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May 15 2010 at 12:40 PM
John McLean 

I have been reading the posts with interest.

As a child in Scotland the Tawse was used regularly and given to both boys and girls. Various different types of belt... all very painful.

Keen to hear from anyone who was belted in school and very keen to hear from anyone who was in a Residential School or List "D" school where it was often given on the bottom. I actually have one of the 3 tail Lochgelly XH's used in these special schools.


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Re: Tawse

May 16 2010, 6:21 AM 

Hi John McLean. I assume that you haven't posted here before your post above and your very comprehensive response in the Survey thread. If so, my personal welcome to this estimable Forum.

I note your reference above to the use of the tawse in Residential or List "D" schools. A long time ago (well, July 2008 happy.gif) I had a thread called Scottish Approved School Punishment. This was prompted by an entry I found in a forum dedicated to Female Juvenile Detention Institutions in the UK. The entry didn't refer to the use of a tawse, but it did refer to punishment on the bottom, with a birch in the 1930s in a Scottish Institution.

I posted the link in question, though I was somewhat suspicious of it. However it is suspected that someone connected with the Forum in question reads this Forum, and the entry was rapidly deleted so that my link no longer worked. Happily my esteemed fellow contributor here, Yetanotheranotherlurker, realised what had happened and recovered the article from his browser cache and posted its text. His is the third post in the thread. The thread can accessed by clicking on the red thread name above.

Later in the thread I linked a document on a Scottish Government site entitled 'Historical Abuse Systemic Review: Residential Schools and Children's Homes in Scotland 1950 to 1995' (still to be found here. My link is actually to Chapter 3, but the entire document can readily be accessed from links at the top of that page. In view of what the Review says, while I doubt the birching story I find little difficulty in accepting that the tawse was used as you describe in those schools.

Sadly, as many did then, my thread eventually fell victim to what we in this forum refer to as fun pesters - idiots with little concern for accuracy and truth interested only in posting rubbish. If you read down it you'll know when you get there, just watch for posts from Asquith. From then on there is the odd sensible post, but they are a bit thin on the ground.

Incidentally the forum from which my original, rapidly deleted, link came, 'Female Juvenile Detention Institutions in the UK', is still to be found here. The latest post I can easily spot is from 2009, so it may not be very active.



Re: Tawse

May 16 2010, 7:31 AM 

Hi John McLean again! A quick question if I may please. One of our distinguished contributors, Prof.n, posted this photographic sequence showing the fearsome Ms Valerie Thornton demonstrating the use of the tawse. Don't ask why it's in a thread called 'Corporal punishment in Malaysia' - you'll soon get used to the ways of this estimable Forum! happy.gif

Do those pictures correspond to the way the tawse was used on you, and were you always punished along the length of the hand rather than across the palm?


Re: Tawse

May 16 2010, 11:09 AM 

Hi John,

Your descrriptions of the beltings you recived were interesting, and, if you don't mind me saying so, frighteningly matter of fact!

Another Lurker kindly referred to my photo spread of 'the valkerie'(!) Valerie Thornton. My interest in the tawse came from one completely unforgettable incident in my last few weeks at junior school . I wrote about the incident in detail on this forum at


Ever since then I admit I have nothing but admiration for the Scottish kids who face the belt everyday! I was just unfortunate. As I now know the headmistress wasn't a monster, but convinced she was right . I, of course, was equally convinced of the opposite!!!! Naturally she was wrong sad.gif whilst I was, of course, right happy.gif

My lea was not that far from the Scottish border, and many teachers migrated from the north. As they allowd the strap for punishment purposes it made sense presumably to allow Scottish teachers to use their familar belts rather than insisting on a specific model as some authorities ( eg ?Manchester , I believe) did .

I felt the picture spread was pretty accurate from my memories at least.

American Way

Re: Tawse

May 16 2010, 12:52 PM 

Back in June 2009 I first mentioned of this formidable instrument of correction known as the "Huntly". It is so wide that it would be impossible for it not to overlap a hand. It is extremely supple. It looks like no other tawse, if you are a collector it may be worth considering. How would it compare with others? By suppleness it would not feel like the dreaded ruler, I would imagine, that was used on my knuckles not for misbeahvior but for lack of effort learning the times table. My knuckles hurt wvwn more than when I put my Dukes up and fought by the Queensbury rules. sad.gif

A new hermeneutic has been given to that ruler on the knuclkes xperience by a long lost alumnus. He mentioned sexual abuse I was unaware of. I was taught that private were called privates for a reason and only your folks and a doctor can touch them but that didn't keep me from touching them other that for hygienic reasons, when I was young of course wink.gif I've been told there is some advantage of being ambidexrtous while sinning against purity alone. wink.gif When I quickly corrected 11 X 12 by responding 122 and quickly corrected it by saying 132 she had already sentenced me to the ruler on the palm of the hand in her mind so she took my "correction" as talking back that merited it on the knuckles. While my memory hearkens back to swallowing screams and not like a bellowing banshee heard over the public announcement system that made me a hero of sorts; it was my staring down the Nun, a no no, for them at the novitiate to their mother superior. My father being an officer taught me to look a person straight in the eye.

I was a straight A student, maybe a B here or there, but I flunked music, art and penmanship, not surprising, having been switched foron the left or devil's hand in first grade. It's an advantage in tennis, protecting the alley when playing at the net position in doubles. Also, I've been told you can switch hands withiut missing a stroke. As I said before, the sister of no mercy said if you failed three courses you had to repeat the year. My father explained that those courses didn't count for it was "readin, ritin and rithemetic". They placed a red mark under any grade below 70; I guess to help parents whose rithmetic skills were wanting.

Given my knowledge and interests in school corporal punishment on both sides of the pond my ambidexteous abilities should not be gainsayed. I do not appreciate it when, too often not gently, I repeat myself, I have given the link on the Huntly tawse. All meaning is context derivative so if I didn't repeat myself, a point I can't argue, it would not be me, however annoying it may be to others and me an honorary member to boot, no pun intended.

IMO I have been taking to task, often unkindly for my redundancy, within and between postings, and writings as sans segue as my mind, my knickers are not atwist (;(;(; for it is not that unbearable. I hope some find this link helpful. The Huntly, supple though it be for it cannot stand on its own, it's not meant for the hand IMO and one would be pressed to find tawse proof knickers.

Tawse Proof Knickers

American Way

Re: Tawse

May 16 2010, 4:59 PM 

These are the links. The first was shared before. The Huntley tawse I referred to was a four tailed accounting for its extreme width. It was fatter on the business end but would bend back on itself with so little rigidity.

The Belt

Polish bootmaker

Huntly Tawse


Re: Tawse

May 16 2010, 5:24 PM 

I'm not an expert on the tawse, but those who are advise me that narrower tawses were the most feared. Early Robert Philp and John Dick products from the 1950s were apparently very harsh.

Straps made by Donald Wright of Huntly were big, but were sometimes made of buffalo hide which tends to have an open, spongy texture. One person who has extensive knowledge and experience of these things has said, "Huntly tawses look impressive but have more bark than bite!"

Regarding the Polish bootmaker, my correspondent said, "No self-respecting teacher would have a Borak rather than a John Dick tawse. The students, however, would have a distinct preference for the former."

American Way

Re: Tawse

May 16 2010, 8:58 PM 

hcj Perfectly described: open, spongy texture. Church Antique was ebay vendor of one that was a part of a historal collection that I held in my own hands so I can attest to it but not on the receiving end. The McRostie had a primary tawse that was very supple and light. Lochleggy, as a rule seemed rigid and not spongy.

As painful as hands are as a target it would appear no long term damage or is that historically true, however horrific in the eyes of prof n and

For the sisters the rulers became a universal image that lingers for generations. The ruler, however rigid, was, in our school and imagine most schools, lighter and while it hurt like hell, seemed mild in comparisons. With sisters of no mercy the girls were not mollycoddled by any means but were spared the heavier yardstick that became more the instument of correction chosen in 7th and 8th grade. Perhaps, unlike 5ive and Brides of Christ, it could have been that our classes were coed that girls were spared the yardstick on the bottom. Embarrassing for some girls and a near occasion of sin for some boys. wink.gif

On a lighter note, the sticks were graded in the principals office. We thought it had to with what grade you were in and not size so we speculated the girls got a grade younger but unbeknownst to us the developments of puberty would have changed that calculus and not to their benefit. It really was irrelevant with the change in the administration in sixth grade when we saw the outlines of the first colorful bra under one of the girl's white blouse. happy.gif It was enough to give the poor girl a reputation. I was less aware from my POV for it was the hands and bottoms that attracted me. happy.gifhappy.gifhappy.gif


Re: Tawse

May 19 2010, 11:07 AM 

An interesting account of a belting with a tawse from another forum , asking the question " Did you ever get the cane at school" The poster appears to be female judging from her other posts and is from Lanarkshire.

"I got "the belt" quite a few times at school as well. I remember getting those "extra" hits too for drawing my hands away.

It was agony if the teacher hit you on the wrists.

One teacher I remember getting it from was a science teacher who used to keep the belt over his shoulder underneath his lab coat.

If you had never had it from him before it was always a real surprise as you'd be standing ready to receive it with him standing in front of you and as far as you could see he didn't have a belt.

He would reach under his lab coat and bring it down on your hands just when you're not expecting it. He was a right bastard"

John McLean

Re: Tawse

May 29 2010, 1:03 PM 


First of all, thanks for all the messages. I have been off line for a week or two and just remembered about the site.

Yes, when the belt was given it was applied to the length of the hand. I never ever saw it given across the hand. Mind you there were some strange ways to give the belt. I only ever heard of this being done to a girl but one girl who was a real trouble maker but could not take the belt (kept pulling away) was made to sit in front of the female teacher who was going to belt her. Her skirt was pulled up to reveal her bare legs and she was made to hold her hands out above legs (cross handed). Obvioulsy if she pulled away it would hit her thighs and be very painful.




Re: Tawse

May 29 2010, 9:18 PM 

Hi John McLean. Thank you for the follow-up information. You say:

one girl who was a real trouble maker but could not take the belt (kept pulling away) was made to sit in front of the female teacher who was going to belt her. Her skirt was pulled up to reveal her bare legs and she was made to hold her hands out above legs (cross handed). Obvioulsy if she pulled away it would hit her thighs and be very painful.

Interesting. Some scepticism was expressed when in the last couple of paragraphs of this post I described seeing a very similar technique used in my Junior school in the English Midlands in the early 1950s. Someone said:

It all seems very complicated. Would it not have been a lot quicker and easier for the teacher to just ignore the misbehavior and get on with the lesson?

My response was that in those days if you were due for punishment you got punished. It sounds as though that was also the case in your school!


