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This page features photographs or drawings that are too interesting not to show, but for which we don't have the usual standard of verification or details of sources that normally apply on this website, or which currently don't quite fit anywhere else on the site, or which belong with an article that hasn't yet been written.
Readers should bear in mind that we cannot always be certain that pictures like this are what they claim or appear to be. Any help with identifying them would be appreciated.
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Thank you to the readers who kindly supplied these items.
Australia | barbados | Bolivia | Brazil | Canada | China | Cuba | Denmark | France | Germany | Ghana | Indonesia | Iran | Israel | Japan | Kenya | Liberia | Malaysia | New Zealand | Nigeria | Russia | Singapore | South Africa | South Korea | Spain | Taiwan | Tanzania | Thailand | Uganda | United Kingdom | United States | Country unknown
AUSTRALIA: School CP
Corpun file 18542
Display of artefacts at a school's own private museum in Victoria, including a rattan cane, which certainly looks like the real thing. According to the rules, only a strap was supposed to be used in Victoria state schools. Caning was reserved for private schools. But this seems to be a state school. Thanks for this to Dean Clarke, who discusses his researches into this mystery here. (Tip: switch on your pop-up blocker before visiting that site.)
Corpun file 16197
This is said to be from Kalgoorlie School, in the Australian outback, c.1900. Canings were mostly given on the hand, punishment "on the buttock" apparently being reserved for serious defiance.
BARBADOS: School CP
Corpun file 24824
October 2009: A student gets the cane on the seat of his shorts for arriving late at St Leonard's Boys' School. This is a less tightly cropped version of one of the photos in this news item.
BOLIVIA: School CP
Corpun file 18525
Picture said to be from 1972 at an American college in Bolivia. Even if (as I assume) this is meant in fun, it is quite intriguing that what is being acted out here is an English-style caning, rather than a US-style paddling.
BRAZIL: Slave CP
Corpun file 22285
This contemporary engraving is captioned in French, "L'exécution de la punition du fouet" (Carrying out the punishment of whipping), but it is said to depict an event in Brazil. The slave's posterior has been bared for punishment. The instrument appears to be something akin to a cat-o'-five-tails. Other slaves, at left in chains and guarded by soldiers, are perhaps waiting their turn to be disciplined. In the background are the audience, presumably the bourgeoisie, in their hats and fine clothes.
This is said to be from The Story of My Life by Mary Ashton Rice Livermore (Hartford CT, 1897). It is remarkably similar to the previous item as far as the modus operandi is concerned, the slave being tied to a post with his buttocks bared. Note the spare whips on top of the post.
CANADA: School CP
Corpun file 14782
Recipients' names on a paddle. This one is interesting in that it comes from Canada, not generally known for school paddling, the strap being the usual instrument there, at any rate in public schools. It appeared on a web page about the demolition of Richmond High School in Vancouver, and was captioned "The crazy paddle they used in the 50s", though this was apparently as well as, rather than instead of, the strap.
Corpun file 20708
A school punishment strap on display in the museum at Melfort, Saskatchewan. This looks as if it is probably made of leather, whereas more recent ones tended to be made of rubber and canvas, as in these pictures.
Corpun file 21946
This newspaper advertisement, evidently for a stationers, shows that the "Regulation strap especially prepared for school requirements" in rubber and canvas was available in 1919 for 25 cents.
Corpun file 21876
Claiming to be from Alberta in 1978, this picture is obviously posed but it has had appended to it a few lines from a punishment book (five strappings in three days) which may or may not be genuine.
CHINA: School CP
Corpun file 21418
From a Korean news site (Aug 2006), but the picture is from China, where in the summer vacation parents apparently send their young lads to tough private training schools for military discipline, including whippings on the back.
Corpun file 23257
Punishment at Shaolin martial arts academy, allegedly. For possible explanation see this video clip.
CUBA: Slave CP
Corpun file 17355
This appeared on a Unesco web page about slavery. The date given is 1868 and the picture is credited to Harper's Weekly in the US Library of Congress. It appears that the slave is being held down on a horizontal frame or ladder. It may be that his trousers have been pulled down ready for a whipping on his bare buttocks, but it looks as if he may already have been whipped on his upper back too.
