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March 25 2006 at 2:49 AM

The normal maximum for corporal punishment in schools of British tradition seems to have been six strokes. Someone sometime must have decided this. Who and when and why six?

How does the severity of punishment increase with the number of strokes?

One school acquaintance, a very experienced canee, asserted that six-of-the best was much more severe than a more four-of-the-best. No one disputed his claim at the time. He was the only one present who had the experience to make the comparison.

On another occasion, a much less experienced canee commented that his bum went ?sort of numb? after the first few strokes and that he hardly noticed the last strokes of the six. My present speculation is that his bum was hurting as much as it could before the last strokes were laid on so he hardly noticed them.

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Re: Six-of-best

March 25 2006, 5:12 AM 

From an historian's perspective:

The first serious efforts to set regulations on the use of corporal punishment in British schools occurred under the auspices of the London School Board between 1871 and 1893 - it was quite a long and complicated process that I won't outline in detail here (because, frankly, I honestly don't think most people are interested in actual historical facts, considering the response to some of the other material I have taken the time to research and post on), but basically there was a struggle between the LSB and the teachers. The LSB (mostly made up of fairly radical reformers - after all at the time, universal education, especially for the poor was a fairly radical idea) wanted corporal punishment to be as limited as possible - while teachers at the sharp end of trying to educate large classes of children (60 children in a class was not uncommon to begin with, and upwards of 100 was not unheard of) who generally didn't want to go to school, and who were sometimes encouraged by their parents to deliberately misbehave because the parents didn't want their children forced to attend school - insisted they needed to use corporal punishment. Eventually a series of compromises between the two sides developed - corporal punishment would be permitted, but not the 'excesses of the Public schools' - only in the mildest forms used in the Public Schools would be considered acceptable in board schools.

So people had to find out what the mildest forms used in the Public Schools was. The source for this information was the report of a large inquiry into the top Public Schools undertaken in 1864 - the Report of Her Majesty’s Commissioners Appointed to Inquire Into the Revenues and Management of Certain Colleges and Schools, and the Studies Pursued and Instruction Given Therein..

The 1864 Commission had examined virtually every aspect of the running of nine Public Schools - Eton, Winchester, Westminster, Charterhouse, St Pauls, Merchant Taylors, Harrow, Rugby, and Shrewsbury - including their policies on corporal punishment. At the time of the report, the mildest punishment regime of any of these schools was that of St Paul's - where Masters administered up to six strokes of the cane on the palm of the hands.

And so this was adopted as the standard in the London School Board area. And from there, the standard gradually permeated across England and Wales - it wasn't absolutely enforced, but it became the most common standard.


Six of the best effect

March 25 2006, 1:42 PM 

I can certainly relate to KK's acquaintance who said that after a few strokes his bum was so numb he hardly felt the rest. I have described the effect elsewhere as being so saturated with pain as to be almost anaesthetised by the earlier strokes.

It was my first ever caning (from the headmaster and delivered over cotton PE shorts) so I suppose it may have been an effect experienced, as KK says, by an inexperieced canee.

This was over 50 years ago now but I still remember it very vividly. I suspect that the extra strokes, although hardly felt at the impact, nevertheless contributed significantly to the intensity and duration of the lasting pain, so making six rather worse that four.


6 Cane Strokes

March 25 2006, 4:54 PM 

6 well place cane strokes from a swishy thin rattan will cause intense pain with each of the strokes.The only thing you get used to or not is the searing burning pain as the cane bites in to the flesh.I can`t recall my bum going numb, just intense pain with each passing stroke.I was last caned at 16 over a vaulting horse 6 times with just a shiny pair of black satin footie shorts for protection.I still remeber it very clearly.It hurt like hell on each and every stroke. Nunbness never came into it.Just blinding pain.


Re: 6 Cane Strokes

March 25 2006, 5:59 PM 

I must say I'm envious of the number of boys who managed to get caned wearing sports kit. It never happened to me. I was often caned wearing shorts, but that's only because I was in the former colonies, and we wore khaki shorts all the time. Also, getting caned over a vaulting horse - with black satin footie shorts! - that's more exotic than anything I could have dreamed of. I was obviously living in the wrong country.