Re: Tawse

May 29 2010, 10:02 PM 

Hi Another Lurker,

Interesting post/ Some teachers didn't want to send students , especially good students 'up the chain' for punishment because they were frightened. Here is a small extract from a piece written by a Scottish teacher of my acquaintance which makes that very point about the tawse :

Some pupils were really frightened, I'd say petrified of this, but you must remember this was an everyday punishment- it was hard to get through school without having been belted at least once. If it was your first time you were better with a sympathetic teacher like me , than with a bruiser who just belted away with an H or XH. If they were really scared I tried to deal with it at the end of class in, at least, semi private. I would make allowance, in particular I gave them strokes two at a time one on each hand, and told them to put their hands down at their sides and then if necessary I would repeat the treatment after a minute or so. This allowed the pain to dissipate a little before repeat strokes- as I say it is the initial few seconds which are unbearable. Also I hated tears in a lesson, it seems to me, if there had to be tears (and in my view sometimes had to be so) , it should be in private not in front of the whole class.

No one ever refused to co-operate with me. Having said that if they were scared, and some boys were as well as girls, I would spend time to talk and persuade them it was for the best.

Sorry if it punctures your vision! In my experience it is what happened

She got quite a lot of grief from certain colleagues who insisted that the deterrent effect required immediate punishment in front of the class.She believed this was just too hard for a few students, and that it could potentially do significant psychological harm . Eventually she left Scotland for England believing she had more autonomy south of the border.

I think it speaks for itself .As to whether she was right or wrong, that's another matter.



Re: Tawse

May 30 2010, 12:37 AM 

Hi Prof.n. The Scottish teacher of your acquaintance whom you quote on tawsing technique sounds a most humane and reasonable person. I think most teachers were of that inclination, and probably still would be if CP was in use. There were clearly exceptions but I think most teachers punished because they felt it was in the best interests of the child first and the class or school second.

The teacher I mentioned using the 'hands over thighs' technique in the post I quoted above was certainly not being vindictive in seeking to complete the girl's punishment. It must be remembered that in that school and at that time (1953/1954) the class size was around 50, 51 or 52 if I remember correctly. Teaching Assistants hadn't been invented - one teacher - one class! Almost inevitably teachers resorted to a certain amount of 'pour encourager les autres' when maintaining order.

In addition there were special circumstances in that class. We were out-stationed in a public building away from the school due to lack of space. The corridors and the rest of the building were public areas. The teacher did have the use of a small room, but it was shared with various other users of the building.

Any punishments had perforce to be in front of the class, unless a child was sent back to the school to see the Headmaster. This would have required someone coming from the school to escort them. In any event for a child in the Junior School to be sent to the Headmaster would have required a very serious 'crime' indeed. I don't recall it happening. The Headmaster was also in charge of the Senior School and I think that was virtually the sole source of his disciplinary workload.

So while in other places and other times there might have been better ways of dealing with the girl (and I don't doubt that that teacher would have taken them if available) I'd say that she did the best she could in the circumstances. We children certainly didn't regard it at the time as anything other than slightly unusual in that the girl resisted whereas the great majority of children took their punishment without any histrionics. I suspect, though I can't be sure, that most of us would have been a bit miffed if she'd have been let off, knowing that being let off wasn't what happened if you were naughty in those days!



June 1 2010, 1:28 AM 

When the tawse was administered was it applied to the palm of the hand or the fingertips? I would imagine that a heavy strap across fingertips would hurt more than across the palm of the hand. The second question I have relates to why the Scots chose to strap the hand rather than the buttocks?


Re: Tawse

June 2 2010, 5:46 AM 


I have no direct experience of the tawse myself but have spoken to quite a few Scottish girls who have been on the receiving end.

The traditional way of applying it was for the pupil to directly face the teacher and receive it face on. Both hands would be required to be held out touching each other.This would cover the whole of the hand, but the tip of the tawse would be applied to the palm. If the teacher was a poor aim the tawse could strike the wrists. Some teachers would ensure that the pupils wrists were covered to avoid accidents.

It would seem more logical to apply the tawse side on to avoid any problem with hitting the wrists, and I think some teachers used this method.

As an aside I was on another forum on the subject of soaps.In direct response to a comment I made about an actress in a soap who is taking drugs ( in the programme, not in real life) a lady ( aged 39 according to her profile)said " Holly needs a good old fashioned trashing"

I asked whether she meant trashing or thrashing, and she replied " Sorry , I meant thrashing ( very severe corporal punishment)" she then added that she would like to give an actor in the programme a good spanking ( he is regarded as something of a hunk amongst the ladies on the forum.

Here is a picture of the actress who is 19,

[linked image]



Re: Tawse

June 3 2010, 2:08 AM 

Hi Declan. I didn't know you knew how to do pictures! wink.gif

I think you've given Nathan a pretty good explanation of the administration of the belt as generally practised in Scottish state schools. However he may find it helpful to study this page on the excellent Corpun.com site on which there is a video wherein a teacher demonstrates the administration of the tawse to a group of secondary school pupils in 2007, some 25 years after it was generally abandoned in state schools. Apart from the fact that both teacher and pupil are seated, the teacher isn't positioned directly in front of the pupil, the pupil turns in completely the wrong direction (doubtless to demonstrate his bravery to the young lady by his side happy.gif) and he doesn't actually get belted at all, it is absolutely accurate! happy.gifhappy.gif However, it does illustrate the hand position, with hands overlaid (and swapped over on demand if both hands were to be belted) reasonably well.

Nathan also asks:

why the Scots chose to strap the hand rather than the buttocks?

This seems to have been a relatively recent innovation. One wonders if it followed on from the fact that as the 20th century advanced more girls would enter and remain in education and for whatever reason girls in Scottish state schools seem generally to have been subject to rather more corporal punishment than was the case in England. Also, given the numbers often belted in Scottish classes it may have been less time consuming to punish on the hands.

This article by Colin Farrell of the Corpun.com site gives some history of school corporal punishment in Scotland. It indicates that in times past portions of a pupil's anatomy other than the hands were often the target of school CP. Indeed, in some parts of Scotland the vicinity of schools frequently included a 'cooling stane' on which chastised pupils would sit as soon as possible after punishment to assuage the pain. There were sometimes complaints when tombstones in the local grave yard were utilised for this purpose.

The article also makes clear that other than in state schools punishment on the hands was not universal in Scotland, and even in state schools there was some variety especially pre 1950.


Re: Tawse

June 3 2010, 5:47 AM 

Another Lurker

You say;

Hi Declan. I didn't know you knew how to do pictures!

I was as surprised as you were when that picture appeared. I had imagined that just the URL would appear, so I was pleasantly surprised when the picture came up.

There seems to be two ways of getting the tawse. The method I have heard about is to place both hands out in front of you side by side.The method in the Corp Pun site shows one hand supporting another, and then switching hands. I'm sure the former method was the more popular one.



June 3 2010, 6:02 AM 

Tanks to Declan and Another Lurker for your responses to my post. I always hated having to return to class and sit at my desk after having received the cane because you had that horrible sting go through your body when your bottom hit those hard wooden chairs in the classrooms, I wonder if those strapped on the hands had a similar sensation when picking up a pencil and how long the marks lasted. Typically the cane marks on my bottom would last about four days in total but I think any hand marks may have dissipated quickly due to how much more the hands are used in every day life. I also wonder if the entire punishment say 4 strokes were delivered to the same hand or alternate hands i.e. 2 strokes on each hand? There may have been a benefit to receving corporal punishment to the hand rather than the bottom as one part of your body is receiving the full punishment? This begs the question which hurt more hand or bottom?


Re: Tawse

June 3 2010, 8:17 AM 

A normal school caning on the hands would leave marks lasting a few hours and no more. It would not cause any problems about holding a pen.

The tawsings I know about would be applied to both hands simultaneously, so four whacks would be quite a big deal. Usually it would be no more than two strokes.

There was a big difference in Scottish schools in that the tawse was used much more often than the cane or slipper was in English schools. This is of course a generalisation, as those girls who went to Bacon's school will no doubt testify. but the Scottish girls I have spoken to gave the impression that it was a very regular occurence, and virtually no-one would have gone through the Scottish education system a generation ago without getting the tawse a few times.

I also understand that the percentage of girls to boys tawsed was much higher than those receiving corporal punishment in England.One girl I spoke to reckoned she was strapped about 20 times. She did not really regard it as a problem at the time as it was so common and the pain was only brief.

I cannot really comment on whether punishment on the hand was worse than on the bottom. One slippering I got , through thin PE shorts, and consisting of two whacks on the same spot was extremely painful , but so was the cane on the hand.I think it simply depends on how hard the teacher hit you.


Re: Tawse

June 3 2010, 10:56 PM 

Hi Declan, you wrote: There seems to be two ways of getting the tawse. The method I have heard about is to place both hands out in front of you side by side.The method in the Corp Pun site shows one hand supporting another, and then switching hands. I'm sure the former method was the more popular one.

I am no tawse expert, but I think it was much more common for the hands to be one on top of the other to receive the belt, particularly in secondary schools. It was that which gave a more stable target and as it brought the elbows closer together, made "drawing away" more difficult.


Hand caning

June 3 2010, 10:56 PM 

Declan wrote: A normal school caning on the hands would leave marks lasting a few hours and no more. It would not cause any problems about holding a pen.

I have long been worried about the caning of the hands. I have not experienced it myself but was told by a friend that he foolishly tried to protect his buttocks with his hands part way through a caning. The cane immediately produced a large blood blister which terminated the caning. He did not comment on the relative painfulness but did have trouble concealing his wound from his parents of subsequent days.

I have long assumed that much lighter / smaller canes were used when punishing the hands. I really can not imagine a buttocks cane being applied to the hands with anything like full force. Nor can I imagine holding out my hand for such treatment.

Just how was hand caning done? How big was the cane?


Re: Tawse

June 3 2010, 11:11 PM 

KK wrote: I have long assumed that much lighter / smaller canes were used when punishing the hands. I really can not imagine a buttocks cane being applied to the hands with anything like full force. Nor can I imagine holding out my hand for such treatment.

Just how was hand caning done? How big was the cane?

In my experience, caning was done with the hands held out to the sides and the cane laid on across the palm with the tip pointing roughly into the V between the thumb and index finger. The canes I saw used in this way appeared somewhat shorter than those used for the buttocks and were applied with more of a wrist action than a full swing. It seemed extremely painful, but did not produce distinctive marks, just general redness.


Re: Tawse

June 3 2010, 11:54 PM 


You say :-

I have long been worried about the caning of the hands. I have not experienced it myself but was told by a friend that he foolishly tried to protect his buttocks with his hands part way through a caning. The cane immediately produced a large blood blister which terminated the caning. He did not comment on the relative painfulness but did have trouble concealing his wound from his parents of subsequent days.

I have long assumed that much lighter / smaller canes were used when punishing the hands. I really can not imagine a buttocks cane being applied to the hands with anything like full force. Nor can I imagine holding out my hand for such treatment.

Firstly let me admit, and Ill return to this on a later post , that my attitude to the punishment of the hands was certainly colored by my experience of the tawse at 11, link given above.

Notwithstanding that when I was a research student at University there was a furor over hand caning in certain of the city schools, particularly in working class areas.

