Floreat Brixton

Tam Dalyell

  • An Eton Schoolboy’s Album by Mark Dixon
    Debrett, 118 pp, £10.95, November 1985, ISBN 0 905649 78 8

‘I didn’t learn much history at Eton, but one of the first things we were taught was that Henry VI founded Eton, his “College Roiall of oure Lady Eton”, in the year 1440.’ So says Mark Dixon in An Eton Schoolboy’s Album. He may or may not have learned much history, but somewhere along the line Dixon, who left Eton in 1980, has learned how to write in an entertaining and elegant way. I find it difficult to judge the impression it might make on the non-Etonian reader, because in spite of the glossary of Etonian lingo I suspect a corpus of knowledge about the place is necessary to understand that strange self-contained world on the banks of the Thames. The instant effect of Dixon’s photographs on one of my Labour Parliamentary colleagues who himself had left school at 16 was one of relief that his childhood had not been spent in such fraught circumstances.

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