A living justification for the Union

Eric was at ease with England, yet contributed something which England alone could not provide

Sir Eric Anderson KT 1936-2020

Sir Eric Anderson was Head Master of Eton 1980-1994, then Provost, and teacher of three prime ministers. Guy Walters recalls a stern and awe-inspiring figure while Graham Stewart asked colleagues, friends and former pupils, including Tony Blair, for their memories of a hugely influential educator


Eric’s Scottishness was important. It made him see primarily English institutions, notably Eton, with a slightly exterior eye. He became an Establishment figure, but an appropriately critical one. He was a Presbyterian, after all, not an Anglican. He maintained and embodied the Scottish tradition of high educational standards, though always tempered with humanity. These standards include a reverence for the written word. Walter Scott, whom he so admired, is a figure of Scottish romance, of course, but also of unrelenting diligence — a great Scot, but much bigger than nationalism. I never discussed Scottish politics with Eric, but he seemed to me a living justification for the Union — at ease with England, yet contributing something which England alone cannot provide. 

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