DENMARK: School CP
Corpun file 23694
From a website in Danish about N.J. fjordsgades skole, a secondary school in Århus, this is claimed to be the result of a caning at the school in the 1950s. School CP was not abolished in Denmark (outside the capital) until 1967. See Country files.
FRANCE: School CP
Corpun file 24187
This, entitled by one picture agency "Illustration of a Teacher Spanking a Student", is claimed to date from 1886 and to have appeared in a Paris magazine called La Jeunesse Illustrée. There are two problems with this: first, La Jeunesse Illustrée was not published until 1903, according to French Wikipedia; second, schools in France are supposed to have stopped using CP in the 1870s. Anyway, the modus operandi depicted is quite impractical. In reality the teacher would surely find it much easier to sit down and spank the child over his knee. Note that another, older, boy and a girl have been ordered to face the wall. Perhaps they have already been spanked, or are about to be.
GERMANY: School CP
Corpun file 24204
Painting called "In the Village School" by Hubert Salentin (1822-1910). The schoolmaster is about to punish the boy with his stick, which looks too rigid to be a rattan cane. The student has tried to conceal his slate up the back of his shirt, and not down the back of his trousers, which seems odd.
Corpun file 23450
This drawing from an 1867 article in American Educational Monthly supposedly represents the one day a year when, by tradition, German schoolboys were permitted to get back at their schoolmasters with their own birches and switches.
Corpun file 19427
Scene from a play, captioned "Prügel in der Schule" (corporal punishment in school). This is somewhat unrealistic. It is a common error, in modern re-enactments or drawings, to suppose that a caning could properly be administered with the culprit in an over-the-knee position. In reality, the person inflicting the punishment has to stand back from the target in order to have room for an effective swing of the cane.
Corpun file 12559
This is from a "school museum" in Germany. Present-day kids visit it to see what school used to be like in the old days. The lucky ones get a chance to be caned!
Corpun file 17122
Another "school museum" -- or possibly the same one. This is Schlossbergschule in Landsberg (Bavaria). The caption reads "You can see how the teacher hits a pupil with a stick on his back", but the stick is much too big and thick, and "back" seems likely to be a mistranslation or a euphemism: as far as I am aware, such classroom punishment was always delivered to the seat of the boy's trousers.
Corpun file 23690
This one is at Sulzbach-Rosenberg in Bavaria and is supposed to represent the situation in 1875, when a "hazel rod" was used for punishment, according to this 2008 article in German. Of course, in 1875 the schoolmaster would not have had to contend with students wearing jeans not pulled up properly.
Corpun file 24185
This is the Bauernhofmuseum in Illerbeuren, Bavaria. Here, neither the "teacher" nor the "student" seem to have quite got the hang of this corporal punishment business.
Corpun file 20853
A student is stretched across a bench for a strapping by the master in this old German print, which has been reproduced in numerous places.
Corpun file 22946
This picture, presumably posed, purports to show punishment over a boy's trousers with a carpet-beater, here seen sideways on. Despite the title meaning "the school", such an implement would seem more appropriate to a domestic than to a school setting. In any event, the thing is surely too big to be able to be administered in the close-up manner shown, other than as a joke.
Corpun file 23289
I have seen this painting before somewhere but cannot remember where. It looks to be from Germany between the wars -- it has a Weimar Republic look about it -- and shows a schoolmaster holding a whippy rattan behind his back as he lectures four naughty boys, who look sorry for themselves. Are they about to get the cane or have they just had it? The boy on the right is already holding his bottom. Contrary to popular myth, school corporal punishment was never abolished in Weimar Germany, as discussed here.
Corpun file 14963
Though found on sale in Scotland, this instrument turns out to be probably a German "Peitsche", somewhat resembling the French martinet. A German reader suggests that, more specifically, it is a "Klopfpeitsche" or "beating whip", notionally for beating the dust out of uniforms, but also used for punishment in the compulsory "Reichsarbeitsdinst", a "kind of political bootcamp" in the Nazi era.
GHANA: School CP
Corpun file 18962
These are claimed to be canes for use in schools in Ghana. They do look as if they might be punishment canes: they seem to be the right sort of length, though perhaps a bit on the thick side. Whether it is really believable that a photographer would happen upon so many of them in one place is perhaps open to question.