But I did get caned by a middle-aged woman when I was about eight - while wearing khaki shorts, natch. I reckon that's exotic, or semi-exotic. But not erotic. If I'd been wearing black satin footie shorts, it might have been both.

Rangy Strider


Six Cane Strokes

March 25 2006, 6:31 PM 

Your's is an interesting comparision, James, with my experience. I can certainly agree about the extreme level of pain and about the longevity of the memory.

My headmaster's cane was perhaps not so much thin and swishy as thick (between a centimeter and half an inch, if you'll forgive the mixed units), although still fairly flexible as he demonstrated by bending it through about 15 or 20 degrees in front of his chest.

I imagine your black shiny football shorts afforded about the same, neglible, protection as my white cotton PE ones.

You say this was your last caning, whereas mine was my first. This raises the question of whether you were in fact a more experienced canee, as it seems to be suggested that this 'numbing' or 'anaesthesia' might be a phenomenon which affected the inexperienced.

Another point is whether you had been told you were to get six and might therefore have been deliberately counting each one.


Six Cane Strokes

March 25 2006, 6:39 PM 

OK Rangy Strider, you might like the idea being caned in footie or PE shorts now but I wonder what your pleasure would have been at fourteen or in James' case sixteen!

James or I might find it more acceptable today in (in my case) dotage, but I assure you it had no appeal then.


6 Cane strokes

March 25 2006, 7:31 PM 

I did my time between schools in Scotland and England.I`m not going to reveal where obvioulsy.In Scotland the tawse was the choice of impliment and this was usualy administered on the hands 1-6 strokes depending on the offence and the Teacher.I was a bit of a tearaway back then and was tawsed most weeks sometimes more than 3 times a week for whatever they caught me for.My time in England saw me at a school where the cane was dished out like confetti.Unlike Scotland it was considered a prize trophy amongst the lads to sport your welted butt in the shower.Anyone just after the cane could hardly wait to show how brave he was by flashing his arse to all who wanted to look.I was caned several times for fighting on the footie park, most times with bared butt just out of the shower, the pe masters did like to cane at that point as it did hurt more when you were wet and all hot and bothered after a hard game.My final caning was in 1983 at end of term when we were competing in the inter school fottie final.We lost that game and i had a bust up with their coach and 2 of their players.I was held back and not allowed to shower and change.The rest of the lads were gone, i was ordered in to the gym still in the shiny footie kit.Black and white nylon footie shirt and wet look black satin shorts,nothing was allowed under them, that was another thing that puzzled me at the time!i think the makers were le coq sportif, that`s how clearly i remember things.Over the horse i went, lecture this lecture that, this will hurt me more than it will hurt you speach. 6 vicious cuts were whistled across my up turned shiny butt.I could hardly walk after it,tears snot and all, my butt was really welted much to the delight of the rest of the lads the next day.He seemed to enjoy himself, at the time i would have seen him die for his troubles.All in the past however.My interets in cp remains though.

the lurker at the threshold

yer I know...

March 26 2006, 12:19 AM 

I just want to say I agree with what KK says he was told by another boy about numbness during being caned. I had one six-of-the-best at secondary school. I went numb after the first stroke. Subsequent strokes I just felt the impact, and I actually remember almost thinking "This isn't so bad". Until I stood up afterwards. I felt all six strokes at once. The pain was so intense I burst into tears there and then. I seemed to feel the heat from my stripes in every part of my body. I learned that there was no escape from the power of the cane. Anyway I never had it again after that one time.


Six Cane Strokes

March 26 2006, 1:32 PM 

Very interesting to read ‘lurkers’ and James’ last postings. It would seem that lurker was being caned for the first time while James had taken the tawse and the cane several times before, although not at this new intensity. This would suggest that the ‘numbing’ could indeed be an effect associated with a first caning or an inexperienced canee as first commented by KK.

