, Not-so-Clever, Male, Female, A,B,C, D and sometimes E (for our own good).

On Saturdays, of course, we re-organise ourselves back again (for our own good).

Now you are going to re-organise us again.



●  The Northants Campaigner (Undated: Summer edition, 1966)

This date is presumed, but it could be from 1965 and the editions above are in the wrong date order.

Size: 182 x 250 mm

Pages: unpaginated, 24 pp

Staples: two

Binding: glossy printed card covers

Paper: white coated paper and two leaves of blue paper

Editor: (J.L. Carr)

Cover artist: photograph of boys drawing with chalk on a playground; photograph of Mr Paul Chambers to the right.

Internal illustrations: cartoons by Carr

Printed by: V.B. Pike, Canon Street, Kettering

Photo of magazine

Front cover (click to enlarge)


Cover. These boys are drawing a man with a Post of Responsibility . . . Mr Paul Chambers, Chairman of I.C.I. . . .has a post of responsibility too.

Inside front cover. [Story on cover completed.}

We are sorry that the Northampton and Corby coast-of-arms are missing from the County map we have published. Both town clerks were asked for permission to use the arms in an anti-vandalism feature in the County Teacher’s Magazine and both replied that only a committee could make this decision. In the Borough this would have meant a wait of 5 weeks.

P 1. Norman Lamford, County President 1964-65

Pp 2-4. Round the County. News of teachers.

P 4. Obituaries.

P 4-5. Appointments.

P 5. [Blue paper] The State of the Union. A ‘Campaigner’ Survey.

P 6. [Blue paper] That Extra Year. The sensational Baines-Lamb report. A ‘Campaigner’ Special..

Research on 10 young teachers on what they knew and were qualified to teach.

Recommendations. A university degree should not be an essential qualification for a principal or lecturer at a training college. All training college staff should be compelled to teach in a school one year in seven. Training colleges should follow up their ex-students for at least one year and receive frank opinions of the local education officer and head teacher on the results of their three years training. The front line teachers should make a vigorous assult (sic) on colleges’ monumental complacency.

P 7-9. Polly Egerton-Moncrieff looks for a Marvelous New World at Corby. ‘They’ve a new and marvelous world there’ the Editor said. ‘It’s all in this Report. This Report by Experts states Abolition of 11 Plus will reveal a Marvellous New World to primary schools. Do you know how to get there?’

P 9. Cartoon by Carr

P10. [Blue paper] Vandalism or HISTORY BEGINS AT HOME. [Handwritten text by Carr with small drawings of all that is left of the Church of St Denys between Rothwell and Lamport, including vandalism of the church at Newton-in-the-Willows.]

Can we get it over to our children that these places are tangible memorials to their own distant relations?

P 11-12. Longsheet of Northamptonshire [Carr's first county map], 494 x 183 mm

P 13-14. Uncle Fred can help you. [Two letters, which Uncle Fred answers. The second is reproduced below.]

Dear Uncle Fred

I am country headmistress of a C.E. School (a fine old building of character with its original features absolutely intact – coke heap, earth closets and very fresh air pouring in at ankle level). I was very happy down here near Towcester Hill till the new unmarried Vicar came. Once and, sometimes, twice he steals in and says ‘Miss, are you saved?’. My problem is – what does he mean? I have asked the headmaster in the next village and he is never asked that, all he asks him is where the cream from the top of the children’s milk is.

What should I do? I feel strangely disturbed. My mother is aged 83 and deaf and when I asked her about it she replied ‘Always take an umbrella with you’.

Uncle Fred, all the country teachers look to you for sophisticated advice. What should I do?

Dear ‘Freda’

This is very odd. Even for a country school in the Towcester area it is odd. I have never heard of a parson talking religion in private before. Are you sure about what he said? You may be mis-hearing him. Perhaps he really is saying, ‘Miss, have you saved?'. From now on listen more closely. But, in any case, whichever it is he says, reply firmly ‘Yes’. If it is ‘are you saved?’ a yes will do no harm, if your school has a good lightning conductor. If it is ‘have’ it may be the beginning of a Beautiful Courtship and Things. In which case I should also take notice of what your mother said. These dear old ladies know a thing or two. One with a steel ferrule if you take my advice. Uncle Fred

P 15. Book tokens.

P 15. Primary classes of 50 certain. Marjorie Bird reports Coventry Conference.

P 16-17. County Association meets at Rushden.

P 18. Rough roundings. [Notes by Carr on issues for teachers.]

P 19. [Blue paper] Is this your worry too? [A Q&A from Carr].

Q. I always keep my Defence Medal and my Africa Star in the same drawer as my register. Now someone has stolen them. Does the theft insurance built into my union subscription cover them?

A. No. Medals, rare coins, unset precious stones, manuscripts, plans, stamps and promissory notes are excluded from this cover.

Q. Whilst coming to school I became involved in an argument and had one foot and a hand cut off. Does my free N.U.T. insurance cover these?