Corpun file 11581
This picture is from a junior secondary school in Ghana, and comes from a website in which pupils there were asked to document what they dislike about the school. It illustrates item 1 in their list -- "We don't like it when the teacher canes us". The student being caned in this case is a girl. Impossible to tell whether it is posed or "the real thing", but it looks authentic enough, and from the context it can be deduced that caning is a more or less daily occurrence. At least it is clear that the treatment here is being applied with care and a degree of precision across the offender's seat and only the seat, which is by no means always the case in Africa. Contrary to some reports, CP is still legal in Ghanaian schools.
INDONESIA: Domestic CP
Corpun file 24085
Cover of a recent Indonesian book for parents on how to punish their kids. The scene illustrated looks peculiarly draconian and formalised for parental CP, and indeed I'm told the text does not support the hard line implied by the cover but is actually rather "modern Western-style" in tone, with spanking somewhat frowned upon.
IRAN: Employee CP (?)
Corpun file 14766
From an online photo album about Persia (now Iran) between 1870 and 1930, this is captioned "Administering discipline by bastinado at the rashti-duzi workshop, needlework, Rasht ca. 1880". Rasht is the capital city of Gilan province. Caning the soles of the feet, rather than the safe place provided by nature, is in my view a very perverse, inhumane and dangerous punishment. It requires two helpers to hold the feet up with a bar, as shown here.
ISRAEL: Religious CP
Corpun file 20821
Agency photo (2007) captioned: An ultra-orthodox Rabbi whips a Jewish boy with a leather strap as symbolic punishment for his sins during the traditional Malkot ceremony in Jerusalem.
JAPAN: School CP
Corpun file 23807
A young man bending to receive discipline at the Japan Bicycle Racing School in Shuzenji. Note the appreciative audience. See this video clip.
Corpun file 22995
This picture of punishment with the kendo sword is from the same establishment as that illustrated in this magazine article and this one as well as this picture. Those are all from the 1970s; we don't know whether this one is from the same era or a bit more recent, but it is known that the school closed quite a while ago when Mr Watanabe died.
Corpun file 22993
Here we seem to be in a more ordinary kind of school than the above, but the use of a kendo sword is the same. However, the "hands on the wall" method is being used instead of the "bending over" position. The picture looks as if it may be more recent than those we know to be from Mr Watanabe's establishment. Formal CP seems to be very rare in ordinary schools in Japan these days, having been outlawed for more than 60 years, and it may be that this is a posed picture rather than "the real thing".
Corpun file 23847
At this Tokyo sports school for youngsters, recalcitrant students are liable to receive "One Whack for Encouragement" administered, once again, with a kendo sword, according to this page in Japanese.
Corpun file 22994
The US flag notwithstanding, this is claimed to be a martial arts lesson in Japan. We do not know whether this is a "real" punishment, or an initiation ceremony, or just a picture posed for fun.
Corpun file 22732
Japan is one of few countries outside the USA where baseball is very popular. I am not at all certain this picture has anything to do with CP. The main clue that it might do comes from the player at far left, who is clutching his buttocks as though he has just been whacked with the bat.
KENYA: School CP
Corpun file 22797
Jocular re-enactment of a school caning, with the student adopting the "hands on seat of chair" posture and the teacher embracing the task with undue enthusiasm. "Kiboko" means the cane in several African countries. In Kenya it was banned in 2001, in theory.
LIBERIA: School CP
Corpun file 22563
From the Calvary Chapel Mission School in Liberia, this picture was taken in January 2010. The ad hoc nature of the modus operandi is typically African.
MALAYSIA: School CP
Corpun file 24325
From St John's Institution, a well-known boys' secondary school in Kuala Lumpur, comes this Jan 2013 picture. Corporal punishment is a mainstay of the regime. Students line up to be disciplined upon arriving late for school in the morning. The fellows in dark suits are prefects; one of them is smiling at the photographer. The master holding the cane (in shirt sleeves with wristwatch) is partly obscured in this view by the boy who has just been caned (right foreground). The next recipient, on the left of the picture, is walking forward to receive his dose. See also these external links.
Corpun file 24206
The sign says "Bilik disiplin" (discipline room). The jolly fellow on the right is the "guru disiplin" (discipline master) holding his cane, which has been taped at both ends. I think this is from a secondary school.
