Peter Mason Opie

At Eton : 1932 to 1937

Writers, Poets, Wits, Scholars and Dons

Known for: An authority on children’s lore and nursery rhymes along with his wife Iona. The Opies co-authored books including The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes and The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren, helping to establish the traditions and culture of childhood as a legitimate area for research.

School days: At Eton 1932-1937. In his first book, I Want to be a Success, Opie describes his schooldays at Eton along with his travels in India. His feelings on his time at Eton were mixed: “The system … is dangerous for anybody who is not absolutely normal … But it does have the results.”

House: J.C.C. (Rev. J.C. Chute)

School awards: Brinckman Divinity Prize (Lent 1932).

Career details, awards, etc.: Royal Society of Arts silver medal (1953); Folklore Society Coote Lake Medal (1960); Chicago Folklore Prize (1970). The Opies received honorary MAs from Oxford University (1962).

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