Historical information

This cloth or rag book “The Life of a Bold AB on his Ship in the Rolling C” is a child’s ABC or A-Z illustrated book written in poetic form with the theme of the British Navy at turn of 20th century. This rare book is one of the first cloth books manufactured for children.

It is likely that the book was illustrated by Will Kidd and published in London by Dean and Son, circa 1902, according to research of similar books.

The book was sent to Flagstaff Hill as padding around the donated medal of Nelson Johnson for bravery at the time of the shipwreck of Eric the Red. This medal is also in our collection.

The book was published by Dean & Son of London, established around 1800.


This book is an early example of early 20th century children's literature.

Physical description

Rag book (or cloth book), child's book "The Life of a Bold AB on his ship in the rolling C". Illustrated ABC book with poetic text, telling the story of a young sailor's life at sea. Images are screen printed onto cloth pages. Bottom edges are salveges, top and side edges are frayed. The book is bound by stitching through the middle of the centre pages. Original red coloured print of front cover has faded. Theme of book is British Navy at turn of 20th century. Published by Dean and Son