Corpun file 22992
A classic "hands on the desk" caning under way in a Malaysian secondary classroom in 2009. The teacher is taking careful aim at the boy's rear end.
Corpun file 23844
Corpun file 23662
A 15-year-old boy shows the results of being caned at school in 2011. His friend put the photo on a blog. He got two strokes; one of them landed a bit too high, the other was perfectly aimed.
Corpun file 21435
From Kosmo Online (May 2009), a father points to a caning weal on his 15-year-old son's thigh, presumably complaining that the teacher who punished him had a poor aim.
Corpun file 21330
A Malaysian secondary school orientation class. This is not the real thing, as it appears at first glance, but a demonstration for new first-year students to show what will happen to them if they misbehave. The Powerpoint presentation projected on the wall lists, I think, the names of the seven teachers empowered to cane in 2009.
NEW ZEALAND: School CP
Corpun file 23684
This posed newspaper photograph shows a young student touching his toes while a teacher wields a unfeasibly long cane. It appeared in the Wellington Evening Post on 2 March 1981 to illustrate, somewhat irrelevantly, a slightly muddled "kids' page" article asking readers if they approved of judicial (not school) corporal punishment, headlined "Birching: where do you stand?". In fact, anecdotal evidence suggests that "hands on knees" was the more normal posture for a school caning in New Zealand -- for instance at Rongotai College, where principal Noel Mackay carried out his "caning aerodynamics video" experiment later that same year and notwithstanding the inaccurate reference to "touch toes" in the feeble cartoon in the same newspaper on 19 October (further down same page).
NIGERIA: School CP
Corpun file 24188
A boy and a girl being caned at Ojora Memorial Senior Secondary School, Tolu Complex, Lagos, in 2010. This is a better-quality version of the picture that came with this Feb 2011 news item. The random and inefficient "lying flat on the ground" position is typically African.
RUSSIA: Domestic CP
Corpun file 20554
In what is clearly an upper-class home, two servants hold down a miscreant youth on the settee while his mother, or perhaps it is a governess, punishes him with the birch. Painting on show at the Kaluga Art Museum.
RUSSIA: Medical CP
Corpun file 20555
Picture from a Russian magazine, title and date unknown. I presume that it is supposed to illustrate this March 2005 news story about a supposed discovery by Russian scientists that "a beating on the buttocks with a strong cane is the perfect way to cure everything from depression to alcoholism". However, the photo is clearly posed. Apart from anything else, the implement depicted here is some sort of birch, rather than a "strong cane". Furthermore, you can't use a birch over a person's trousers. So it's probably all a bit of tabloid nonsense.
SINGAPORE: School CP
Corpun file 24205a
Fuzzy mobile phone picture taking during the delivery of CP to three 15-year-olds for smoking at Hillgrove Secondary School in July 2008, which took place in front of the whole student body, and a computer-generated artist's impression of it which makes more clear what is to be seen in the photo. For other pictures from the same caning session, see the left-hand side of this article about Singapore schoolboy caning.
Corpun file 24205b
Uses computer graphics software to view the same scene from different angles. Here the "bending over with hands on seat of chair" position is seen, as used by some Singapore schools; others require "hands on the desk" or "elbows on the desk", as seen in some of these video clips. Note: the clothing is not supposed to be correct. School uniform is compulsory in Singapore, and jeans are certainly not allowed.
Caught on a student's surreptitious mobile phone in Sep 2007, this partly obscured view is from a neighbourhood secondary school. A student is receiving a caning on his backside from the Discipline Master as he bends over a bench in the corridor outside the school office. This kind of punishment (for boys only) is routine in many Singapore schools.
Another neighbourhood secondary school. At this one, "class caning" is the normal punishment -- where the student is disciplined in his own classroom in front of his classmates. This scene (Jan 2007) is a little blurred, but it looks as if the Discipline Master is getting the boy to bend lower across the desk before inflicting the strokes. This is a secondary 3 class (normally the year in which students turn 15). For more real Singapore school canings, see these video clips.
Corpun file 17822
A recently-left secondary school student revisits her old school and takes a picture of the courtyard. "This is where we used to stand and sing the national anthem, say the pledge, and watch bad boys get caned." Several Singapore schools hold their assemblies outdoors and conduct so-called public canings there.
