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School Strap

December 19 2006 at 2:23 AM

Dean Clarke 

 
People who have been on this forum a while may recall that I once posted a series of images of a school strap that I 'souveniered' on my last day at the school. I've now got a somewhat better digital camera and so I have taken somewhat clearer images of the strap in question - though as my skills in photography haven't dramatically improved, I still won't claim they are brilliant pictures.

Nonetheless, here they are for those who would like to see them.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

 
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AuthorReply
Gas Mask Wearer

Re: School Strap

December 19 2006, 7:55 AM 

Thanks Dean, they’re great. I love looking at pictures of straps, tawses, slippers, canes, floggers, whippers, martinets and gas masks.

Keep sending them in or the world will know about that post of January 2003.

 
 

Bob T

Re: School Strap

December 19 2006, 12:07 PM 

Dean; Was that strap made specifically for CP? Because it looks like a Razor Strop.

 
 

Dean Clarke

Re: School Strap

December 19 2006, 12:26 PM 

I believe they were made specifically for corporal punishment, yes, though they may have been modelled off a razor strap. Given the period that they were in use and the legal climate of the time, I can't believe the school would have been using an improvised implement - corporal punishment was (and is) only legal in Victorian schools if administered with a 'proper instrument' and while that rule was not always followed, these were the official implements at my school.

 
 

Bob T

Re: School Strap

December 19 2006, 4:28 PM 

Upon closer inspection it looks like the underside is just rough leather. I thought it was canvas before. It does resemble a strop though.

http://www.gentlemans-shop.com/acatalog/Leather_Razor_Strops.html

More about strops

http://www.en.nassrasur.com/razorcentral/abrasion3.html


 
 
Steve M

Re: School Strap

December 19 2006, 5:56 PM 

DEAN

This looks very heavily based on a barber's shop razor strop(there's poetry!).

Not surprising, as you are Australian. I suspect, if you'd been born a Kiwi, their very strong Scottish influence might have brought you into contact with the Lochgelly or other Scots-modelled straps.

There's an interesting bit of research-for the New Year;don't spoil your baby's first Christmas by being on the microfeish!


Steve M

 
 
KK

Too long?

December 19 2006, 6:34 PM 

An on topic post! But we have come to expect this from Dean who consistently posts interesting stuff with scant mention of knickers green or otherwise.

Is this strap for hands or buttocks? It looks too long and insufficiently stiff for convenient or accurate application to the palms of the hands unless it was used doubled. Dean, have you tried it on a willing volunteer?

What is your personal recollections of this particular strap? Were you punished with it at school?

What would have happened if you had been caught "souveniring" it?

Why the crumpled appearance? Dean, please find a better place to store it.

 
 
Dean Clarke

Re: School Strap

December 19 2006, 10:12 PM 

Yes, the underside is just rough leather.

 
 

Dean Clarke

Re: Too long?

December 19 2006, 10:29 PM 

Is this strap for hands or buttocks? It looks too long and insufficiently stiff for convenient or accurate application to the palms of the hands unless it was used doubled. Dean, have you tried it on a willing volunteer?

This was the 'standard model' of strap used at my school (one teacher had a somewhat different strap of his own, which I believe was of a type that had been used earlier at the school, and he continued to use) and they were used both on the hands and the buttocks - mostly on the hands. It was always used doubled in my experience.

And, no, I haven't used it on anyone.

What is your personal recollections of this particular strap? Were you punished with it at school?

Probably. I certainly experienced straps of this type, but they all looked pretty much the same so I can't be absolutely certain if this one was used on me - though it is likely, given where I found it.

My worst strapping at school (six of the best on my backside) was for deliberately skipping penals - what we called detentions - and I suspect that this was the strap used on that occasion. I was strapped in the penals room, and that's where I later souveneired this strap from. But I took the strap a little over a year after that had happened, so I certainly can't know it was the same strap.

What would have happened if you had been caught "souveniring" it?

That would have depended on who had caught me. Taking souveniers was a pretty accepted tradition, so a lot of the staff probably would have just made me put it back. A couple might have even let me keep it. But technically it was stealing and if they'd decided to treat it like that, I suspect I'd have got a pretty severe strapping.