As the debate , led by local press reports and threats of legal action, continued there was a discussion of the matter in the department at the University. One teacher was incensed by the reports and brought his cane to that meeting to show how reasonable or otherwise the punishment was, Several research students, me included agreed to take one stroke on the hand each. Frankly, speaking personally, it was excruciating. the cane was equivalent to the ilea approved hand cane as sold on a number of occasions by a well known trader on e bay who used to post here , ie 29 inches by 1/4 . the average survival time of the bruises was over 1 week , in my case I personally had a blood blister lasting somewhat longer.Pain, in my case , was present for perhaps an hour . On impact your hand felt like it had been severed in half.

Remember we were about 25 or so, the students getting this punishment on average 13/14 and whose hands would be softer and less developed.They would normally get three such strokes .

The teacher swiped from right behind the shoulder , 180 plus degrees to use the twp jargon ,using the type of technique advocated in sometimes salacious detail by Miss Martindale in the suggestions from the hellfire club ,where the author states the cane should never be given other than as a full blooded punishment.( Hardly a recommendation for moderate cp).

Given this was the accepted method of administration of the cane in the school I taught in asa a relief teacher , I had little trouble in determining not to user the sanction whilst I was there.

The average 'penalty' in the schools concerned in the dispute was three strokes. The school I taught in at that time faced one potential legal case for a broken digit, according to the deputy head a not unusual situation in the area at the time. He indicated these cases were settled out of court by payment with a gagging order , without admission of liability, as the parents saw it as a gravy train.

I cannot vouch for the veracity of his comments I didn't say long enough, nor was senior enough , to form an opinion.

Not a scientific study : just an empirical observation .


Re: Tawse

June 4 2010, 1:21 AM 

Hi Declan,

Have to agree with HCJ on this one. the traditional Scottish way of receiving the belt was hand on hand. Other methods were occasionally used but that was both tradition and the way the educational colleges taught it .

In this part of the country we have quite a few renegade Scots in residence, and Ih have over the years talked to several who all received in this way.

In my one experience I didn't. I think the headmistress was so angry she frankly couldn't have cared less, however by placing my hands out one by one, without support, the strap ( remember I was 11 it was a H grade tawse) forced them downwards starining the writsts after three on each hand. Doubtless the girl who was with me and whose hands were half my size fared much worse. In the day or so following the tawsing the main pain was in the wrists which had been forced downwards by the momentum of the Lochgelly.

There was no brusing . the hands were bright red after the strapping, but there were no marks.

One lady I know well says she got the tawse every few weeks , she couldn't stop talking in class. She said one on each hand was bearable , but she never got more .Most who got four or more were in considerable distress.

What that episode did do was make me wary of teachers for several years after.


Re: Tawse

June 4 2010, 5:45 AM 

Prof n.

I accept your wider and more direct knowledge of the method of applying the tawse. My sources came from schools in the Clydebank area.

I also know a lady who went to school in Buckie , in the north of Scotland. She referred to it as the tag , though I do not know exactly how it was applied.


Re: Tawse

June 4 2010, 11:17 AM 

Hi Declan,

It may be that the reason for the difference in approach was exactly the Clydebank' thing. Glasgow education authority supplied their own straps , normally Stevenson and McRostie, which are considerably thinner than a lochgelly, making them much more suitable for applying either to unsupported hands or actross both hands.

Harold Hoff has published a guide to the strap as a reference facility and this demonstrates the difference very clearly.


hand caning

June 4 2010, 1:40 PM 


I'm, sorry I didnt see your reply on hand caning before posting last night.

If you compare the two posts you can see the differential issue is quite clearly that of swing. In the schools that were under debate at the time I was a guinea pig, a full swing was being used , as I said 180 degrees, and that of course fully accounts for the differeing after effects between your post and mine.

Use of the wrist is a very different kettle of fish , and, given that, I can see why in the past we have disagreed on this subject.

We both have seen hand caning but of a very different nature and with very different results.


Re: Tawse

June 4 2010, 11:03 PM 

Prof n, re-hand caning, my experience was at junior school. At my grammar school the cane was always used on the backside and with a very much greater degree of force.

One thing that worries me is how anybody managed to hit the hand accurately with a full swing, especially the small hands of younger pupils. The cane can be a wayward implement and the risk of hitting the fingers hard must have been considerable. In that respect the tawse is far safer.

I think it was probably the Romans (or perhaps Greeks) who "invented" the ferula. Presumably they reached a similar conclusion on an effective implement for the hands 2000 years ago. Plus ça change!



Punishment on the hands

June 5 2010, 5:34 AM 

On the subject of punishment on the hands contributor KKirin has recently posted a batch of 4 videos in the 'Some real school corporal punishment' thread here, on June 4 2010 at 6:56 PM and 7:02 PM. These all show 'surreptitious' student cell phone shot classroom scenes of boys and girls being punished on the hands with a variety of implements. KKirin has not identified the country, but I suspect it is South Korea. Contributors more familiar with that part of the world may be able to confirm or deny.

In general the pupils take their punishments very stoically. In some of the cases, although there are a number of strokes, sometimes to both hands, the punishment does not appear particularly severe. However I found the first video (1117840512_1_.flv) rather disturbing. This video is exceptionally good for a cell phone video and will run with more than adequate quality at 1024×768. In it a girl has to extend both her hands side by side, as described above by Declan for some tawsings, and is hit three times across both palms with a quite enormous punishment implement.

This implement cannot possibly be considered suitable for punishing the hands, or indeed any other part of the anatomy. Quite apart from its length and size it appears to have a pronounced rectangular cross-section, with sharp angles. The sound of the impact is considerable, though she does not cry out or try to withdraw her hands. At the end of the punishment the teacher hands her a document, presumably the work for which she is being punished. She appeared to me to be handling it rather clumsily so I frame stepped through and I think that she is indeed having some difficulty with her hands, presumably as a consequence of the punishment.

Clearly children in that school do not have an easy time. In my opinion at least that punishment was not acceptable. However, in that and indeed in the other videos I felt a considerable sense of déjà vu. These are essentially the classrooms in which I was educated in the 1940s and 1950s UK. Sparse, comfortless and cramped, desks in rows and columns, a blackboard the only teaching aid. A single teacher, no teaching assistants, and corporal punishment constantly looming for those who transgress. And yet South Korea and similar Asian countries are now overtaking us educationally and indeed leaving us behind. I wonder why? happy.gif


Re: Tawse

June 5 2010, 11:40 AM 

Another_Lurker wrote: This implement cannot possibly be considered suitable for punishing the hands, or indeed any other part of the anatomy. Quite apart from its length and size it appears to have a pronounced rectangular cross-section, with sharp angles.

I can identify this implement and I can re-assure you that it does not have sharp edges. Indeed it is considered a "premium" product, carefully finished so it does not cause damage. Made of Juniper wood, it is 60cm long and 15mm wide. I do not have an accurate weight, but I estimate it to be about 60 grams.

It isn't exactly gentle, but I don't believe it is any worse than a tawse when used as shown. It wouldn't be my number one choice, but I think it is quite a good rod.

Quoting the manufacturer of the implement: (My translation from the Korean, so it may not be exact)

"The baton is made from Chinese juniper wood (Juniperus chinensis), because juniper is alive and has beautiful patterns. In addition, it is a natural plant material and there are no chemicals used in the finishing process. Completely harmless when applied to the human body, it is sweetly fragrant and is not felt for too long. The graceful shape of the tongue and the volume of sound it makes, enhances the dignity* of the person using it."

*"gravitas" might be a better word here.

The interesting thing in these videos is that cp is being used for poor test results.



Those 'sweetly fragrant' punishment implements

June 5 2010, 3:05 PM 

Hi hcj. I am grateful for your confirmation that the somewhat drastic looking hand chastisement is South Korean. It was of course you I had in mind when I said:

I suspect it is South Korea. Contributors more familiar with that part of the world may be able to confirm or deny.

However, I have my doubts regarding the implement, and suspect that it may not be the almost innocuous sounding Juniper 'baton' you describe. You say that the rod you have in mind is 60cm long. 60cm is two foot, give or take a mm or two. Here are two screen grabs of the rod in use, the first with it drawn up more or less vertically, and the second with it descending on the unfortunate young lady's hands.

South Korean schoolgirl beaten on hands for poor test result picture one
South Korean schoolgirl beaten on hands for poor test result - punishment rod static.

I would say that unless the teacher is extremely tiny (and he seems more or less in proportion with both the pupil and the height of the blackboard) that rod is quite a bit longer than 60cm. Indeed, if you do a direct measurement on the picture you will see that it would extend from the top of the teacher's head to well below his waist - surely rather more than 60cm?

South Korean schoolgirl beaten on hands for poor test result picture two
South Korean schoolgirl beaten on hands for poor test result - punishment rod descending on hands.

Again the rod appears to be rather longer than 60cm. To judge from the speed the tip section has already attained (considerable blurring) with only about a third of the stroke completed, even if it is made of the benign sounding Juniperus chinensis, 'Completely harmless when applied to the human body, sweetly fragrant and not felt for too long', it is still going to be quite an impact! As I said above, I am convinced the girl was having problems holding the test script when it was handed to her on the conclusion of the punishment.

It is interesting to note in the description of the Juniper 'baton' that possession of such a punishment implement clearly confers status on the teacher. Looking at some of the implements used one certainly gets the impression that there is something of an arms race going on in the classrooms, with each teacher trying to impress his or her colleagues and intimidate the pupils more than the next one. One can see that the volume of sound produced might play some part in convincing those pupils who hadn't been beaten that they'd best try to avoid that fate, but 'the graceful shape of the tongue'? I reckon that's the last thing you'd notice either as victim or witness! happy.gif

You say:

The interesting thing in these videos is that cp is being used for poor test results.

Yes indeed! The use of corporal punishment for poor academic results seems to be a frequent feature of these surreptitiously shot South Korean videos. Indeed it is almost as though pupils can anticipate that there will be something to video when test results are given out. One must assume that it is fairly common in the schools to punish children if they do not attain some pre-ordained mark in tests. Or possibly it is simply a case of the bottom x pupils get beaten regardless of actual marks. Pretty horrific, and not something which I think happened much in the UK even as far back as when I was at school. However, no doubt it concentrates the pupils' minds wonderfully, very much as the threat of the slipper for the last to get changed at games or PT used to do.


Re: Tawse

June 5 2010, 4:28 PM 

Oops, your screen grab tells a different story from the impression I got when viewing a postage stamp size image on my screen. I may be mistaken; I will take another look.


Re: Tawse

June 5 2010, 4:59 PM 

Another_Lurker, I have to agree that the implement in the video in question does look bigger, although very similar in form to the one I described. Even so, I don't share your view that it looks excessively brutal, even though it lands with quite a smack.


Baton Weight

June 5 2010, 9:20 PM 

The baton appears to be quite light going by the small displacement of the hands. (I was strapped much harder than that aged 7.)

Juniper seems to be one of the lower density woods. One reference gives a value of 0.55 g/cm^3



Re: Those 'sweetly fragrant' punishment implements

June 5 2010, 11:55 PM 

Hi hcj. You say:

Oops, your screen grab tells a different story from the impression I got when viewing a postage stamp size image on my screen.