SOUTH AFRICA: School CP
Corpun file 22070
A student in traditional school uniform bends over for a caning. Presumably this photograph is posed, but the positioning looks very authentic, unlike many attempts to reproduce such scenes (usually the master is placed much too close to the culprit).
Corpun file 22898
An example of the most common, though by no means universal, punishment position in present-day South Korean schools.
Corpun file 22905
Two boys undergoing a caning at the front of their mixed class.
Corpun file 23140
The rod being used in this Nov 2009 scene is too thick and rigid to be called a cane in the British sense. The teacher is wielding it with both hands, which would be both impractical and unnecessary with a flexible rattan cane.
Corpun file 23611
Another example of the all-fours position in use at a South Korean secondary school. It seems to be common for several offenders to be made to take up this position in a line, sometimes outside in the school yard where passers-by can watch. Here, a staff member goes along the line disciplining each student across the seat of the grey uniform trousers with a baseball bat.
Corpun file 23465
A senior student is being caned at the school gatehouse, so perhaps this was for arriving late. It looks as if the student walking away on the left of the picture has perhaps just been caned, while two others await their turn. The master wields a long stick with both hands. The photo comes from a website for alumni of Seoul High School, and dates from a time (1960s?) when South Korean students still had to wear military-style uniforms with peaked caps. Note the position adopted by the recipient here is simply standing up straight, which seems to be unusual nowadays in South Korea.
Corpun file 20892
Painting c.1780 by Francisco de Goya y Lucientes, now on display at the museum in Zaragoza. A student is hoisted on the back of another for a pants-down whipping in the schoolroom. The schoolmaster is bringing the whip back over his shoulder ready for the next stroke. A third student holds up the offender's shirt to expose the bare buttocks to the whip. On the right, two other students who have already been punished are rearranging their clothes and crying.
TAIWAN: School CP
Corpun file 10902
The caption to this undated agency picture reads "Students lean their legs on the teacher's desk whilst reciting an academic lesson during a lesson [sic] in Taiwan". Why they should be doing so is not explained, but anyway the teacher seems to threatening to beat them with his paddle.
Corpun file 17387
Picture posted to a Chinese website in December 2004. Allegedly taken through a classroom window at Fu-an middle school in Taipei, it is said to show substitute teacher Ms Zhao Hsing hitting a line of students on the palm of the hand with a paddle 60cm long and 5cm wide. The authorities were said to be investigating, following complaints. For a clearer example of a classroom paddling in Taiwan being captured on a cameraphone, see this Oct 2005 video clip.
Corpun file 22899
There was also a culture of British-style caning across the backside in Taiwan (school CP was banned in 2006), and -- as with Thailand and Vietnam -- we do not know where it came from. This fuzzy photograph looks as if it was snatched surreptitiously by a classmate as a boy adopts the "hands on the desk" posture for punishment while the lady teacher lifts the tail of his shirt a little clear of the seat of his trousers. A second student awaits his turn.
Corpun file 22989
Another "hands on the desk" caning under way in a Taiwanese classroom. Notice how far away from the recipient the administering teacher has to stand in real life to get a suitable swing, unlike the way canings are often portrayed in fictional films and posed pictures.
TANZANIA: School CP
Corpun file 18396
Girls line up for school assembly in Tanzania (2004). In the doorway stands a teacher with a cane. Corporal punishment is legal, and head teachers are empowered to administer up to four strokes at a time.
Corpun file 24480
A senior student bends over in "touch toes" mode for a caning from the lady teacher. Two views.
THAILAND: School CP
Corpun file 20192
A student receives corporal punishment in the school office. The classic position for undergoing a school caning in Thailand is standing up straight, either with hands on the wall, as here, or with arms folded, as in this video clip. Either way, the punishment is applied to the seat of the shorts. The boy on the right may be waiting his turn, or perhaps he has already had it and is now holding his painful bottom. These rather baggy brown school shorts are quite a common sight in Bangkok.
Corpun file 9081
This is said to have appeared in 1998. The boy is showing marks on his bottom. It looks as if his father is complaining about a school caning. A reader has kindly procured from a Thai speaker the following rough translation: "Mr Jirawat's student at Trad School was punished by teacher because he did not sit still in class. Teacher whipped him with a cane because he can't follow instructor and did not have discipline in class. The parent reported to the Police on Sept. 18." Presumably for a little while after this the boy would have been even less inclined to "sit still in class", or anywhere else for that matter. The accuracy of the teacher's aim is certainly to be commended.
