K. Mary E. Shaw was a teacher and student at the Battersea Polytechnic Institute in 1904. The Battersea College of Education had its origins in the department of ‘Women’s Studies’ at Battersea Polytechnic Institute. A special grant had been given to the Polytechnic by London County Council to open a teacher training school in domestic economy, and the first eleven full-time students started their course in 1894. The department was reorganized by the Board of Education as a teachers’ training school in 1895, and the Battersea Polytechnic Institute eventually became the University of Surrey.
K. Mary E. Shaw compiled notebooks during her time as a teacher and student at Battersea Polytechnic for courses on housewifery and laundry work. The notebooks cover all aspects of running an Edwardian household, from scullery, house and parlour work, hygiene, sick nursing, keeping accounts, and laundry work.