A. Yes. You probably will receive £1000. Ask your school representative to write for ‘NUT AT YOUR SERVICE No. 2’.

Q. Whilst playing Polo I lost the sight of both eyes. I hear that the N.U.T. free policy will pay me £1000. Is this so?

A. No. It definitely excludes accidents caused on or off horseback, racing on wheels, mountaineering, winter-sporting or motor cycling.

Q. Whilst attempting to kill myself I had a bad accident. Will the N.U.T. Accident Policy compensate me?

A. No. It specifically excludes successful and unsuccessful felo-de-se,* and, further more, it is no use claiming if you have a serious accident whilst drunk, drugged, insane, pregnant, operating in a warlike fashion against an enemy or whilst travelling by charter flight in an aircraft.

P 20. [Blue paper] Full page cartoon. There once were two girls . . . This is an exclusive Campaigner visual aid to eating. Like these two girls you can be a success.

P 21. Mr Lamford our County President says

P 22. Kettering Divisional Executive Movements

P 22. The County Map. [Northamptonshire longsheet] Copies printed on card cost 6d. They make wonderful calendars which parents keep. A thousand have been sold already.

P 24. You helped this woman.

P 24. Bingley Tutor. Advert for E.J. Arnold

Inside rear cover. Flittings. Advert for: V.B. Pike General and Commercial Printing by Letterpress

Rear Cover. The John Clare Anthology. The new edition contains fourteen poems, a portrait of the poet, a photograph of one of his last letters from Northampton asymum and a line drawing of Helpston countryside. It still costs only sixpence.

* Felo-de-se, an archaic legal term for suicide.

●  The Northants Campaigner (Winter edition, 1966)

Presumed, not seen.

●  The Northants Campaigner (Summer edition, 1967)

Presumed, not seen.

●  The Northants Campaigner (Winter edition, 1967)

Presumed, not seen.

●  The Northants Campaigner (Summer edition, 1968)

Presumed, not seen.

●  The Northants Campaigner (Winter edition, November 1968)

The cover of this is reproduced in the last issue, below.

●  The Northants Campaigner (Summer edition, 1969)

Not published, according to a note from Carr in the last issue below, because it could no longer be afforded.

●  The Northants Campaigner (Winter edition, 1969)

Not published, according to a note from Carr in the last issue below, because it could no longer be afforded.

●  The Northants Campaigner (undated: Final edition, 1970)

Size: 184 x 247 mm

Pages: 20 pp

Staples: two

Binding: printed paper covers

Paper: yellow paper cover; white coated paper pp 1-8; green uncoated paper, pp9-12; white coated paper pp 13-20

Editor: (J.L. Carr)

Cover artist: Facsimile of the first page of a Rushden schools log-book when it opened 100 years ago to cope with compulsory education

Internal illustrations: reproduction of a map of Northamptonshire inside front cover; photographs and 8 small drawings by Carr

Printed by: Dalkeith Press Limited, Dalkeith Place, Kettering

Photo of magazine

Front cover (click to enlarge)


Inside front cover: Reproduction of the second edition of a map of Northamptonshire, with Christmas greetings from the President and officials of the County Association.

Pp 1-4. Round and about the county (news from schools in Northamptonshire) in the middle of which Carr writes: Are you still reading? Bear up!;

P 5. Appointments. Flittings summer 1970

P 6. Fullness of life (about a publication on religious education in schools)

P 7. Stanwick Village School

P 8. Pre-T.U.C. English in rural Northamptonshire

P 9 (green paper) Flittings (lists of teachers who had left school in the summer term, 1970)

Pp 10-11. An afternoon in the country with Polly Egerton-Moncrieff.

P 12. Si j'etais roi... (voices of teachers)

Pp 13-15. New President of County N.U.T. Association with photographs.

P 14. Pretty Polly tell me true, does this make much sense to you (A piece about inequity in schools: That Primary School means FIRST and comes LAST)

P 15. News

Pp 16-17. File Closed An article by Carr about this edition, the editor's last Campaigner, and the history of the publication

P 18. ...with which is incorporated The Melchester Tidings.

Inside rear cover: Future Dates, Association Officials, Obituary

Rear cover: An advertisement sponsored by the National Union of Children.

Notes: This is full of Carr's observations about the importance of primary education and the difficult circumstances under which teachers worked. The last page, which is entitled The Melchester Tidings, contains eight short fictional notes which will be appreciated by anyone who has read The Harpole Report. Here's one:


Speaking at an end-of-term ceremony to mark the close of Miss Hepplewhite's forty-three year long headship of Lower Tampling (Gp.O) School, the Melchester Director of Education said that England's primary schools were the best in the world. After referring to Miss Hepplewhite's long and highly valued service (We recognise that she was in the right place and kept here there), he went on to speak for thirty five minutes on the importance of keeping down the rates. The Director was accompanied by his sons, Gyles and Mark, who are on holiday from their prep school.