Soham Grammarians - Mr Leon Kitchen BA (Oxon), History 1951-57

16 Dec 2020: Leon died aged 93 on 2 December 2020. This page will be updated in due course.

Soham Grammarian Autumn 1951

We welcome Mr ACV Foster, Mr L Kitchen and Dr JS Turner, who take their places on the Staff.

Soham Grammarian Summer 1957

We are sorry to report that Mr Kitchen, Mr Jones and Mr Atkinson are leaving us this term; we wish them all happiness and success in the future.

VALETE - Mr Kitchen, who takes up a new post at The City School, Lincoln, next term, came to this school in 1951, when his pupils and colleagues soon discovered that here was one to whom teaching was a vocation to be pursued with unflagging zeal and earnestness.

Mr. Kitchen's unrelenting seriousness of purpose may at times have made him easy game for Magazine satirists among others, making sly digs about his chasing Sixth-formers down the drive at end of term with holiday homework or about his "night-shifts" with them in his house before A level; but it was always to be seen as a reflection of an intense love of his subject as the precious record of human aspirations and ideals.

Think of the resounding fervour of his speeches in the Freedom Service for Hungary or on United Nations occasions, and of how he has been able to build up Civics and the Discussion Group as explorations of the "eternal verities"; think, too, how he has made ordinary lessons illustrate his saying, "History is Chaps."

Matching this sincerity, which has made his morning services so memorable, has been the kindly wit and cheerful smile that seem so typically North Country. In the sports realm, Mr. Kitchen will be particularly remembered for his work with the Under-Fourteen teams and for his devotion to Stan and Len.

from the 1956 School photo

Mr Kitchen can be seen in many Reunion photos.

Peter Pryke SG52: Glad to know that Leon Kitchen is still going strong. A Yorkshireman, I think. He used to wear a beret. He was a super teacher, and a good soccer player. He took us for history and civics (tape recordings of Alistair Cooke's Letter From America). Even the thickest kids passed history.

He used to write headline notes on the board left-handed in a good hand. He could coax performance out of anybody - "what do you know about Henry the Eighth?" - silence - "Oh come on lad, tha must know sumthing".

If you can add further memories of Mr Kitchen or provide further photos of him, please contact the editor.
page last updated 1 Nov 07: 16 Dec 20