The Enigma of Kidson

The Enigma of Kidson

AVAILABLE MAY 2017 – A personal memoir of legendary schoolmaster, Michael Kidson who inspired a generation of Etonians with his quirky eccentricity, brilliant teaching of History and extraordinary empathy and kindness hidden behind an intriguing mask of rudeness and mystique.





A highly personal portrait of Eton master, Michael Kidson (1929-2015) by former pupil Jamie Blackett. Kidson was a deeply unconventional schoolmaster with a passion for his subject, a brilliant didactic style, breath-taking rudeness, eccentric mannerisms and catchphrases, a maverick attitude towards authority, and above all, a deep empathy, loyalty and dedication towards his boys. He had an extraordinary influence on his pupils – David Cameron, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Johnnie Boden, Nicky Henderson, Matthew Pinsent, ‘Lupin’ and Dominic West to name but a few. 

This unique portrait features the recollections and vignettes of incidents in the classroom and the tutorial. As Kidson was an inspirational History Beak (master), history is a strong theme throughout the book and through Kidson’s life story, a vivid social history of the latter part of the twentieth century where the themes of history, education, culture, teaching, adolescence, discipline, mentorship, pronunciation, parenting and old age inter alia are all examine.

  • Extraordinary insight in to the life of Michael Kidson, an unconventional and inspirational Eton tutor 
  • With contributions from David Cameron, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Matthew Pinsent, Johnnie Boden, and many more
  • Explores his early life – a tale of Dickensian loss and redemption
  • A vivid social history of the latter part of the twentieth century
  • Recollections and vignettes of incidents in the classroom or tutorial from his pupils and colleagues
  • Covers his turbulent relationships with colleagues, with parents, including previously unpublished Roger Mortimer letters
  • Features the eulogies delivered by Sir Eric Anderson and Nat Rothschild at Kidson’s memorial service
  • A real life ‘Mr Chips’; the book will be enjoyed by anyone who was at school in the second half of the twentieth century, not just by Etonians

 'Michael Kidson was a wonderful eccentric and an inspiring teacher. Reading this book brought back many happy memories.' David Cameron



Jamie Blackett was born in 1964 was educated at Ludgrove, Eton – where he was tutored by Michael Kidson - and Sandhurst. After working in South Africa he joined the Coldstream Guards, serving in Northern Ireland, the First Gulf War, Hong Kong, The Falkland Islands, Zimbabwe and Germany. He returned to Galloway where he is now a farmer and a freelance journalist writing on farming and the countryside. 

Book Specifications

Additional Information

Sub Heading The Portrait of an Eton Schoolmaster
ISBN 9781846892509
Author Jamie Blackett
Binding Casebound
Extent 224 pages, 234mm x 156mm
Illustrations Photographs
Ebook No
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