It would be valuable to hear the memories of more first-timers saying what they felt, especially if their caning was a severe one. I suspect it might be the severity which puts you into ‘saturation anaesthesia’ mode. Incidentally I also agree that standing up afterwards and limping off was an extraordinarily painful part of the ordeal.

One question for James. Do you think that if you’d got your final six of the best three or four years earlier, when you seem to have had less severe cp administered to you, you might have been less of a tearaway and kept out of trouble more?


why six, particularly?

March 26 2006, 3:51 PM 

Dean's research into the 19th-century London School Board is impressive, but I'm not entirely convinced that that was likely to have been the major vector for the notion of "six of the best" in the popular British consciousness, or for the assumption that the figure of six had some special status as the normal maximum. For one thing, I think the LSB schools would have been elementary schools only (the normal school leaving age was only 12 or 13 at that time) and such records as survive, and various anecdotal recollections, suggest that canings at such schools were usually given on the hand, typically 1 or 2 or 3 strokes on each hand. Three on each hand does make six, but I don't think that's what is usually meant by the phrase "six of the best".

I think a more likely means in which this idea was popularised is the public school stories that practically every boy once read in weekly magazines like Magnet, a tradition carried on by the Billy Bunter books and their many imitators and later by Jimmy "Whacko" Edwards on film and tv. "Six of the best" came up at least once in virtually every such story, and here means a caning on the bottom of, mostly typically, a secondary-level boy. This notion was certainly alive and well at my ancient grammar school in the 1960s and I should be surprised if that owed anything to 19th-century school board regulations.

The question really then is, where did the public schools and the grammar schools get the figure of six from? So much of their ethos -- including, indeed, the whole idea of whacking teenage boys on their bottoms -- seems to have been derived from classical studies; could it have its origin in Roman times?

Steve M

Re: why six, particularly?

March 26 2006, 9:35 PM 


It may be a co-incidence, but Billy Bunter was created around 1903 by Frank Richards, a mere 5 or so years after first class cricket changed from 5 to 6 balls an over.

Wonder if there's any connection? If so, it would explain why 6 was exported to many parts of the Empire along with cricket.


Re: Six-of-best

March 27 2006, 1:03 AM 

In response to this post I wish to say that I do appreciate the research that you do and historical posts in general. However, it is difficult for me to comment on school history as it applies to Australia. One thing that does occur to me is the relatively small population levels in Australia made it easier to legistlate on corporal punishment than in Britain. I suspect that 50 or 60 years ago there was a greater variation in punishment practices in Greater London than in an entire Austrailian state.


Re: Six-of-best

March 28 2006, 8:13 AM 

I won`t deny that when i first got the tawse that it really was a shock to the system.I got tawsed many times and maybe in a strange way i got used to it.6 of the tawse left the hands burning and swollen and wasn`t something that you planned to take.That said, it did show that cp did not work for many including myself.The cane sensation that some mention are classic effects of the cane.I can only assume that it effected different folk in different ways.The coommon thing that the effect of the cane had on all was when you stood up, the strokes seemed to light up and burn through your very being.The strokes that flanked round the side were horrible and always broke the skin taking ages to heal up.Those strokes were usualy deleivered by a poor caner or one that liked to hurt and there was no short supply of those clowns.

Tim Green

Re: Six-of-best

March 28 2006, 9:20 AM 

Thanks as ever to Dean for the historical account. I've often wondered about the origin of the magic "6" and had not heard this explanation before. Now we need an etymologist to identify the first use of the expression "six of the best", which has become so embedded in the language of Britain - I suspect a writer of school stories - the aforementioned Frank Richards for example - was responsible for this.

On the question of whether 6 is really worse than, say 4, I would say certainly. It is true that a hard cane stroke may de-sensitise the immediate area of impact (I say "hard" as I once got a caning of 60 light cane strokes and felt every one!) but there is room on most bottoms to space 6 strokes so each lands where it will be felt fully. And that only deals with the immediate effects of the strokes. One of the "beauties" of the cane which distinguishes it from most other implements is the way in which the effects last. The after-effects of 6 of the best are certainly worse than those of 4, in my experience.