Why the crumpled appearance? Dean, please find a better place to store it.

I actually do store it properly - but when I took those photos I was trying to make it look the way it actually looked. Most of them were stuffed in drawers at school, and pulled out when needed.

 
 
gimmeshelter27

Re: Too long?

December 28 2006, 9:15 PM 

Thanks for the pics...From experience I can tell you the Canadian school strap with its canvas over rubberized material was much more fearsome.Would barely sag when held out straight and 6 on each hand would have even the toughest bully balling and sobbing openly.It was very much a conveyor belting material like in shopping supermarkets....

 
 
Strap-Research

Trying to find Kostkalad

February 3 2008, 2:17 AM 

Hi Kostkalad

It looks like the email address provided doesn't work, same as with corpun. I am doing some research on the "school Strap" and it's been suggested to me that you might be a good "go-to" guy for Australia-related info.

Thought this might be a good way to find you - If you happen to see this thread, would you mind emailing me at "erosisreal(at)hotmail.com"? I'll give you a proper contact em from there and hope you might be able to help out.

Cheers

 
 
david

school strap

September 6 2009, 3:03 PM 

we would have laughed at straps like these. The minimum we had was slightly thicker/wider and longer which we described as "tickly". The normal strap was 3/8th inch thick, 1 1/2 inches wide and about 23 inches long and split into two or three strips at the business end. It was also finished and made shiny on one side for extra sting. Even one stroke would sting for several hours and leave marks for a week to ten days. This would be given for lateness/forgetten homework/ not having a pencil etc. More serious offences would result in up to six strokes.

 
 

Another_Lurker

Re: School Strap

September 7 2009, 2:45 AM 

Hi David. That sounds very like a tawse to me, rather than a straight punishment strap which is what Dean Clarke illustrates and describes.

Assuming your experience of said implement was at school in the UK I presume it wasn't in Scotland or you'd probably have called it the belt or the tag or even the tawse rather than the strap.

Were you perchance educated in the West Midlands or the North East of England? Are you prepared to say if it was administered to your hands or your bottom? Some of the English LEAs that did specify the tawse seem to have had different rules for boys and girls.

I assume you're not the same David who posted this description of being punished with the sort of implement you're describing back in the early days of this estimable Forum? It sounds as if he most certainly was in Scotland!

 
 
Dean Clarke

Re: School Strap

September 7 2009, 6:24 AM 

we would have laughed at straps like these. The minimum we had was slightly thicker/wider and longer which we described as "tickly". The normal strap was 3/8th inch thick, 1 1/2 inches wide and about 23 inches long and split into two or three strips at the business end. It was also finished and made shiny on one side for extra sting. Even one stroke would sting for several hours and leave marks for a week to ten days. This would be given for lateness/forgetten homework/ not having a pencil etc. More serious offences would result in up to six strokes.

A few people have said that the strap from my old school looks fairly innocuous to them. I can assure you that those of us on the receiving end didn't think so. Being strapped was an extremely unpleasant experience. But it certainly isn't as vicious as some I've seen or heard of, I agree. That may have been because it was a strap that was intended to only be used on prep schools boys (no older than 13 at most) and also because it was one that was being used in the late 1980s when abolition was the order of the day in most places, and less severe forms of punishment were often favoured even when abolition hadn't occurred.

Since I first posted in this thread, I've become more heavily engaged than ever before in researching and writing a history of corporal punishment and as part of this process, I've had access to a fair number of other Australian straps. This one seems to be in about the mid range of such implements in Australian (or at least Victorian schools). Some were much more savage, some especially those intended for use in primary schools (maximum age 11 or so) were much milder. Some were very professionally made, some were imports (including tawses from suppliers in Scotland), many were just ordinary leather belts.

I strongly to recommend to anybody with an interest in this subject, Harold Hoff's recently published Collector's Guide to the School Strap available from amazon.com

It looks to me to have been extremely well researched (I helped with much of the Australian material, but it covers England, Ireland, Canada, the United States, Germany, and, of course, Scotland) and is full of fascinating examples of lengths of leather designed to hurt children as much as even the most discerning person could possibly want.

