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    Peter Smout Memorial Essay Writing Competition 2020

    We are delighted to announce that our annual Peter Smout Memorial Essay Writing Competition is now open! 

    This competition is for Kimbolton School pupils in the First to Lower Sixth Forms. It has been made possible thanks to the generosity of an anonymous Old Kimboltonian who thought highly of Peter Smout, a much-respected former Kimbolton Senior Master.

    Please read the instructions below on how to enter (also available as a pdf download from the bottom of this page).

    The essay topic for 2019 is: Should the Royal Family in Britain be replaced by an elected Head of State?

    This year marks the 360th anniversary of the restoration of the monarchy following the English Civil War. Despite the industrial revolution and the collapse of the British Empire, the UK remains a constitutional monarchy with the Queen as the unelected head of state. Debates about whether the monarchy should be abolished have taken place for centuries.
    Whilst few people in modern Britain would now support the notion of a ‘divine right’ to rule, many enjoy the celebrity, pomp and ceremony of the Royal Family; seeing it as an important British tradition, good for charity, tourism and international trade, and a bulwark against political and social instability. The popularity of the Queen’s recent broadcasts on both the pandemic and the 75th anniversary of VE Day illustrates that many still look to the Monarch for leadership and reassurance.
    Campaigners against the monarchy point out the more anti-democratic aspects of having an unelected head of state and a hereditary system. Arguments here also include the cost of the institution and the bad publicity and scandal that it often attracts – such as the recent ‘Megxit’ saga.
    Others argue that there is no public appetite for such a major change and that Britain benefits from having a monarchy that stands apart from the ‘murky’ process of electioneering and the potential ill-judgement of the electorate. There is no guarantee that an elected head of state would be controversy free either – would we swap the Queen for Donald Trump?

    Essay structure

    We are looking for you to consider both sides of this debate, whilst presenting your own line of argument. It would be a good idea to include some specific examples of positive and negative aspects of the monarchy and an elected head of state to help illustrate your explanations.

    Starting your research:

    An introduction to the topic can be found here;
    For the monarchy…
    Against the Monarchy…
    Other useful reading…


    Length of Essay

    Essays submitted should be in the region of 1500 words.

    Entry Deadline

    To Mr Newsam’s inbox / pigeon hole Monday 14th September 2020.


    Overall winning essay – £200

    Two consolation prizes:

    Senior Category (4th to L6th Forms) – £100

    Junior Category (1st to 3rd  Forms) – £100

    Peter Smout 1929-2006

    Peter Smout, former Kimbolton School Senior Master

    Charles Anthony Peter Smout (known as Peter) was born in Birmingham on 14 November 1929. Following school at The Leys, National Service in the Army, a degree at Cambridge and teaching practice at KES Birmingham and Kimbolton, Peter joined the staff of Kimbolton School as an English teacher in 1954. He remained here for 35 years, becoming Second Master in 1964. Many former colleagues and pupils remember him as the originator of outdoor Shakespearian productions in the castle courtyard; now home to a memorial bench bearing his name.

    Peter had many and varied interests, including football, birds, butterflies, the church and opera. The Kimboltonian magazine of 1989 notes: "He always welcomed the opportunity to broaden his already diverse interests, and the Printing Club, the Wine Club, the Paperback Bookshop and the School magazine all benefitted from his enthusiasm and efficiency."

    In addition to his School commitments, Peter also stood three times as parliamentary candidate for the Liberal Party in the 1970s, highlighting environmental issues and on one occasion polling over 17,000 votes. A former colleague recalls: "Many of those votes were in addition to any national swing, reflecting personal support gained by diligent long-term canvassing."

    Peter celebrated his golden wedding anniversary in 2004 and remained in good health until his death on 22 December 2006, aged 77. He leaves his wife Mary, two sons and four grandchildren.