If a video is worth watching at all it is worth watching BIG! happy.gif

Seriously, I can recommend the Open Source derived Media Player Classic (Home Cinema Edition) downloadable from here. Plays any video format I've encountered including Real Media, flv and swf (though as with any video player you might have to hunt down codecs). Easily adjusted to maximum viewable size, built in frame step and frame capture, huge range of controls if you want or need them. Plays DVDs and (given the right hardware) HD video. And best of all, it's not Microsoft! happy.gif

You also say:

the implement in the video in question does look bigger, although very similar in form to the one I described. Even so, I don't share your view that it looks excessively brutal, even though it lands with quite a smack.

And KK says:

The baton appears to be quite light going by the small displacement of the hands. (I was strapped much harder than that aged 7.)

Juniper seems to be one of the lower density woods. One reference gives a value of 0.55 g/cm^3.

I have to (slightly reluctantly) agree with you both. The girl certainly doesn't give much evidence of distress during the punishment, and the displacement of the hands by the strokes is, as KK observes, very small. However I still maintain that initially she has some difficulty controlling her hands afterwards, but perhaps that is to be expected after any sort of punishment on the hands. Probably I am allowing myself to be over-influenced by the sheer physical size of the punishment implement.

There is an even more extreme example of teacher weaponry on, I think, the Corpun.com site. If I can locate it I'll post an example of that so that you can convince me that it too is of a known and approved design and just intended to remind the kiddies of the teacher's good taste and dignity! happy.gif


Use of the tawse in Scotland

June 29 2010, 10:42 AM 

The tawse (usually called "the strap" or "the belt") was a daily feature of school education in Scotland up to the 1980's. A pupil, or pupils, would be called out to the front of the class to be punished. The teacher would go to his/her desk drawer and remove their belt. Most of the belts used in Scotland's schools were made by one of the Lochgelly makers - Robert Philp, George Dick or John Dick as they were regarded by the teaching profession as being the most effective. Certainly they were the most feared by pupils.

The pupil would be required to hold out his hand forwards towards the teacher, although in many schools "crossed hands" was required where one hand was placed under the other to give additional support. The teacher faced the pupil, swung his belt up and over his shoulder and brought it down hard up the length of the hand. The pain was numbing,excrucuating, searing and throbbing. It was hard for the pupil not to show some reaction the the stinging ferocity of the stroke. Often a further stroke, or more, would be given before the pupil was sent back to his desk, his hands to feel severe pain for perhaps 10 to 15 minutes followed by a further perhaps 45 minutes of slowly reducing pain followed by tingling and finally warm and red hands.

I hard belting in front of your class was something you never forgot and many got it more than once a week. Up to six strokes could be administered, plus "extras" for "pulling away". Boys were strapped more than girls, but girls were often belted just as hard.



June 29 2010, 7:34 PM 

There were several advantages to using the tawse on the hands.

Boys and girls could be whacked equally by either gender of staff without the connotations of fetishism which surrounds punishments on the bottom.

As has already been described, the covering of a large surface area with one stroke means
a high level of pain but little marking, which makes it ideal for general classroom use; if the miscreant misbehaves in another teacher's class, they can undergo another session later in the same day!

As a consequence, the teacher didn't need to trouble senior staff for, unlike the cane, there was no need to keep track of previous punishments.

It seems that, of my generation, the majority of Scottish girls would have felt the tawse at one time or another whilst in England this was probably not the case with caning; those good old Scots clearly didn't bother with these learned articles on male and female response to pain, they just considered that bad behaviour meant sore hands all round.


The Scottish Tawse Vs. the English cane

June 30 2010, 10:00 AM 

Given that the UK is a small island, it may seem surprising that the northern half of it (Scotland) used the tawse as a means of punishment in its schools where the southern half (England),with some areas where the strap (a lighter form of the Scottish tawse) was used,the cane. The rattan cane (or rod), 5mm to 12mm in diameter and about 24" to 36" long had been the common means of correction in English schools for over 100 years with both the palms of the hands and the buttocks being seen as suitable target areas. Some schools appear to have generally caned the hands whilst for others the buttocks were considered the norm. The frequency of use of the cane in England seems to have been considerably less than was the case with the tawse in Scotland. Not only does it appear that the cane was used less, but also that it was infrequently used in front of an assembled class, being more commonly administered in an empty classroom or office. While in Scotland virtually every teacher had their own tawse (generally known by teachers and pupils alike as "the belt")in England teachers appear generally to have to borrow a cane from the school office or head teacher, or that the headmaster or his deputy were the only persons authorised to use the cane. If the cane was used in your school what was your experience of its frequency of use and by whom? The pain of the cane was essentially due to the narrow line(sometimes known as a "stripe" or "cut") that it left behind after application. This concentration of its weight into this narrow area could cause intense pain with the stripe across the hand being white with red raised weals on either side. The cane was normally applied across the palms, but in some cases it was the fingers that received the blow. The hand would remain very painful for some time after being caned with the marking taking some time to clear.

In Scotland the leather tawse, or belt, was altogether broader, typically 1 1/4" to 1 1/2" wide and 24" long. The leather school belt usually had 2, but sometimes 3, tails or fingers each about 10" long and 5mm to 10mm thick that delivered the sting. It spread its pain wider across the hand than did the cane with a typical stroke stinging an area well over an inch across up the full length of the hand from finger tips to just below the wrist. After 2 or 3 strokes the entire hand was red, usually with no particuar marking unless the belt had landed high when "tail tip bites" could be seen on the wrists or lower arms, or the mark of the edge of a tail when the belt had not landed flat. The teacher expected the hands to be held up at an appropriate height and kept steady, palms and fingers flat, thumbs tucked in. The belt could be quite noisy in use, like the crack of a pistol, and as it was generally administered in front of the class a lesson was sent to all on the punishment that could be expected for misbehaviour, breaking school rules, lateness, poor work, inattention etc. While in England the cane appears to have been generally reserved for the more serious offences, in Scotland the tawse was often as the first option and in many schools was used several times in every period in many classes. The most frequently strapped pupils were age 14, followed by 13, 15, 12, 11 and 10 in that order, however the belt was also used as a sanction for pupils above and below these ages until 1987 in state schools and 1999 in the private sector.



Re: Tawse

July 21 2010, 9:27 PM 

i had six strokes of three tailed tawse on my hands from deputy headmistress it stung like mad but taught you a leason

Nelly from Lochgelly

The tawse

August 4 2010, 6:22 PM 

In Scottish schools, up until the 1970's, the belt or strap (it was almost never referred to as the tawse) was used from as early as P2 and with increasing frequency as the years progressed. It's peak use was on boys from P5 to S3. In many schools it was used many times a day in almost every class. One or two strokes was regarded as a normal punishment, but up to 6 strokes could be administered for more serious offences, plus additions for such offences as "pulling away" or attempting to minimise the effectiveness of the punishment.

In many schools the pupil would be required to hold out a single hand, palm uppermost, pointing forwards towards the teacher. The teacher would usually remove his strap from his desk drawer, swing it up and over his/her shoulder and bring it down hard up almost the full length of the outstretched hand. In many schools the hands were presented "crossed", which actually meant that they were held out with one directly on top of the other so as to give a more solid platform for the tails to strike, resulting in even greater discomfort for the miscreant pupil. In a very small number of instances the hand was held out to the side and the pupil strapped across the palm or fingers. The pain could be excruciating immediately after the tails leathered the palm and fingers and would continue to leave the hand extremely sore with intense and pounding pain for about 10 minutes thereafter. The pain would then slowly reduce in intensity for another 30 to 60 minutes as it turned to a "needles and pins" tingling effect and finally leave a red and hot hand. The requirement to continue to raise the hands for further punishment was not easy to achieve, especially as the pupil had direct eye contact with his teacher as he was being punished. Boys were strapped more often than girls and very few boys got through school without being belted.

The straps themselves could have been supplied by any one of over 100 Scottish makers, although there were about 30 saddlers who produced the best ones and, of these, perhaps half a dozen who excelled at making very effective instruments. The leading maker was John Dick of Lochgelly whose belts were used in virtually every school in Scotland. He offered a wide range of models varying in length, thickness and weight, most with two tails, some with three. These were ferocious belts considered the most effective by teachers and the most feared by their pupils.

The tawse had been used across the buttocks in Scotland's schools until the latter part of the 19th century but, from the arrival of public education in the 1880's, the hands became the target area. The tawse, being made from thick but supple leather, was able to chastise the hands effectively and without risk of damage. The cane on the other hand was perhaps more suited to application across the buttocks as the possibility existed of it causing damage to the fingers if carelessly applied to the hand. In some English schools the cane was used across the hand but every attempt was made to strike the palm rather than the fingers. It could be extremely painful as the narrow stripe of contact concentrated the energy into a thin line and the stiffness of the cane caused very considerable discomfort.

While in Scotland the tawse was used to punish even the smallest of misdemeanours, in England the cane tended to be reserved for more serious offences. In some English schools the strap was used. Although some were similar to the Scottish tawse the English straps were not nearly as severe as their Scottish cousins. The leather was thinner and softer and did not deliver the ferocity of the Lochgelly tawse.



Re: The tawse

August 4 2010, 10:15 PM 

Hmm, the style seems familiar, but I can't quite place it. So whoever you are Nelly from Lochgelly, a most excellent series of contributions and may I please issue a personal welcome to this estimable Forum and say that I hope you will post in the future as often as you are able.

Nelly from Lochgelly

Re: Tawse

August 5 2010, 8:27 PM 

Thank you for your kind words of welcome. If there is any relevant matter on which you would like me to comment please say, I will do my best to respond. I would also welcome responses or comments on items I have submitted.


Unusal Hand Caning Technique

April 20 2012, 1:37 PM 

I attended a junior school in NW England in the early 70s where caning across the hands was common (I never once saw a pupil caned across the backside). For application of such punishment girl pupils were referred to a lady teacher called Mrs Newling and quite often boys also such was her fearsome reputation for not holding back and particularly effective technique.

I contribute to this thread because the lady in question was memorable for insisting recipients place one palm on top of the other in preparation for receipt of the cane stroke. She was the only teacher I ever recall demanding this procedure and assumed it was to help prevent the pupil from withdrawing their hand when punishment was applied. This proved particularly effective and together with her focused and severe application of the cane stroke she was feared by pupils as much as many of the male teachers. The result was many pupils of either sex were reduced to tears upon receipt of a couple of firm strokes (one stroke across each palm was the usual punishment) across the awaiting exposed hands. Needless to say her lessons were conduced in a calm, controlled manner without a hint of disobedience or disruption.

In later years I learned of the Scottish Tawse having previously been unaware of its widespread use north of the border and in view of its standard method of application have often wondered whether Mrs Newling's cane technique was indeed influenced by the usual mode of application of the Tawse.