Re: Six-of-best

March 28 2006, 10:40 AM 

OED identifies Saki in 1912 in Unbearable Bassington as its first identified useage in this context ("You'll get six of the very best, over the back of a chair.") It also suggests a slightly earlier useage of "of the best" as a more general slang - 1911.

OED doesn't always get the very first references in their listings, but they are generally pretty close. It would seem likely that the term started to permeate into school stories just priot to the first world war and then became better known.

Lotta Nonsense

Re: Six-of-best

March 28 2006, 11:01 AM 

The fact that Saki inserts the word 'very' in the phrase 'six of the best' is an indicator of his intention to make it clear that he is referring to no ordinary six of the best.

On that basis alone, we could conclude that the expression 'six of the best' was hackneyed even in Saki's time.

And we'd be right!

The expression had been in use for more than 200 years when Saki used it.

It can be dated back to around 1700.


Re: why six, particularly?

March 28 2006, 11:04 AM 

The question really then is, where did the public schools and the grammar schools get the figure of six from? So much of their ethos -- including, indeed, the whole idea of whacking teenage boys on their bottoms -- seems to have been derived from classical studies; could it have its origin in Roman times?

I wasn't specifically addressing the term 'Six of the Best' but rather how and why 6 became the normal maximum. I have briefly outlined below a tiny bit of easy etymological research which suggests a context for the term six of the best and I would agree that that probably came from school stories.

When it comes to the idea of 6 as a normal maximum though, I do think the LSB is the most likely source for that. You are correct that LSB schools were elemntary only, but I would say incorrect on the idea that your grammar schools regulations wouldn't have owed something to those 19th century LSB regulations.

The LSB Regulations on Corporal Punishment developed between 1870 and 1914 wound up forming the basis for most corporal punishment regulation in state schools in Britain - yes, they originally applied only to elementary schools but after 1902 they began to be applied to secondary schools (when the London School Board was abolished by the Balfour Act and replaced by the Education Committee of the London County Council).

Most areas outside London had no regulations on corporal punishment within their state schools in the 19th century, but in 1900, Her Majesty's Inspectors of Schools were suddenly required to inspect the punishment books of all schools they inspected (punishment books had technically been required in all schools since 1886, but it wasn't until 1900 that anyone was required to check they existed). In the absence of regulations concerning corporal punishment across most of England, the Inspectors, by default started basing their inspections on the LSB regulations. Schools were not absolutely required to follow the LSB Regulations - but it was the easiest way to get a good report. And so until County Councils (and later LEAs) set their own regulations, the LSB regulations gradually became the closest thing there was to a national standard.

Private schools of various sorts weren't obliged to follow these regulations at all - but they certainly knew about them and they certainly had an influence on some schools.

As for the Public Schools and the Grammar Schools using six as a standard - they really didn't until the twentieth century. If you check records from the 19th Century, such as exist, it's clear that corporal punishment in Public Schools and old Grammar Schools were often in a variery of denominations - I've made considerable study, for example, of the Winchester Discipline scandal of 1872 - it's clear in that that the minimum handed out in a normal 'tunding' at Winchester at the time was 15 strokes - and the case that inspired the scandal involved 30 strokes. There was a huge range in the 19th century - and yet by the middle of the twentieth, there was much less variety and I personally don't think it's coincidence that the standard of six that became generally accepted, was that promulgated by the LSB at the turn of the century.


Re: Six-of-best

March 28 2006, 11:05 AM 

It can be dated back to around 1700.

Source for that?

Lotta Nonsense

Re: Six-of-best

March 28 2006, 11:08 AM 

I do not quote sources.

Sources quote me .


Re: Six-of-best

March 28 2006, 11:14 AM 

So an assertion which you will not provide any evidence for - and that contradicts the Oxford English Dictionary.

I'm impressed by your audacity, if by nothing else.

Tim Green

Re: Six-of-best

March 28 2006, 11:24 AM 

Yes, we academics can be very particular about sources!



