Header overlay
Mr Tibbits’s Catholic School (Plain Foxed Edition)
Slightly Foxed: Plain Foxed Editions Pair - Ysenda Maxtone Graham, Mr Tibbits’s Catholic School and Terms & Conditions
  • ISBN: 9781906562946
  • Pages: 200
  • Dimensions: 170 x 110mm
  • Illustrations: B/W
  • Publication date: 1 September 2016
  • Producer: Smith Settle
  • Genre: Memoir/History
  • Binding: Cloth hardback
  • Trimmings: Silk ribbon, head- & tailband; gold blocking to spine
  • NB: Unlimited Plain Foxed Edition
  • Preface: A. N. Wilson
Made in Britain

Mr Tibbits’s Catholic School (Plain Foxed Edition)

Ysenda Maxtone Graham

SF Subscriber Prices

UK & Ireland £18 *save £2.00
Overseas £20 *save £2.00

Non-Subscriber Prices

UK & Ireland £20
Overseas £22
  • Gift wrap available
  • In stock
  • All prices include P&P. Overseas rates & subscriber discounts will be applied once you have selected a shipping type for each item during the checkout process.
  • Special price only available when ordering directly from Slightly Foxed
● If you are a current subscriber to the quarterly your basket will update to show any discounts before the payment page during checkout ● If you want to subscribe now and buy books or goods at the member rate please add a subscription to your basket before adding other items

‘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.

Laughter – and affection – are certainly the keynotes in Ysenda Maxtone Graham’s unusual history of an unusual school. ‘As you live through its story in these chapters,’ the author promises her readers, ‘you’ll be taken on a meander through the 20th century. War, rationing, smog, mini-skirts, maxi skirts, strikes, Thatcherism, the first computer: you will encounter them all through the lens of a small Catholic prep school in South Kensington.’ And what a lens it is.

Meandering through the decades we meet the school’s late founder ‘Dick’ Tibbits, with his temperamental Humber tourer ‘popping, banging and emitting clouds of smoke’ as he sets off to pick up his first pupils; Muriel, his wife and helpmeet, likewise emitting clouds of smoke from her habitual cigarette; Mr Tregear the French teacher who, in black boots with red cork high heels and drainpipe trousers, ‘made Kenneth Williams look like a truck driver’; and Mr Neville, who mislaid the end-of-year exam papers and left in haste to run a launderette. And, of course, there are the Old Boys – many of them, like the writer Julian Fellowes who contributes an afterword, distinguished names in later life – who, from restaurant table or deep armchair, supply Ysenda Maxtone Graham with their varying reminiscences.

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.

Water Pistols at Fifty Paces

The year was 1934, and Richard (‘Dick’) Tibbits, it seems, had been approached by Father Talbot of the Brompton Oratory with the suggestion that there was need for a Catholic boys’ prep school...

Read more

‘May I say how delighted I am . . .’

‘I have just received the three volumes that I ordered, Mr Tibbits’s Catholic School, Terms & Conditions and The Real Mrs Miniver. May I say how delighted I am with both the production and the...

Read more

Comments & Reviews

Leave your review

  1. Jane Branfield says:

    I saw and bought ‘Mr Tibbits’s Catholic School’ in the National Theatre bookshop, and was completely charmed and enthralled.

  2. Ysenda Maxtone Graham’s Mr Tibbits’s Catholic School captures the hilarity and pathos of an eccentric headmaster and the unusual establishment he founded in Kensington in the Thirties. A.N.Wilson introduces us to his funny, peculiar world.

    There are two sorts of school stories. Much the most popular, of course, are those that observe the drama of school life through the prism of the pupils’ imagination. Malory Towers, the Chalet School adventures, Jennings and Darbishire, Harry Potter, Billy Bunter all belong to this addictive genre. My father, who was born in 1902, used to say that the essential thing to realise about such books is that they are really about class; that in his boyhood, it was not the privately educated who were devotees of Frank Richards’s chronicles of Greyfriars, but those who attended ‘government schools’ and liked imagining themselves wearing an Eton collar and being given six of the best in the cloisters . . .

Similar Items

Sign up to our e-newsletter

Sign up for dispatches about new issues, books and podcast episodes, highlights from the archive, events, special offers and giveaways.