Edited to reduce width


Stewart's went to Buckie School

April 20 2012, 6:15 PM 

Hi I went to Buckie School and I was belted for being backward in the school also got belted with a belt when I went back to the childrens home I was sick and fed up with all the abuse I got in the playgroung by other children for being one of the homie tink from the childrens home in Buckie the teacher she was just as bad as the children I was abused by the older boys in the school my sister Jane Stewart was best frend's with ilsa Sinclair the Ballad folk singer know a TV Star ilsa she told us Stewart children that she new who our family of Stewart was, we did not know who our family was untill ilsa Sinclair told us that we were relashions in Blairgowre Belle MaGregor and Alex Stewart from the Berrie fields O Blair, folk Ballad singers and bagpipers, that did not matter, I was abused by my teacher she sat me in a corner with a cone shaped papper hat on my head and told all the other children in my class, look at James with Dunce writting on the front of his papper hat,in that childrens home in Buckie the Staff they abused me by mental abuse and a loder boy in tha same home sexual abused me and I was frightend to tell the staff they would belt you as I was the bad one for being a Gypsy boy, I'm 57 years old now and the abuse I went throw was bad so bad, I'm still crave for haveing my own children which I will never see it hurt,s to know how people can damage a childs life,I was only 4 years old when I got lifted away from my family of travelling Stewarts I was two years old when Jock Stewart the bagpiper to the 7th Duke of Atholl died he was my great grand uncle, I did not know we were the same stewarts as the famous folk singers, but it still hurts inside me to know I will not see myself being a father to my unborn children all becouse of the abuse they put me throw and the dammages is done, from the ceadle to my grave.

Nelly from Lochgelly

The variable effectiveness of the tawse.

July 4 2012, 2:50 PM 

Those who were punished at school with a tawse describe in different terms how it felt to be belted. Some would say "I hardly felt it" or "it wasn't very sore". With others "it was certainly sore" or "it was very sore indeed". Whilst a third group would say "It was unbelievably painful" or "I'd never felt pain like it" or "It was absolutely excruciating". So why were there such variations in response to memories of the punishment?

There is no simple answer, it is a complex series of criteria which go to make up the eventual result. Firstly the pupil himself. Generally the acceptable pain threshold tends to increase with age, so how a seven year old and a seventeen year old react to the same stroke with the same strap would likely vary.

Some teachers strapped up the length of a single hand held out and pointing towards them. Others insisted on "crossed hands" where one hand was placed directly on top of the other with the upper hand being leathered and the lower one giving resistance to the hand being lowered on receipt of the tails, the resistance increasing the effective severity of the stroke.

Then there is the area of the hand that is struck by the belt on the downswing and how the tails landed. In general a teacher would attempt to cause about the last 5" or 6" of the tails to make solid contact up the length of the fingers and palm ensuring that the tail tips did not strike up the wrist. He/she would attempt to have the tails land flat on the hand but at times the tails would land at an angle causing the edge of the tails to strike first and leave a deep red weal in the process. The technique used by the teacher also had an effect on the level of discomfort felt by the pupil. A light tap with the strap gave a very ineffective result. Most teachers swung their belts downwards with a crisp and powerful movement of the arm with some introducing a flick of the wrist just before the tails struck to add an extra bite. Making sure that the hands were properly presented for punishment, correct height, held flat etc. was the duty of the teacher, but most pupils knew exactly how to hold them out and to keep them steady while they were being belted.

And finally the tawse itself. Most were made from cow or bull hide with the bull hide versions generally being the more severe. The thickest or heaviest belt was not necessarily the sorest. The length of the belt, hide density, weight, degree of suppleness and thickness of the hide all had a part to play in the result. Although there were many makers of the school tawse, those made by the Philp and Dick families in Lochgelly, Fife are generally accepted to have been the very best available, were used by the great majority of school teachers in Scotland and were the most feared by school pupils. The Lochgelly straps were available in different weights from 80grams to 220 grams, lengths from 28" to 20.5" and thicknesses from 5mm to 14mm to meet the disciplinary needs of different ages and sizes of pupils. From the late 1950's they were available with a choice of two or three tails. The advantage of the 3 tail version being that its narrower tails spread out slightly more on contact stinging a wider area of the hand with each stroke. The narrower two tail version was preferred by most teachers because its two tails were heavier than those on the three tail version meaning that in effect it "injected" pain deep down into the muscle tissue of the palm and fingers meaning that the pain was both sudden, intense and more long lasting with pupils still feeling it well over an hour after being belted.

If you were unfortunate enough to find yourself about to be belted by a teacher skilled in the application of the belt and using a top quality version of the Lochgelly tawse, be worried, very worried indeed!


Re: Tawse

July 4 2012, 3:40 PM 

"There is no simple answer"

Yes there is.

Different teachers (and even the same teachers upon different occasions) tawse with varying force and different pupils (and even the same pupils upon different occasions) have varying sensitivity to and subjective experiences of pain.

American Way

Re: Tawse

July 9 2012, 2:21 PM 

Do these girls know who they're modeling their hands for?




Shock, horror! Girls caned in faraway country - evidence visible on web!

July 10 2012, 3:14 AM 

Hi American Way,

Sorry if I seem to have been neglecting you, momentous events in the UK section of the Forum. But then I guess you've been busy watching Wimbledon anyway. How did you rate the Men's Singles? Even I was shouting at a relative's TV telling Murray he could do it. But sadly he couldn't! sad.gif

Anyway, you ask of the Flickr picture:

Do these girls know who they're modeling their hands for?

Well, I think they did on Thursday 27 July 2006 when the picture was taken. After being caned on the hand for illicitly absenting themselves from school they were posing for their friend Charlotte (doubtless an Anglicised version of her name) who was duly to add the picture to her blog that evening. As she noted at the time:

yesterday din go to school....lazy mar.... hahaha.... ponteng lorx....actually ish becoz today they hav workshop fer form 5 n form 6 students....i m supposed to go.....buden da workshop ish until 5pm!!!!WTH lar.... 5pm....then i dun feel lyk going edi......haha.........so today go to school n get ready fer punishment lorx......all chinese in science 1 n 2 din go sia.....then we had to face.....CANING....wakaka.....actually not something new fer me larx.....but imagine....19 yrs old still kena caning.....wakakaka......n da boys kena da backside....us gals kena palm lorx...........not painful actually.....mayb becoz i'm used to my father's caning edi....wakakaka

As you are aware, the story is to be found in this thread, commencing with your post on April 17 2009 at 6:21 PM. DO NOT VISIT THE LINKED BLOG IF YOU ARE ON A WINDOWS PC. THE SITE WILL ATTEMPT TO DROP A TROJAN ON YOU. I have extracted the above relevant detail for you by a safe means. The only other thing of interest there is that our very own Sill Lee Asso subsequently advised Charlotte:

Next time there is caning, ask teacher "Can have it on bum, please?" Is much better and leave a warm glow in buttocks. And to your wish list please add cycle short - good for taking caning in.

For some reason he omitted his customary signature 'yes please'.

You also posted the item in this thread, where discussion commences with your post on April 17 2009 @ 3:07 PM. The caveat regarding the linked blog applies here also.

There, that satisfies the Another_Lurker craving for lots of links and stuff. happy.gif

Now I guess your query was actually did the girls know that their picture was going to finish up in the Flickr collection of a chastisement on the hands fetishist? And the answer is probably not! happy.gif



July 10 2012, 11:39 AM 

Manglish/Singlish glossary for interpreting the passage quoted by Another_Lurker

din = didn't
ponteng = truant
buden = but then
dun = don't
kena = get or receive
n da = and the
mar, lorx, lar, larx, sia, wakaka = these words may be ignored as they have no meaning.

American Way

Re: Tawse

July 10 2012, 12:11 PM 

A_L I lost interests after Maria Sharapova was spanked in the fourth round. I can care about sexual harassment in Kiev and watch those poor exploited young ladies and what they were wearing when for their spanking demonstration. I can watch women play tennis at Wimbledon and not the way they dress but those players have no reason to dress like sluts in case you didn't notice A_L but I am of the age and persuasion to find it hard not to notice.

Queer that after a celebration of 60 years of a Queen there would be no reason to celebrate men's tennis for 75.

Not that I hold grudges but I am still smarting after being censored over a comment I made about an Andy Murray match, sad.gif



Re: Glossary

July 10 2012, 12:46 PM 

Good day Mr Farrell,

It is good to know that you still visit this Forum. I fear though that the chances of you discovering any new material here have been much reduced by the ludicrous efforts of certain of our contributors to demean and destroy the Forum.

Thank you for the glossary. I am relieved to hear that lorx and larx have no meanings, I had been trying to make some sense of them. Given the context in which they are used each time I am inclined to wonder if the young lady actually uses them as mock exclamations of surprise, very much as the old cockney (I think) 'lawks', much uttered in Victorian melodramas by females of the lower orders of society to indicate that they are startled or surprised. The sound of the three words would presumably be similar.

Also interesting are wakaka and its extensions. While I would agree that these have no specific meaning, the young lady clearly uses them as an allusion to the sound of the cane and they immediately (or very closely) follow the word 'caning' in each case.

American Way

Re: Tawse

July 10 2012, 5:58 PM 

The Mill Tawse. School and Domestic Targets of Corporal Punishment.



American Way

Re: Tawse

August 2 2012, 5:15 PM 

This story, from almost exactly a decade ago, was probably covered here but just in case it wasn't. How has the value of the tawse held during that period of time? Cash strapped was an interesting choice of words. Punditry is the lowest form of humor.



Re: Tawse

September 17 2012, 2:35 PM 

I found this interesting reference on another site . Well its quite weird, but interesting especially the story of Margaret Dick who now seems to be running a tourist industry !


Don't know how long it will stay up as a local news site .Judging from my own experience with the headmistress from hell, Margaret's demo is a real 'wee taste' . try it over your shoulder Margaret with a hefty swing !!!!!


Re: Tawse

September 17 2012, 3:34 PM 

At my school the belt (was it a tawse - I don't know), cane and slipper (obviously) were always given across the bottom.....

Alan Turing

Re: Tawse

September 17 2012, 9:02 PM 

At the end of the local news story about the Lochgelly Tawse Musical mentioned by prof.n you will finds the statement:

People who read this story also read Council recommended to reject community bid to re-open Leith Waterworld

Make of that what you will. happy.gif


Re: Tawse

September 17 2012, 10:14 PM 

Hi John Day ,

This picture page ( originally from a clip I cannot trace from the BBC , shows the 'traditional' Scottish school mode - just in case anyone else hasn't seen it . It has actually been posted earlier by Another Lurker but you might not immediately see the connection , so here it is once again


Please ignore the title of the thread


Re: Tawse

September 18 2012, 9:58 AM 


This is not the type of strap which was used on us. It was shorter, a double up thick piece of leather.......


Re: Tawse

September 18 2012, 1:50 PM 

Hello John Day,

Thank you for your interesting contributions to the Forum. Assuming it was the UK, do you mind telling us in which area your school was and perhaps give us an idea of the dates you were there?