Common and case law and why 6 strokes

March 28 2006, 7:38 PM 

There have been a number of cases in which complaints of excessive punishment made against schools or teachers have been successful defended on the basis that the punishment was reasonable in the particular circumstances. In such cases comparisons are made. If a particular punishment is widely used and/or has been in use for a long time this usage is likely to be used as the standard for reasonableness. This does not explain why six but it may explain the wide acceptance of this number as the normal maximum once it was established as a maximum by one reputable school authority.

We have 10 fingers and this is probably why we use base 10 numbers. Computers use base 2 (off/on electricity or north/south magnetisation) or sometimes base 16 (2^5). Twelve has more factors than 10 and dozens and half dozens are widely used. Six or a dozen buns form a more convenient 2x3 or 4x3 array than five or ten buns (1x5, 2x5). For some reason, lashes of the whip seem to have been awarded by the dozen so it is not surprising if a half dozen would also be awarded.


Six of the best

April 2 2006, 5:27 PM 

From 1980 to 1984 I attended High School in South Australia a time when the deputy headmaster took care of discipline.Being sent to him was a bit shame full because everyone including the girls knew he would cane my bum.I,d have to empty my back pockets then bend over and grab the ends of my boots.Apart from my first caning[4 cuts]I always got 6.Many times I would straighten up after 3 or 4 cuts but once bent again he would really lay the cane home.Tears were always there and my small bum would swell up a bit.It felt a bit like a knife slash[hence the cuts]then just sheer burning.Sitting in class on hard seats was nearly impossible.


Re: Six of the best

April 10 2006, 10:03 PM 

"The question really then is, where did the public schools and the grammar schools get the figure of six from?" (alaric)


Given the apparent damage, I would suspect that six would be more than enough!


Rate this caning

April 13 2006, 8:26 AM 

How does the caning in the pic above rate? Were the strokes "of-the-best"?

1. Trivial?
2. Mild?
3. Moderate?
4. Severe?
5. Extreme?


Re: Rate this caning

April 13 2006, 9:09 AM 

They look several hours old and i`d consider them to be moderate.The length of the strokes across the buttocks look odd!


Re: Rate this caning

April 13 2006, 10:14 AM 

That is exactly how our buttocks looked like after we had been caned at school. The strokes were spaced out like that and left a raised weal. The cane was laid on full force and made a sound like a pistol shot when it landed. You could not sit comfortably for at least 24 hours. I think a lot of people don't realise how severe corporal punishment was in a lot of English schools.


Caning can be severe

April 13 2006, 7:52 PM 

Have to agree .A real whipping with a swishy rattan cane is a severe punishment.Hardly fitting for a school environmnet.It went on for a very long time though, so it could hardly have been considered severe for a long time.If you ask me no teacher would haved caned anyone had they not wanted to do so.There were endless other methods of punishment.Some Teachers would not use corporal punishment.Those who did seemed to enjoy it, some clearly so.


Re: Rate this caning

April 13 2006, 9:39 PM 

"They look several hours old and i`d consider them to be moderate.The length of the strokes across the buttocks look odd!"(James)

They are not several hours old but rather several minutes old. They come from a video produced by a company that tends to try to accurately reproduce school boy puishments.

I would not say that the cane swing that produced this result was particularly strong. I would say that the result is particularly nasty.


Re: Rate this caning

April 14 2006, 5:37 AM 

Is that caning given with nothing on.?


Re: Rate this caning

April 14 2006, 12:55 PM 

I agree these look about 15-20 minutes old to me. If the video Rez mentioned was intended to accurately reproduce a schoolboy caning it would have been given over the PE shorts (that was my experience), which appear to have been lowered for the photo.

James says the length of the strokes looks odd. This, I would say is because they are quite moderate strokes with a thickish cane which is less flexible than some. The lowest stroke,almost on the crease would probably have brought quite a gasp.

Although only rated moderate, this caning would certainly have hurt, as genuine school canings were meant to, but by no means as much as some in my time in the 1950's.

This 'boy' might have been back again a few months later - there was no way I would have been back for more (not for 35 years anyway!)


