Inspirational address on manliness inspires book by former headmaster of Northamptonshire school

Malcolm Tozer was headmaster of Northamptonshire Grammar School, now Pitsford School from 1989 to 2004

Malcolm Tozer was headmaster of Northamptonshire Grammar School, now Pitsford School from 1989 to 2004

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A former headmaster of a Northamptonshire school has published a book inspired the words of a speech day address to another school in 1914.

Malcolm Tozer was headmaster of Northamptonshire Grammar School, now Pitsford School from 1989 to 2004. His book, The Ideal of Manliness: The legacy of Thring’s Uppingham, is out on sale now.

A spokesperson for publishers, Sunnyrest Books, said: “The Rev Harry McKenzie, Headmaster of Uppingham School, closed his Speech Day address on Saturday, July 9, 1914, with a challenge to his boys. His words captured the Homeric ideal of manliness of the contemporary English public school: ‘Be a man useful to your country. Whoever cannot be so is better dead’.

“No-one in the audience knew that this ideal would soon be put to the test. The assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in distant Sarajevo a fortnight earlier had already set the course that would lead to the Great War. McKenzie came to regret his words.

“Manliness was the central educational ideal of the Victorian and Edwardian public school. This study traces its evolution from the early nineteenth century to the schools of the new millennium,” the spokesperson added.

The bok is on sale for £12 plus £4 p&p for a paperback edition and £20 plus £4 p&p for the hardback edition. For details, contact Sunnyrest Books on 01872 580467 or email sunnyrest-books@outlook.com