Re: Tawse

September 18 2012, 3:39 PM 


My secondary school was a Catholic boys grammar school in Sidcup, Kent. I was there from the early the 70s and stayed on in the sixth form.


Re: Tawse

September 18 2012, 9:46 PM 

Thanks John.

The strap was traditionally used in relatively few areas in England, mostly the West Midlands and the North West, but seems to have been more frequently used in Catholic schools across England.

If you experienced both, or know people who did, how did the strap compare with the slipper? Was one generally felt to be more severe than the other or were they comparable?


Re: Tawse

September 18 2012, 10:32 PM 


The use of the strap in the North is interesting. As I've said before in some areas of Yorkshire , and in other northern counties ( Northumberland , for example , ) straps were permitted alternatives to the cane. I knew about four or five schools in my area of the West Riding where the drap was used, in almost every case by an ex Scottish teacher gaining a promoted post in England. I also had family in Manchester and as Harold Hoff has indicated in his book ,( and previously STOPP) Manchester used the strap in preference to the cane in state schools, but from those I knew who had experienced it , it was indeed a different animal to the tawse.,

Although my own experience must be coloured and prejudiced by my own experience , personally I think the tawse , used severely is probably THE most frightening of the usual school punishment regimes !


Re: Tawse

September 18 2012, 11:04 PM 

Good evening, prof. n.

Thanks for your reminder that straps were also commonly used in Northumberland.

You said: Although my own experience must be coloured and prejudiced by my own experience , personally I think the tawse , used severely is probably THE most frightening of the usual school punishment regimes !

That is an interesting comment. Is it because it was used on the hands, so you were more conscious of its approach and the demeanour of the person delivering it? Certainly the appearance of the tawse is daunting, especially as it seems to tell you it has been designed with only one objective in mind!


Re: Tawse

September 19 2012, 1:32 AM 

Hello HCJ,

. Is it because it was used on the hands, so you were more conscious of its approach and the demeanour of the person delivering it? Certainly the appearance of the tawse is daunting, especially as it seems to tell you it has been designed with only one objective in mind!

Essentially it was a combination of all three. The demeanour of my headmistress was far from 'controlled', and from the look alone of the belt on her table , ( it was a John Dick 'H' weight with three tails), an object of legend and fear in the whole school. Add to that it smashing into the smallish hand of a 10/11 year old would be enough to frighten any child.

I have a friend who was a Scottish teacher ( and has written on other forums about the use of the belt) and she has made the point to me , that a 'reasonable ' teacher had several 'tricks of the trade' to limit the pain caused .....you could hold the tawse up near the tails ( some tawses especially those used on younger kids have a clear thumb mark where this alternate position has been used regularly, or it can simply be flicked rather than a very hard full swing , but believe me in this case the lady used the traditional full swing as shown by ms, Thornton above. As an added twist she told you to look at her on the first stroke so, presumably. you saw the belt descend. If you weren't already petrified , believe me that did the trick. Again my friend has said that with nervous kids it was best to tell them to shut their eyes........As I went first in the belting I had I can only imagine the fear of my friend , a girl half my size must have had when she was told to step forward.

Even today if I see a real tawse , I have a natural psychological aversion to it . That doesn't happen with the slipper, cane , paddle or 'normal' beltthe other bits of armory I have felt or seen used as instruments of punishment,

( For those who haven't read it my tawsing is described in detail HERE )


Re: Tawse

September 19 2012, 2:00 AM 

P.S. I only experienced the tawse that one . I've always assumed , possibly rightly or wrongly that a three tail John Dick hurts mare than a two. For curiosity can any of our Scottish readers ( or anyone else) confirm if this is right or just a myth?


American Way

Corporal Punishment desuetude on girls?

September 19 2012, 8:41 AM 

Had corporal punishment with different instruments of correction had ever grown in desuetude on girls' hands and/or bottoms? This vignette makes me wonder? 19th century Iverness.

Margaret McMillan, socialists movement activists. (1860-1931)


Scroll to bottom.



This desk contained, as we afterwards learned with horror, a tawse, or leathern strap, with four tongues, which the masters used with energy, not indeed for the punishment of girls, but only of boys. In spite of our immunity, we were filled with anxiety and distress, and had a deep sympathy with the unruly boys.This desk contained, as we afterwards learned with horror, a tawse, or leathern strap, with four tongues, which the masters used with energy, not indeed for the punishment of girls, but only of boys. In spite of our immunity, we were filled with anxiety and distress, and had a deep sympathy with the unruly boys.



Re: Corporal Punishment desuetude on girls?

September 19 2012, 10:47 PM 

Hi American Way,

You have taught me a new word. That doesn't happen very often these days, except in the case of our greatly esteemed fellow contributor Prof.n, whom I'm convinced makes 'em up as he goes along! (Only joking Prof.n, which I hope I don't need to say!)

Doubtless our Latin and French experts will sneer or tut-tut according to inclination, but 'desuetude' is a new one on me. I see it means a state of disuse or inactivity. Ah well, we live and learn, I've filed it away for the future.

Now that query. You ask:

Had corporal punishment with different instruments of correction had ever grown in desuetude on girls' hands and/or bottoms?

I take this to mean something like:

Did the corporal punishment of girls decrease over time?

In Scotland, possibly not. I am no expert, but I believe the widespread application of the tawse to the hands of girls in Scottish schools was a product of accelerated urbanisation and compulsory secondary education into the mid teens. This produced larger state schools, with roughly equal numbers of boys and girls.

Much of this happened a little after the McMillan sisters attended Inverness High School in the late 1860s and the early 1870s. At that time, in that school, the tawse was not used on girls, as noted in the extract you link, and I don't think that was unusual for the time.

Compulsory education from age 5 to age 13 wasn't introduced in Scotland until, I think, 1872 Even then, in rural areas especially, the education of girls tended to be neglected in favour of employing them on useful domestic tasks at home. Only when the compulsory education to age 13 law was enforced, and then extended to age 14 in 1901, did the number of girls in schools begin to match the number of boys.

As the number of girls in schools increased, so did the disciplinary problems they were perceived as presenting, and by, I think, around the 1930s (possibly before) girls' fair hands were being belted as frequently as those of boys in many mixed schools. I'd stress that there were probably still schools, especially single sex schools, where girls weren't subject to the belt (the usual title of the tawse in Scotland), or indeed to any other CP.

However,in Scottish urban state mixed schools, especially secondary schools, from the 1930s/1940s it was I think the norm for both boys and girls to be belted, sometimes in quite prodigious numbers, up until a few years before the abolition of CP in state schools in 1987.



Re: Tawse

September 20 2012, 12:05 AM 

Hi Prof.n,

I don't know what the relative usage of the two methods was, but I understand that the tawse was often applied along the length of the fingers and hand as opposed to the 'across the hand' method shown in the photograph accompanying your September 19 2012, 2:00 AM contribution above.

The child was instructed to stand facing the teacher and extend a hand, or more often one hand supported by the other, towards the teacher. If possible the sleeve was pulled down to protect the inner wrist of the punished hand, in case the tip of the tails inadvertently overlapped the hand. Requiring the support of the other hand was thought to provide a steadier target and make a crafty downward movement coincident with the fall of the tawse, in an effort to minimise the pain, more difficult.

I am indebted to one 'Greyschoolshorts' who has placed the following picture of the technique in the public domain via Wikipedia.

Out of consideration for the susceptibilities of my friend American Way I have not searched for a picture of a young lady being punished in this mode. I know that viewing such would be even more painful for him than it was for the fair recipient! happy.gifwink.gifhappy.gif


Re: Tawse

September 20 2012, 12:48 AM 

Hi Another Lurker,

I understand that is the more usual manner of punishment , although both were used . I suspect the picture whilst showing the other method was also intended to show of the 3 tail tawse.What I remember of the belting I got is that I was told to hold out my hand and support it , but by the third or so stroke the support went out the window. the most difficult thing was to change hands mid way through and to proffer the unpunished one for the same treatment as the other one had just got .

That was a big picture for you Another Lurker !!!!!!



Re: Tawse

September 20 2012, 2:06 AM 

Hi Prof.n,

I have just re-read your account of your own experience in receipt of the tawse at Junior School. Indeed a frightening experience for a 10 year old, and also a reminder that where there is any doubt about culpability punishment should NEVER be administered immediately and in anger.

I note that you and Tris were punished along the full length of the fingers and palm as in the picture I've posted above. I think it surely must to be less unpleasant the other way, across the palm, as in your earlier picture. Having to face the implement and its wielder, and the inclusion of the fingers as well as the palm in the area impacted has to make the ordeal worse.

You say:

That was a big picture for you Another Lurker !!!!!!

Sadly the shape was all wrong, and had I reduced the height to fit completely into a sparsely configured browser window at 1024x768 pixels screen resolution, as I normally would do, the width to height ratio would have meant that it would have appeared as a thin line down the centre of the screen. A slight exaggeration, but I'm sure you get the idea. I trust that you were using your monster screen to view it and not your phone! wink.gif


Re: Tawse

September 20 2012, 2:20 AM 

Hi Another Lurker,

Actually being late at night II was reading it on my main 'enabled' smart TV monitor , so it was in 50" 'Technicolor'!! You don't know what you are missing with the modern TV happy.gifhappy.gifhappy.gif


Re: Tawse

September 20 2012, 4:01 AM 

American Way,

I animadvert your use of desuetude.


Re: Tawse

September 26 2012, 11:18 AM 

A good example of the " front on" tawsing method. Two girls get six of the best in the film Country Girls by Edna O'Brien


American Way


September 26 2012, 11:55 AM 

15th century Late Middle English:

Latin dsutdo, equivalent to dsu-, base of dsuscere to become

disaccustomed to, unlearn ( d- de- + suscere to become accustomed to) + -td -tude



Re: Tawse

September 26 2012, 11:06 PM 

Hi Declan,

An excellent find, and you've beaten our ace researcher American Way to it!

But I wonder, is that actually a tawse? Well, why don't we have some pictures to check? It will be some solace for American Way, who will be bitterly disappointed at missing the scoop. He likes pictures of nuns administering corporal punishment, it reminds him of his oh so happy school-days! happy.gif

Well there we have the unfortunate pupil's hand being straightened out and positioned prior to the punishment (often mentioned in descriptions of tawsings) and then held out.

The implement is thrown back over the nun's right shoulder and then something makes contact along the full length of the girl's hand, which appears to move downwards under the impact. Sadly I don't have the software which would enable me to frame step on board at the moment, so that's the best I can do with the rapid impact. But my guess is that some of the strokes were actually applied, even if only lightly.

But is it a tawse? Well note the way it is held and used. The stroke is applied by the hand gripping the implement about half way along its length, and the same hand is also used to flick it back over the shoulder. The other hand merely keeps the loose end of the implement from flapping about. Compare and contrast Prof.n's image here which shows how the tawse was used. The end of the implement is gripped by the hand which applies the stroke, and the opposite hand is used to flick it back over the shoulder. That hand then takes no further part in the proceedings.