Personally, the strap I had used on me at school hurt as much as it needed to for me not to want to get it, and I think that was all that was necessary, but some people seem to think that that's not good enough.

 
 
KK

The primary school strap

September 7 2009, 7:45 AM 

The Strap was the mainstay of primary school discipline when I was a boy. Almost every teacher had one, usually kept in the unlocked top draw of their desk. I am not sure of the dimensions or thickness but can attest to the fact they were more than adequately painful when applied to the palms of the hands.

Decades later, I meet a real ex-school teacher who still had his strap. He offered me a taste. I took six of his best and thought it a very mild punishment. I presume my adult hands were very much less sensitive than those of a child - or straps had lost a lot of power and weight, possibly both.

Dean, has anyone tried your strap recently?

 
 
hcj

Re: School Strap

September 8 2009, 11:48 PM 

Dean Clarke wrote: Personally, the strap I had used on me at school hurt as much as it needed to for me not to want to get it, and I think that was all that was necessary, but some people seem to think that that's not good enough.

Well said, Dean! I think it is easy to forget we are meant to be discussing school cp here.

KK, There is a great deal of difference between pain that is voluntarily inflicted and that which is unwillingly received.

 
 
blah

Re: School Strap

September 9 2009, 10:00 PM 

Dean,

When doing your research, have you come across any photos of real Australian school canes?

From the 2 books in the photo, did you attend Xavier in the 1980s?

I was at school in the west (around the same period) and the cane was still in use. I remember it was dark brown and the tip was faded (perhaps from its use over the years).

thanks

 
 
Dean Clarke

Re: School Strap

September 10 2009, 8:21 AM 

Dean,

When doing your research, have you come across any photos of real Australian school canes?



Very few. They don't seem to have been photographed very often in the days when corporal punishment was commonplace, and few canes seem to have survived abolition in those environments where abolition has occurred.

One exception.

canedisplay01.jpg

canedisplay02.jpg

I photographed this cane in a display of historical artifacts at a school in 2006. It's provenance is very good, and I consider it to be a genuine artifact.

Straps are much easier to find - partly because I'm in Victoria, partly because they are not as easily destroyed, and partly because they were more likely to be the private property of teachers rather than the property of the school.

From the 2 books in the photo, did you attend Xavier in the 1980s?

I am an Old Xaverian, yes. The books are there to give an historical context for the strap in question. I was a pupil at Kostka Hall, Brighton (one of Xavier's two preparatory schools) from 1985-1988 and attended Xavier College, Kew, from 1989-1992. This strap was one I took as a souvenir on my last day at Kostka Hall.


 
 
blah

Re: School Strap

September 10 2009, 1:26 PM 

Was the strap more common in Victoria?

Which school did your photo of the cane come from?


 
 
Dean Clarke

Re: School Strap

September 14 2009, 1:06 AM 

Was the strap more common in Victoria?

Yes. By Ministerial Regulation, dating from around 1900, the only instrument that was supposed to be used to administer corporal punishment in state schools in Victoria was the strap. That regulation didn't apply to private schools, but the Catholic school system had generally adopted the strap as well by 1920, meaning it was the only official implement in over 90% of Victorian schools. There's plenty of evidence that other implements were used outside of the regulations, but overall they were followed in most cases.

The following are the 1939 regulations. With minor modifications these were the regulations that applied from 1900-1982. They were amended quite heavily in 1982 to allow parents to have their children exempted from corporal punishment, but the amended regulations were only in place just over a year before total abolition in the state system.

Photobucket

This image below shows actual implements I know (or at least am reaonably confident) were used to administer corporal punishment in Victorian schools. My collection, and some items borrowed from other people. As you can see straps predominate.

Photobucket

Which school did your photo of the cane come from?

I'm not prepared to say at this time, because the history behind that particular implement is something I intend to reveal in detail in my book. I will say it is a state primary school in the suburbs of Melbourne, that still exists today but which was founded in the second half of the 19th century. This cane is an example of a instrument that was used outside of the official regulations.


 
 
 
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