Re: Rate this caning

April 14 2006, 3:03 PM 

Is that caning given with nothing on.? (Winston)

Haven't seen the clip in a while but if I remember correctly 3 were given on P.E. shorts and 3 on the bare...which is typical for this company.

My understanding based on what I have read is that although canings were often given with shorts or P.E. shorts in place, it was also not unusual to be caned on the bare bum as a more stingent sanction. Personally I find caning to be more than a little bit excessive and an odd and rather uncivilized behavior to have occurred so readily in such a civilized culture. The formality and approach to British style school boy caning as well as the stated rationale seems such a paradox when one looks at the result and boils it down to its essence---grown men beating children with sticks, producing pain, long-lasting welts and bruises in order to try to elicit respectful behavior.


Re: Rate this caning

April 14 2006, 3:30 PM 

I would classify those marks as between 4 and 5.

I was frequently caned at my London grammar school in the mid 1960s and never had marks like that even after six strokes. The only marking was short thin red stripes across my arse made by the tip of the cane.

Canings were given across our ordinary trousers, we just had to bend over and lift up our blazer. Some teachers caned on the hand. Occasionally a boy might be slippered on his gym shorts during PE but I never heard of anyone being made to take his trousers down or change into PE kit for a caning.


Re: Rate this caning

April 14 2006, 4:38 PM 

"...but I never heard of anyone being made to take his trousers down or change into PE kit for a caning." (Bobby K)

I have been told by individuals and read in a number of places that this did occur. I know it is a claim made by Old Boys in their 50's about the use of CP in Independent Schools in Australia. Perhaps such a member here could comment.


Re: Rate this caning

April 14 2006, 4:40 PM 

Above post by Rez, the Forgetful. Sorry.


Re: Rate this caning

April 14 2006, 5:22 PM 

When Bobby K rates these 4or5, that’s out of how many, 10?

Personally, no, never made to take trousers down or change into PE kit for a caning but just happened to be summoned to the Headmaster’s study (immediately, please) during a PE lesson.

Not a coincidence I suspect - convenient for him but not for me!

Not Australia but Birmingham, England 1951.


Re: Rate this caning

April 14 2006, 6:56 PM 

"When Bobby K rates these 4or5, that’s out of how many, 10?"

I believe he is referring to the rating system established higher up in this thread.


Re: Rate this caning

April 14 2006, 7:06 PM 

Here is an exchange in another CP forum that is of interest in this thread:

Whackathug wrote:
I think most of us would agree that school CP was never on the bare arse. (Though I can speak from experience of a couple of occasions where the slipper was used to restore order in the showers. Very rare though and probably highly irregular even then.)

Naturalman wrote:
The thing is - at some schools, it most certainly was. I received two bare bottom canings at my school in the late 1960s, and my school was hardly unique.

Whackathug wrote:
But my question is, if all school canings and slipperings had of been given BA, would it have been more effective and would you have been even more careful to avoid it?

Naturalman wrote:

Honestly, I don think it would have been more effective. I think the reason my school occasionally flogged boys (that was the term we used for bare backside canings) was at least partly because normal caning was overused. They therefore needed something worse as a higher level deterrent. If they'd caned on the bare all the time, it would have diminished it.

Yes, it hurt a bit more, but not incredibly so (in fact, I think the last normal six I got in Fifth Form hurt much more than the two floggings I received). But there was an aura about it - when this happened, you knew they were very serious.


Re: Rate this caning

April 14 2006, 8:07 PM 

Many apologies for forgetting the numbers on KK's rating request - bad of me.
On that scale I can only rate this a 3, perhaps slightly on the high side of 3 but certainly nowhere near 5.

Your quotations from Naturalman are interesting. I think there is much evidence to suggest that the cane was overused in many schools and lost a lot of effect and respect because of this.

At my own school, as I have reported elsewhere on the forum, its use was comparatively rare - I remember just one boy in my class each year getting a caning from a class teacher.

Caning by the Headmaster was the ultimate, it was NEVER boasted about by recipients and I can't remember it being even referred to by either boys or masters within the everyday school life.

I suppose it was, genuinely, a silent deterrent; this in my view made it effective, much more so than if it had been 'dished out like confetti' as described by James in an earlier posting.