I think what we are looking at is a strap rather than a tawse, and indeed there was a tradition of using straps in Catholic schools. Here's another picture:

American Way will love that one, happy.gif and I have to say I think I'd quake in my shoes if facing that lady with a strap in her hand in reality! happy.gif Note how flexible the implement is and how it can be bent in the hand to facilitate the grip. I think tawses were much stiffer. I'll leave it to anyone who has faced the tawse (perhaps Prof.n?) to contradict me, but I think that's a strap.


Re: Tawse

September 27 2012, 1:30 AM 

Definitely a strap not a tawse. If the girl had received a belting like that off a tawse ( six on ONE hand I think ) she would have been in agony and probably bent double .The tawse is thick and stiff,and you never see any image of the hand through it , as Another Lurker shows.

Not nice people to meet in school , but I suspect with a real tawse they be more monstrous.


Re: Tawse

September 27 2012, 2:45 AM 

OK , it's a strap , not a tawse , but to be honest I thought they were one and the same.

I noticed a couple of oddities about the clip. The first girl gets six on her right hand and the other girl gets it on the left hand. But afterwards they both seem to be inspecting both their hands.

The second girl had a face of real terror as she was about to be strapped , I wonder if she ever got it in real life? It was filmed in 1983 , so it is quite possible



Re: Tawse

September 27 2012, 3:30 AM 

Thank you Prof.n. I am happy to have confirmation that it is indeed a strap, though being applied (almost) in the manner of a tawse.

The strap is not I think transparent on impact as my composite picture might suggest That is simply a 'ghost' effect due to the high speed of the impact. As can be seen from the residual image the strap has impacted and then slid off the hand on its downward course.

As I note above, I had the impression that for the shots appearing to strike the hands there was an actual impact. However, unlike the accounts of the real caning in 'Kes' I can find no indication that the two actresses playing the schoolgirls in 'Country Girls' actually suffered for their art.

This strapping has in fact been mentioned in passing before on May 10 2003, 6:02 AM in this thread but I think Declan is the first person here to discover the YouTube video.


Dean Clarke

Re: Tawse

September 28 2012, 4:24 AM 

I hope this isn't a repost - if so, please delete if needed. My computer did something weird as I posted.

I have put up some tawsing scenes from Scottish films at youtube. These scenes certainly involve real contact, but I've no idea how real they could be said to be, not knowing what might have been done to limit or eliminate any real effects.



Re: Tawse

September 28 2012, 9:44 PM 

Hi Dean Clarke,

Thank you, a very illuminating series of clips! This Forum has been most fortunate to have access to the digitised material that yourself and Doctor Dominum have taken the trouble to compile, upload and link over the years.

The sheer viciousness and energy put into administering the tawse in the first clip is quite frightening. If that is how it was actually done it is not surprising that 'the belt' is such an evocative topic for those who were in receipt of it!

The last clip confirms the accounts one sometimes sees. 'Who sent you' and whack! No discussion of 'what for'. A sort of school CP production line!


Re: Tawse

September 28 2012, 11:44 PM 

Many of these cuts , in v both senses of the word were from the evocative film 'leaving' . I must admit I was shown this on DVD by a Scottish friend and part way through I pleaded for the subtitles , which were in English! Basically its a story of no hope in a no hope area of Glasgow in the shipyard days, , it starts in misery and ends in despair. My friend the Scottish teacher said the beltings are very realistic , although by the time she taught they were mixed classes, but belting always was an equal opportunity sport.

Thanks for posting Dean what are a couple of epoch making films full of social commentary , often lost and forgotten on youtube .


Re: Tawse

September 29 2012, 6:45 AM 

Thanks Dean,

An interesting compilation.

The poor Scots. Not only do they have to put up with grim classrooms and grim weather but they also have to communicate in an obscure language. No wonder they invented whisky.



Scottish Weather

September 29 2012, 7:32 AM 

Hi KK,

Off topic, but I can't let you get away with disparaging remarks about Scottish weather! What's grim about it? You can find whatever sort of weather you enjoy most in Scotland. Anything from heavy snow to warm sunshine. Quite often on the same day in the same place too! happy.gif


Re: Tawse

September 29 2012, 7:44 AM 


You are of course, as always, entirely correct. Scotland and England have exactly the right sort of weather suitable for such places, all good but good in different ways.


tawse in film

September 29 2012, 10:41 AM 

A girl is belted in blood red roses by her gym mistress in front of the headmistress for pushing her over.I would love to see this but have been unable to find it.Can anyone assist.It was a tv series and was also realeased as a film


Tawsing on film

September 29 2012, 10:45 AM 

The above clips are all from a mainstream film "NEDS" released last year.



Re: Tawse

September 29 2012, 1:04 PM 

Hi Anotheranoterlurker ,

The latter half of the film clips are from NEDS, but the earlier part ( Japanese soldier etc) are, as I mentioned above from the 1989 made for TV film 'Leaving'.

IMBD makes the following comments on the film ( for which incidentally it displays completely the wrong 'poster' )

A moving, comic tale of three boys about to leave a grim Catholic School in Greenock, Scotland, who find they must each choose a different path in life as they face the future.

Realistic and harrowing scenes of corporal punishment in the film were achieved by the creation of a harmless prop "Lochgelly belt" - the leather strap or "tawse" used in 1960s Scotland to exact discipline upon school pupils.

It was written by Danny Boyle, and frankly I wouldn't agree with IMBD that the film is at all 'comic'. The original was made on 16mm stock for BBC 2 in the screen two series .

Love film introduce it thus :

Set in 1960 Greenock, the hub of the Clyde's shipbuilding industry. Three friends are about to leave school, to be released into a wilderness of a town that seems to offer them nothing. Wonderful acting, witty dialogue, nostalgic footage and endearing characters combine to create a realistic, gritty, often harrowing, sometimes funny portrayal of school life in 1960's Scotland. Originally screened under the BBC2 Screen Two banner, written by Daniel Boyle, who went on to write TV dramas such as Taggart, Morse, Hamish McBeth, Rebus and Lewis.

At least love film get the right poster !!!!!!!!




September 29 2012, 3:24 PM 

Now I might be getting on a bit, and the memory is not what it used to be, but I am not yet completely addled. I seem to recall that the film Leaving has been mentioned before on this forum. But it was about Liverpool. Was the clip of the film I am thinking about called "The leaving of Liverpool" ?

In the clip that went with it one young lad was bent over a desk, and was caned mercilessly, and in a very brutal manor, with what one might say, in the best traditions of some that frequent this forum. Also in the clip was a young girl that appeared to be caned in similar manor but across the back of her thighs. The whole scene was in a rather dingy office. Please enlighten me.


Re: Tawse

September 29 2012, 9:07 PM 

Hi Willyeckaslike,

You are right. the leaving fo Liverpool was about the Catholic Church shipping off kids from children's homes, most of which were not foundlings ,to a life in the antipodes, where if I remember the programme correctly the canings you talked of took place.


The DVD is region 4 only ( Australia) but if like me you have a all regions player it is still a rare bird costing $189.95 USD. from collectors ! So I won't be buying one tonight Here's one clip HERE . I can't trace the other one , I'm afraid


Dean Clarke

Re: Tawse

September 30 2012, 1:48 PM 

The first caning in The Leaving of Liverpool. This one takes place while still in the UK, although the later caning scene involving the girl takes place after arrival in Australia.

I am gratified to see some people have actually commented and discussed the tawsing clips I shared - and yes, they are from Leaving and NEDS. It can be frustrating sometimes when I go to the trouble of putting this type of material online and I can see that hundreds of people have viewed them, but nobody bothers to even comment.


Re: Tawse

September 30 2012, 4:40 PM 

Many of you will remember this

[linked image]

Well now this has appeared out apparently of the vaults of the BBC


Many thanks to the reader ( who wishes to remain anonymous) who notified me about this . I think the shock to me was what a mild mannered person she appeared to be , supporting the tawse. I'm sure the quality is due to age.

Edited to reduce width.


Re: Tawse

September 30 2012, 5:54 PM 

Dean Clarke said, of the clips he posted:

These scenes certainly involve real contact, but I've no idea how real they could be said to be, not knowing what might have been done to limit or eliminate any real effects.

As I have said elsewhere on the forum, I worked on a couple of television productions of James Joyce books. On one of them, a leather "pandybat" was used on the palms of a young actor and had an impressive effect, looking and sounding authentic. Although I didn't have chance to try the strap myself, it appeared to have some foam padding sewn inside that presumably softened the blow. It didn't seem to trouble the recipient too much, despite a number of rehearsals and retakes.

I suspect a similar method was used on films such as "Leaving", a genuine tawse being used in the main part of the scene but substituted with a "soft" one for the action shots.

Incidentally, one thing that couldn't be satisfactorily faked in the TV films was a pint of draught Guinness - and of course we had to have an ample supply of the genuine product on set! wink.gif



Re: Tawse

September 30 2012, 8:49 PM 

Hi Prof.n,

Well, you'd better hope that Renee doesn't read this thread! Especially after I'd told you at the end of this post the safe way to post an in-line image without upsetting anybody! I believe in the Southern States they adhere very strongly to the principle that once is happenstance, twice is deliberate! sad.gif And of course in this thread the problem is exacerbated by the presence of occasional contributor 'Naughty Schoolboy Joseph' in the 'Author' column. Poor Renee will be trying to view a 1271 pixel wide thread on a 1024 pixel wide screen, and you recall how annoyed she got even when the horizontal scroll factor was rather less than that! happy.gifwink.gifwink.gif

Seriously, the old video of Ms Thornton is an excellent find, and my congratulations to whoever informed you of it. From the quality I think it was probably the work of someone who had filmed the sequence direct off-screen when it was broadcast, using one of the then fairly primitive home video cameras, and subsequently digitised the footage, rather than the BBC archives yielding up their bounty. I suspect that two of our most eminent contributors will be quite perturbed that you think the BBC would release anything in that condition! happy.gif

Alan Turing

Video technology

September 30 2012, 9:53 PM 

As far as I recall, the BBC was using one-inch helical-scan video recorders for its broadcast material in 1981, so the posted video certainly didn't come directly from that. The first few seconds before the picture becomes stable suggest that it's a VHS cassette recording (these were common in the BBC in those days, and were also available for domestic use). It could be a cassette copy (or a copy of a copy) recorded either off-air, or else from the one-inch master. I can't see any visual distortion that you might get from a CRT-to-camera recording.


Video recording

September 30 2012, 10:22 PM 

Alan Turing has written more or less the same things that I was thinking. Alan, I think I recognise some U-matic characteristics, but the video has certainly been through a number of generations. I agree that it is not an off-screen recording.



Re: Video technology

September 30 2012, 10:32 PM 

Hi Alan Turing,

Hmm, not sure what sort of CRT screens and cameras you were using, but visual distortion is one problem I never had. Lots of others, but visual distortion, no. However, on casting my mind back to the days of yesteryear when I was doing that sort of thing, I am inclined to agree with your ex VHS suggestion, as the video lacks any evidence of scan lines, which were next to impossible to eliminate when using still or cine cameras on CRT screens. And indeed if 1981 is the date of the original broadcast domestic video recorders were becoming fairly common by then.