Corpun file 22431
Twelve years later, an almost identical scene to the above. In the intervening years, CP has theoretically been banned in Thai schools. The boy in this case is said to be 13.
Corpun file 22493
From a blog (July 2010) by a Western visiting teacher, who says that these members of the school scout troop were being punished for losing their scout hats. "Each boy came forward in turn, Wai'd [bowed to] the Scout Leader and prostrated himself on the ground and he was given one stroke of the cane; a few received two strokes. Punishment given, each boy got to his feet and Wai'd again in almost one swift movement and dashed off rubbing his bottom and, this being Thailand, smiling."
UGANDA: School CP
Corpun file 15559
From a book, Schooling in Uganda Through Children's Eyes . It consists of photographs taken by school students in Kampala. This picture is entitled "Discipline" and subtitled "They beat you with a stick". Evidently the boys are queuing up for a caning on their bottoms, but some of them are not taking it terribly seriously.
A school prefect stands in morning assembly, holding his switch behind his back ready for use on any recalcitrant juniors. Taken in 2009 at Kyamulinga.
Corpun file 22098
An ancient English tradition, once common but now more or less extinct, partly because of ludicrous "political correctness" -- see this Sep 2004 news item. The intention was to impress on youngsters where the parish boundaries lay, each generation thus passing this knowledge down to the next. The date and source of these examples are unknown but to me they have a c.1930s look. Note mediaeval costume worn by some of the onlookers, possibly members of the local church choir.
UNITED KINGDOM: Military CP
The information and the picture that were here have been transferred to the Corporal punishment in the British Army page.
UNITED KINGDOM: School CP
Corpun file 24406
Pictures (c.1979) from open day at Sheldon School, then as now a large comprehensive in Chippenham, Wiltshire. To raise money for charity, students offered to receive a caning, presumably with sponsors agreeing to pay up a given amount per stroke received. It is likely, but not certain, that the school was still using CP in real life at this point, having not long before been a boys' grammar school.
Corpun file 23774
Photo on the cover of the June 1937 issue of Play Pictorial shows Frederick Leister as Donkin (master) and Tony Wickham as Bimbo Faringdon (boy) in the caning scene from Ian Hay's play, "Housemaster". Hay's stage directions precisely describe this somewhat unusual modus operandi whereby two chairs are placed back to back. The recipient kneels on one of them (on a book if necessary, as here) and reaches over to place his hands on the seat of the other chair. This position was also accurately reproduced when the play was made into a film in 1938. Hay himself had been educated at Fettes College in Edinburgh in the early 1890s, but his model for the school in "Housemaster" is said to have been Durham School, where he taught from about 1902 to 1906. In this picture, as so often in imagined or posed caning scenes, the master is standing too close to the boy and much too far forward.
Corpun file 24064
"Misery", an etching by John Augustus Adamson, 1807, illustrates the technique of "horsing", where the student to be punished is hauled up on the back of another person. For a 20th-century version of the method, see this artist's impression.
Corpun file 23691
Gouache for the children's educational magazine Look and Learn (1968) by Peter Jackson. A 16th-century schoolboy bends over a stool to be birched. As usual, the illustration is inaccurate: in reality, he would have had to bare his posterior.
Corpun file 24298
A probably more realistic view of mediaeval or maybe Tudor schoolroom CP comes in this (contemporary?) woodcut. A birching is under way at left, with the culprit being held down over a bench, his nether garments lowered to expose the buttocks. His hands are being held out of the way. The other schoolmaster, at right, is also holding a birch, and there is yet a third birch on the floor behind his chair.
Corpun file 23692
Another Look and Learn artist's impression; I am not sure what period of history this is supposed to represent. Once again, we have the nonsense of the birch shown as being applied over trousers, giving a quite false impression.
Corpun file 23693
Also from Look and Learn. Illustrator C.L. Doughty imagines William Shakespeare being ordered by his schoolmaster to bend over for a birching. We know that the teenage Shakespeare attended his local grammar school in Stratford-on-Avon in the late 1570s, but I do not think we really know whether he was birched there, nor do we have any idea what he looked like as a boy.
