Eric Anderson (teacher)

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Eric Anderson

William Eric Kinloch Anderson

(1936-05-27)27 May 1936
Died22 April 2020(2020-04-22) (aged 83)
EducationGeorge Watson's College
Alma materUniversity of St Andrews (MA)
Balliol College, Oxford (MLitt)
SpousePoppy Mason
Children2 including David Anderson

Sir William Eric Kinloch Anderson KT FRSE (27 May 1936 – 22 April 2020) was a British teacher and educator, who was head master of Eton College from 1980 to 1994 and provost of Eton College from September 2000 to January 2009. He is notable also for having played a part in the education of a King and four Prime Ministers, at four separate educational institutions (two in Scotland and two in England).

Life and career[edit]

Anderson was born on 27 May 1936[1] and schooled at George Watson's College, Edinburgh. He graduated from the University of St Andrews with first-class honours in English language and literature and then a Master of Letters (MLitt) degree from Balliol College, University of Oxford.

During his early career, Anderson taught at Fettes College in Edinburgh[2] and at Gordonstoun where he taught Prince Charles and directed him as Macbeth in the school play. He moved back to Fettes (1966-70) and then to be headmaster at Abingdon School (1970–75),[3] Shrewsbury School (1975–80) and Eton College (1980–94)[4] and he was rector of Lincoln College, Oxford (1994–2000), when its undergraduate students included Rishi Sunak. He was chairman of the Heritage Lottery Fund (1998–2001) and provost of Eton College (2000–2009).

At Fettes, he was Prime Minister Tony Blair's housemaster. Blair subsequently named Anderson in a 1997 advertising campaign run by the Teacher Training Agency, entitled "No one forgets a good teacher". He was Head Master of Eton while David Cameron and Boris Johnson were there,[3] as well as Rory Stewart, Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, the Olympic oarsman Matthew Pinsent and the actors Dominic West and Damian Lewis. He was a supporter of the direct grant system.[4][3]

The Clarendon Press published Anderson's edition of The Journal of Sir Walter Scott in 1972 and he became a trustee of Scott's Abbotsford during its refurbishment. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1985 and, in 2002, he was appointed a Knight of the Order of the Thistle.[5]

He retired as provost of Eton on 30 January 2009,[6] and was succeeded by William Waldegrave.[4]

His other positions included visitor at Harris Manchester College, Oxford; member of the visiting committee of Harvard University Memorial Church; trustee of the Royal Collection Trust; and chairman of Cumberland Lodge. He received honorary degrees from the University of St Andrews, Hull, Siena, Birmingham, the University of Aberdeen and Buckingham.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Anderson was the son of William James Kinloch Anderson, proprietor of the Edinburgh-based kilt-making business Kinloch Anderson, and Margaret Gouinlock Harper. He was married to Elizabeth ("Poppy") Anderson, daughter of William and Mary Mason of Skipton.[8] Their son is David Anderson (Lord Anderson of Ipswich KBE KC), and their daughter Kate is married to Will Gompertz.[9]

He was an honorary Old Abingdonian and in 2018 accompanied Poppy, Kate and Will Gompertz, to open Beech Court at Abingdon School.[3] Anderson died on 22 April 2020 at the age of 83, two days after his 60th wedding anniversary.[10][3]


Coat of arms of Eric Anderson
Ad Meliora[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Birthday's today". The Daily Telegraph. 27 May 2013. Archived from the original on 27 May 2013. Retrieved 24 May 2014. Sir Eric Anderson, Provost of Eton College, 2000–09, 77 years old
  2. ^ "Sir Eric Anderson". Fettes College.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Sir Eric Anderson". Abingdon School.
  4. ^ a b c "Sir Eric Anderson Obituary". Eton College.
  5. ^ "No. 56780". The London Gazette. 12 December 2002. pp. 15113–15114.
  6. ^ Profile: Sir Eric Anderson, KT, FRSE, Debrett's
  7. ^ "HRH The Duchess of Rothesay joins University 'family'". University of Aberdeen.
  8. ^ Field, Ron. "Sir William Eric Kinloch Anderson". Retrieved 2 September 2019.
  9. ^ "Will Gompertz: 'We are all artists. We just have to believe it. That's what artists do'". Evening Standard.
  10. ^ Anderson, David [@bricksilk] (23 April 2020). "My father, a fine teacher, died yesterday..." (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  11. ^ . Lyon Court Retrieved 14 May 2023. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
Academic offices
Preceded by Head Master of Eton College
Succeeded by
Preceded by Rector of Lincoln College, Oxford
Succeeded by
Preceded by Provost of Eton
Succeeded by