Re: Tawse

September 30 2012, 10:50 PM 

A_L wrote: "Hmm, not sure what sort of CRT screens and cameras you were using, but visual distortion is one problem I never had."

Hmm, I'll bet you did! happy.gif


Video recording

September 30 2012, 11:23 PM 

My last post was a little unfair - but I couldn't resist it! happy.gif I think Alan's use of the word "distortion" did not mean what you took it to mean.

Having looked at it a few times, frame by frame, if you eliminate the obvious defects, the original picture is still quite good in terms of colour definition and contrast range (Look at Ms Thorton's jumper and the conveniently striped "test card" on the right of the desk. I think this is too good for VHS. These pictures have some typical characteristics of a common professional helical scan VCR.



Re: Video technology

September 30 2012, 11:26 PM 

Hi hcj,

Since I have the utmost respect for the technical knowledge of yourself and Alan Turing I am surprised that we find ourselves at odds on this issue and I wonder if we are talking at cross purposes. I would understand visual distortion to be the alteration of the relative proportions of the picture I saw on the CRT (TV) screen by the photographic apparatus, and I didn't have that problem with either still (35mm) cameras or cine (standard and super 8 cameras). Are we discussing the same thing please?



Re: Video technology

September 30 2012, 11:32 PM 

Hi hcj,

Sorry, hadn't seen your above post when I posted. It sounds as though my supposition that we were at cross purposes was correct, but perhaps one of you would be kind enough to enlighten me as to what you define as visual distortion please?


Video recording

September 30 2012, 11:56 PM 

Hi Another_Lurker,

My definition of video distortion would be changes in black level and contrast range, compression of highlights, chrominance not precisely aligned with the luminance. I was not thinking of geometric distortions.



Re: Video recording

October 1 2012, 12:52 AM 

Hi hcj,

Thank you for the explanation and I would fully concur with your definition of video distortion. But as you know I am an inveterate pedant, and Mr Turing did say 'visual distortion'. My absence of that was what I subsequently defended and queried! happy.gif

Alan Turing

Re: Video recording

October 1 2012, 10:21 AM 

I suspect that hcj knows more about the engineering of video recorders than I do. Indeed the recording could have been made on a U-matic cassette, although I would have expected the quality to have been a little higher in that case. Also, U-matic recorders weren't really consumer items, so a U-matic recording is more likely to have been made from the one-inch master rather than off-air, suggesting again that the quality should have been a little higher.

On the question of camera recording off-screen: if this had been the case, I would have expected to see "hum bars". Despite their name, these weren't caused by mains interference, but by the inevitable slight mismatch between the vertical scan rates of the display screen and the camera, resulting in a dark-ish bar rolling slowly up or down the screen. Some professional cameramen1 had special gizmos allowing them to lock their cameras to the display, but it's unlikely these would have been used for a home recording.

1. I use this word deliberately. I can't remember the date when the BBC had changed its rules to allow women to apply for posts as camera operators. It could well have been before 1981, but there certainly weren't very many female camera operators in those days. I think the terminology might still have been "cameraman", too.

Oliver Sydney

Re: Tawse

October 1 2012, 1:41 PM 

Hi Dean

I wish to add my thanks for your efforts in making these clips available.

Just on the "The Leaving of Liverpool", there are reminiscences from some children who went to Fairbridge, just one of the institutions in Australia, at http://www.migrationheritage.nsw.gov.au/exhibition/fairbridge/fairbridge-transcripts/

The verdict of the interviewees is somewhat mixed. One of the worst things was the misrepresentation to the parents of what would happen to their children in Australia.



October 1 2012, 4:21 PM 

Prof N
and all others that support corporal punishment of children

When I first started reading the posts on this forum it was because I agreed with corporal punishment in schools. I thought it was a useful tool, to resolve disruptions in school discipline in a quick and effective way, both for teachers and even pupils. But on watching the video in Prof Ns post of September 29 2012, 9:07 PM, how can anyone in their right mind approve of, or support the brutal flogging like that of young boy of that age. A whack or two on the bottom, or more if thought needed, done by a responsible person, who had in mind the end objective, which should really be that of affecting the other end of the boy or girl as to their future behaviour. In all but a few cases, if done in a reasonable way, although uncomfortable and painful for a short time, it would work without causing any long term damage to the boy or girl, it did in the past, and obviating the compensation culture may even still work at present.

But as shown in the clip, that is the best advert for the total banning of all corporal punishment. The thinking, or non thinking, behind it is akin to the Royal Navy of 200 years ago. Floggings will continue until moral improves, or blind obedience is obtained.

When the power of administering corporal punishment is given to small minded people who can only see what is immediately in front of them, it is little wonder it has been banned. I am sure that is the main reason CP was banned, and not the intrinsic reason of a smack. Teachers etc that can only see a kids bottom, and no further, and think that they have to hit as hard as possible and, voilla, that will achieve the desired results are failures. It is beyond me that people in a responsible position can only think in such sort term measures, and not taking into consideration the long term objective of improving the childs behaviour. It is much easier to control 20, or 100, that are with you, than 1 or 2 that are against you. Anyone that uses excessive power, as in the clip, are they inadequate, that think they have not achieved the position that they think they are worthy of, so it becomes a case of, I have the power, so I am going to use it, no matter what ! That is a point that Prof N is better to answer.

We are all suffering from politicians short term thinking, I will deal with what is in front of me, and to hell with the future, thats someone else's problem happy.gif



Re: Tawse

October 1 2012, 8:13 PM 

Hi Wilwillyeckaslike,

Although I always have been, and still am, a supporter of properly moderated and controlled school corporal punishment, I cannot disagree with anything you say in your above post.

The clip of the boy being caned in 'The Leaving of Liverpool' was horrific. From your earlier posts in the thread you have clearly seen it before. I hadn't, and I found it shocking.

But I would make two comments:
  • The clip is a fiction, part of a film drama. I have no doubt that some canings were conducted in that fashion in a school environment, but I doubt if many were. We have several people here who have been caned at school. I seem to recall that you yourself were. How many would claim that their canings were conducted as brutally and viciously as that?

  • Hard cases make bad laws. By no stretch of the imagination can that caning be described as moderated and controlled. In the real world the wrong actions of a few should be sanctioned and prevented, not used to impose a blanket prohibition on those operating in the same area who conducts themselves moderately and fairly. We don't ban private motoring because a few private motorists drive dangerously and kill people.



An apology to willyeckaslike

October 1 2012, 8:19 PM 

Hi willyeckaslike again,

Please accept my apologies. I have absolutely no idea how I managed to first mangle your pseudonym like that and then fail to pick it up on proof-reading.


Re: Tawse

October 1 2012, 9:47 PM 

For anyone who is interested the entire part 1 of leaving of Liverpool is at


The caning of the boy is at about 8 minutes, just after the first boy is hit and has his hearing permanently damaged. Yes it is fiction based on fact. As to the two contrasting positions above. I seriously believe that the inability to deter excessive punishment is an abiding part of the reason for the prohibition of corporal punishment in the UK. It has been suggested that this was largely because when a teacher was found guilty they were fined five shillings or something minor , instead of being jailed which is what GBH requires in any other circumstance ,.

Frankly , teachers brought it upon themselves with their unwillingness to expose those amongst them who pleasured in inflicting pain and humiliation. An era best done with but not forgotten . Unlike in the States they didn't bend with the tide of public opinion because in the UK- teachers knew best and were a law unto themselves.

American Way

Re: Tawse

October 11 2012, 5:08 AM 

'Banned: The Belt, How the Lochgelly Tawse Changed the World'

This is a follow up on prof n September 17 2012, 2:35 PM posting on this thread. Largest Tawse?





October 19 2012, 8:08 PM 

As a boy who attended school in Edinburgh in the 60s and 70s I was the recipient of the tawse or "lash" as we called it on many occasions,

In Primary school this was irregular but in Secondary 1 and 2 especially I would not be able t say how often as it was weekly for me and I am sure that every boy in my lcass received at least once a term.

Normally it was in class with the strokes being delivered at the front of the room. Sometimes it would be hand out to the side - one handed or two handed or held out in front usualy 2 handed.
Strokes varied 1-6 depending offense and the member of staff.

Head masters beltings were delivered in his office inevitably 6 strokes. These would be with anyone else invlved in the incident which had resulted in the strapping.

In all my time I never saw a punishment book

After graduating from University I cecame a teacher and bought a Lockgelly myslef after the intiial year when I sent a boy to a colleague to collect one, The implement a 2 tailed JJ Dick is still in my possession. I used this from 1979 - 1984 whehn iut was effectively abolished. It was given again in front of the class wwith my prefrred method beingthe hands held double to the side and strokes given 1-6.

Only biys were straped and again there was no requirement to have a punishment book


Re: Tawse

October 21 2012, 6:29 PM 

Did you punish them for bad spelling?


Re: Tawse

November 2 2012, 12:32 PM 


i want this video

[linked image]

can anyone help me

at least the name of the movie will help ...

or the video



Re: Tawse

November 2 2012, 12:49 PM 

Look at my post September 26 , 11,18 am. All the information is there . The film was " Country Girls " by Edna O'Brien


Re: Tawse

November 2 2012, 1:23 PM 

thank you very much



Re: Tawse

November 2 2012, 1:53 PM 

Hi Declan,

Tut tut, Declan, a chance missed! You should have warmly welcomed Allaxa to the Forum and inquired indirectly as to why she was inspired by the screen shots to want the film. After all, she may have been in receipt of just such a punishment herself and be wishing to relive those happy, happy days! And of course if that is the case she should be encouraged to share the experience with us! happy.gifwink.gifhappy.gif

Only joking! Allaxa, if you are reading this you will readily find all eight parts of the film on YouTube if you go to the uploader's page. If you have any further problems don't hesitate to ask. You may still be able to buy the film from Channel 4 Films, but I doubt it as it dates from 1983.


Re: Tawse

November 2 2012, 2:27 PM 

Indeed A-L . Welcome to Allexa

As an update. I have not seen either "Bottle Green " girl or "Jess Ennis " girl for ages. I fear they may be no longer at school.

There has been a debate on an Emmerdale Forum I look at about the age of a girl called Anya. She is ( In Emmerdale ) supposed to be 14, but in real life she is 16. However many posters on that thread claim she looks about 30. As with the two girls I mentioned ( Bottle Green and Jess) they both look very much older with not wearing the uniform. ( I may not have worded that correctly , but please don't imply anything untoward)

The girl in Emmerdale is called Anya King , and she is a right stroppy litle madam


Re: Tawse

November 3 2012, 1:30 PM 

Dear friends

Sorry if I made problems cuz i'm new here sad.gif

so happy :X


Re: Tawse

November 3 2012, 2:56 PM 

Welcome Allaxa!

You have caused no problems whatsoever. Thank you for your input so far.

Keep logging in and keep posting!

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