By Fletcher, Trevor
Mathematics Teaching , No. 193
The first issue of Mathematics Teaching was dated November 1955. The print run was 600 copies, and with 1,000 complimentary slips (intended for future use) the total cost was £37-19s-7d. You may compare this with one member's subscription today.
The previous history of the Association for Teaching Aids in Mathematics, as the Association was called in those days, was described in an article by 'The Director of Studies', Caleb Gattegno, whose efforts and inspiration had led to the foundation of the Association in 1951. Over the early years the members kept in touch and were informed of progress by occasional bulletins, which were duplicated on the primitive machines which schools used in those days.
The committee had discussed the proposal to move to a printed journal more than once, and I remember vividly a meeting at which Gattegno proposed that I should be the editor. I was unwilling because I wished to give my time to the production of mathematical films (animated cartoons of geometrical diagrams) and I thought that others could edit a journal, when no one else was likely to make films. However, Gattegno was a very determined man and he refused to move on to any other business until I weakened and agreed.
When a teaching journal is founded various strategies are possible. You can enlist the support of a professional publisher, ensure adequate finance and start with a big bang. Over the last few decades a number of publications have started in this way. But we chose another method - you start with what you have, however modest, and you aim to make it grow.
At that time the Association did not have any permanent headquarters and its funds were very limited. The annual subscription was five old shillings, which is 25p. For the first ten months of 1955 the total income from subscriptions was £50-18s-4d. (Explain the 3s/4d if you can!)
The material for publication was sent to my home. I took the copy to a local printer and I eventually collected all the print run, took it home on the bus, put the copies into envelopes and took them all to the local post office.
The articles in the first number indicate the interests of the members at the time. After Gattegno's description of the work of the Association and a statement of accounts, there were two articles which were further instalments of material which had appeared in the earlier bulletins. …