This collection of films, audiotapes and slides was compiled by John and Peggy Mowat during their time on the Gilbert & Ellice Islands.
The Mowats were involved in the teaching profession - John undertaking a project about the teaching of oral English and Peggy employed as a teacher in the locals schools. The visual material reflects many aspects of life on the islands, showing practices in the schools and a variety of social occasions. This gives a snapshot of life during the period 1967 to 1970.
John and Peggy Mowat were also interviewed, and their oral histories have now been digitised by the British Library Unlocking Our Sound Heritage project - see OH 0186 and OH 0189.
After training as a teacher, John D Mowat (1914-2007) taught at Clifton High School in Bristol. He met his wife Hilda Margaret (Peggy) Frame when she also got a job as a teacher at the school, and she lodged at John’s mother’s house. Peggy Mowat was born in the Belgian Congo, where her father was a Baptist missionary, as the fifth of six children.
John and Peggy married in 1943, and had a family of 3 – Andrew, Nicholas and Julia. They subsequently taught at schools in Blackheath and Peterborough before returning to Bristol where they both became lecturers at Redland Teacher Training College.
In September 1967 John and Peggy, travelled to the Gilbert & Ellice Islands (now Tuvalu & Kiribati) in Polynesia to work in primary school education when they took sabbaticals from their teacher posts in order to work abroad.
John Mowat was initially employed on a 6-month contract, organised by the Ministry of Overseas Development, to look into the teaching of oral English on the islands. This work was later extended with a further 2-year contract when the size of the issue had been uncovered. Peggy Mowat was offered teaching posts during her time there, paid at local rates.
The Mowats were based on the island of Tarawa, near the headquarters of the Education Office and Teachers Training College at Bikenibeu. They returned to their teaching jobs in the UK at the end of 1970 to work their final 8 or so years before retirement.
John passed away in 2007. Peggy suffered a stroke in 2006 and died on 20 March 2011.
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