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Mr Tibbits's Catholic School Paperback – 1 Nov 2011

4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Slightly Foxed: The Real Reader's Quarterly; 2nd Revised edition edition (1 Nov. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906562326
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906562328
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 1.2 x 17 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 234,197 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

`A small but perfectly formed masterpiece'
--Rupert Christiansen, Daily Telegraph

From the Publisher

`John Betjeman used to say that he had never laughed so much as during the year in which he was the cricket master at a small private school,' writes A. N. Wilson in his introduction to this story of another small private school, St Philip's, founded in 1934 by Catholic convert Richard Tibbits, and still going strong today.

Like many of the best books, 'Mr Tibbits's Catholic School' is not easily classifiable. But for anyone who has enjoyed Evelyn Waugh's 'Decline and Fall', or Ronald Searle's 'St Trinian's', anyone who loves to laugh yet feels the poignancy of the passage of time, this book will be a treat.

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Top Customer Reviews

A wonderful evocation of a certain kind of slightly old-fashioned British eccentricity at its most wholesome.

Only warning: skip the preface by A.N. Wilson. It's pompous and nearly put me off - quite out of keeping with the unstuffy tone of Ysenda Maxtone Graham herself.

Head straight for page 17.
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By M. Dowden HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 5 July 2013
There is still going today a small boys' Catholic prep school in South Kensington, called St Philips. This shortish book is all about the history of this school, from the very beginning in 1934, up unto the present day. Although this is obviously a public school it reminds me in some places of going to a comprehensive with regards to awful school dinners, and other minor things.

Founded by Richard Tibbits this book has a lot of reminiscences from former and current teachers (including the head master), and former pupils, some of whose names are instantly recognisable. Although a Catholic school it has always had a tradition of taking in non-Cathoics, indeed the founder's wife was Anglican, as also was the headmaster who took over when Mr Tibbits died.

This is one of those books that really you wish was longer as it is so fascinating and has a lot packed into it. With chain smoking and drunk teachers in the past, along with those who were never really qualified as such to teach there are also some quite eccentric characters. Opened in a house, the school still operates from the same premises, albeit with improvements made over the years. Closing during the Second World War, Mr Tibbits took those pupils who wanted to, to his parent's home in Warwick, with arrangements made to attend a prep school there.

This makes for a very enjoyable and entertaining read, with characters that you won't easily forget, and remember this is true, not fiction. As the school progressed through the decades you can also see how parents' attitudes, and school practices have changed. But what I found this book really brought home is the benefits of a small school.
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Here is the story of a boys' prep school in west London, founded in 1934 and nowadays flourishing. It is exquisitely written. It is quite short but every page is a delight. The illustrations add a lot.

One of the many fascinating things about this unexpected tale is the relationship of the school with the Roman Catholic Church. This has not always been straightforward. The gallery of eccentrics portrayed in the book includes a priest who when asked to confess a lady in the street put up the tennis racquet he was carrying as a makeshift grille. I laughed out loud when I read this.

Strongly recommended to anyone who wants something unusual but quick to read. Quirky, yes; but the writing makes the story live. Julian Fellowes's (perfectly decent) afterword reads clumsily by comparison.
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I loved this book. A charming account of school in the past when the teacher was an individual, could teach in an inspirational way without the fear of not reaching a specific target or ticking boxes all the time. I was sorry when I came to the final page.
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perfect
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