Re: Rate this caning

April 15 2006, 12:23 PM 

The type of cane in question that left the marks in the picture.I never realised it could have ben done with a thicker cane.On reflection that would probably be correct.The lads in our school wern`t caned with anything other than a 30" junior rattan.Eceptionaly whippy,leaving thinner, longer welts.Bare bottom caning was rare,it did happen though, i knew lads who got it that way.The PE Teacher carried out canings for other teachers who did not want to do it themselves.This meant he was widely recognised as the School Caner.He did enjoy doing it, we all realised that.It meant PE lessons were not always a welcome part of the day for many, as they would be caned one at a time over the vaulting horse directly after the PE lesson.From 1 to 6 strokes.The swish,thwack and howl of the lad being caned terrified those waiting in line outside the gym.The tearfull lad walking past them rubbing his bum had some in tears before it was even their turn.Sometimes we were rain soaked, cold and misrable.A caning over our regluation black satin PE shorts with nothing under them seemed in every way a bared bottom thrashing to us back then.When they were wet made it a lot worse.The marks lasted at least an extra day.


Bare Bottoms

April 15 2006, 3:27 PM 

In his autobiography "The Harder Path" John (BBC) Birt describes at some length CP in the late 1950s at his school St Mary's Crosby (Christian Brothers).

The normal punishment was hand strapping but Birt states that one of his friends "received six strokes on his bare bottom which was badly marked and bruised."

CP apart, the part of the book that deals with Birt's boyhoodin Liverpool is surprisingly good and far more interesting than the BBC politics later on.


Re: Bare Bottoms

April 15 2006, 5:58 PM 

A most interesting book about life in boys' English prepartory schools is "Whimpering in the Rhododendrons" by Arthur Marshall (William Collins Sons and Co Ltd, london, 1982) It covers a variety of aspects of preparatory school life including CP. Here is an excerpt:

"Let us begin with a characteristic example of the kind of thing that went on.

There was a tremedous amount of official beating. The head was a devout believer in the efficacy of cane and slipper. He did not beat boys particularly hard, but he beat them perpetually. He beat them for quite minor misdemeanours and he beat them for doing nothing at all. There was a great deal of talking after 'lights out'. Quite rightly the head wanted this to stop -- although he was psychologically incapable of understanding that allowing children to talk, perhaps for ten minutes, would be regarded as a privilege which would not be abused. Instead he crept about the place in tennis shoes, like a cat burglar. When he pounced upon a dormitory, he expected the talkers to 'own up'; if they did not, all the boys in the dormitory were beaten. This was insane. Small boys, still asleep, were lugged from their beds and told to bend over...Beating if intended to be a real deterrent should be carried out as seldom as possible. When it becomes routine, it is worse than useless."


Students Do the Caning

April 16 2006, 3:27 AM 


Original caption:

Eccleshall, England: A Lecturer Receives A "Practical Demonstration."

Eric Wildman, President of the National Society for the Retention of Corporal Punishment and owner of a company that makes canes for whipping bad British schoolboys, is shown (above), on the floor of a lecture hall at Horsley Hall, just before the students attending the lecture caned him. Wildman was at the school to deliver a lecture and had brought along six of the canes as props. Imagine his surprise when the afternoon turned from a dry lecture to a real-life caning. Wildman was treated at a hospital for shock and made a complaint against the pupils to police. The school's young headmaster confessed to organizing the attack.


Date Photographed: ca. 1940s


Re: Students Do the Caning

April 16 2006, 4:46 AM 

Above posted by Rex, the Supremely Forgetful

Brian 4

Re: Students Do the Caning

April 16 2006, 7:12 AM 

So forgetful, in fact, that he cannot remember his own name.

Copyright Brian4RezRexPosts


Re: Students Do the Caning

April 16 2006, 2:06 PM 

Is there a therapy for this? Anonymous....er, Rex....er, Rez

Dissociative Identity Disorder is nothing trivial!


Six of the Best?

April 16 2006, 5:54 PM 

Typical schoolboy caning?


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