Corpun file 20879
Photograph for LIFE magazine in 1951 by Cornell Capa. Winchester is one of England's ancient elite private boys' boarding schools. The original caption reads: "Senior Roger James, standing in hall with a bamboo stick waiting to beat Junior". This is a very common misconception: in reality, bamboo is much too stiff and brittle for this purpose. Punishment canes have usually been made of rattan or something similarly flexible. There used to be a tradition at Winchester that the canes were made from branches of the ash tree and were applied, bizarrely, to the small of the back rather than the buttocks, but I don't think that was still the case in 1951.
Corpun file 21995
Allegedly found at a grammar school in Kent, this punishment cane is 33 inches long. The label (see close-up) shows that it comes from Felpham Bazaar in Bognor Regis, aka the Bognor Cane Company, prop. Eric Huntingdon -- see this April 1981 news item.
Corpun file 3903
This birch sticking out of a drawer is said to be at Westminster School in London. A reader who attended there in the 1950s now kindly informs me that this table was still in situ then, but the birches had been removed a few years earlier. By his time, only the cane was used. See also this Oct 1801 news item.
Corpun file 20734
Picture taken at the Eton College museum. The block lived in the Library, to which miscreants were summoned for a birching by the Head Master. The boy knelt on the step of the block, took his trousers down and reached over to the other side, with two "helpers" to hold up his shirt-tails, who could also hold the boy down if it proved necessary. I believe some observers claim that this block is a replica, and not the real thing, believed lost. Birching at Eton ended in about 1964.
Corpun file 22312
The same exhibit at the Eton museum, somewhat reorganised. Unfortunately the caption is not legible in either view.
Corpun file 21825
Early 20th-century postcards of, respectively, the Lower School with its own birching block, where younger boys would be birched by the Lower Master, and the Head Master's Room, aka Library, with the main birching block, for older students.
Corpun file 22924
Taken from virtually the same vantage point as the picture above left, in this one we can see that electric lights have been installed. Everything else is exactly the same except that the birching block has a birch standing ready for use.
Picture of the Head Master's Room, thought to be taken between 1860 and 1880. The birch appears quite different in design from the ones shown in the present-day museum.
Corpun file 20877
Photographs taken at Eton by Margaret Bourke-White for LIFE magazine at the beginning of World War 2. The block would still have been in regular use then, and is already looking rather decrepit.
Corpun file 21009
The Lower School birching block photographed at Eton for Time-Life by John Phillips in 1948.
Corpun file 21462
An old photograph, possibly from the 1940s or 1950s, showing the "library" of a particular House at Eton, not to be confused with the Head Master's library (see previous item). Senior boys of the House, here shown reading and working, had the power to summon offending members to this room for a ceremonial caning over trousers, usually known at Eton as a "beating". Note copious supply of canes hanging on the wall.
Corpun file 20012
This is a page from the punishment book of a school in Staffordshire, c.1920s. "Robbing graves - 6 strokes" is certainly an unusual entry!
Corpun file 3314
These are claimed to have been the results of prefect's punishments at King's School, Canterbury (incidentally the oldest school in England), in 1942. Did schoolboys really go around taking pictures of each others' buttocks in 1942? It seems a little unlikely. But they certainly are somebody's genuine caned bottoms, and show the "tramlines" left temporarily by a moderate school caning. It also illustrates the efficacity of the swishy rattan cane even through two layers of clothing, which is generally thought to be why it became the school punishment instrument of choice in Victorian England.
Corpun file 12160
Picture taken in a classroom at a boys' secondary school in South London, c.1970, and submitted to F.R. by the "culprit" himself, though he evidently has no recollection of the incident, and says he cannot even remember who the teacher is. While there was no lack of real CP at the school in question at the time, this particular event looks to me more jocular than serious. Firstly, if this was a real punishment the teacher would need to fold the boy's blazer back above his backside and get the boy to bend a bit tighter. Secondly, the teacher is wielding only a thin 12-inch ruler, which would not have much effect on a trousered bottom. Indeed, it would probably break on impact if you attempted to apply it with any vigour through the arm's-length arc shown. Thirdly, if a real whacking were under way, all eyes would be riveted to the action, but the only other boy in the picture is watching the cameraman! One reader suggests the photo was taken secretly, but I think the picture quality is too good for a hidden camera in that era. On balance I think it is most likely an end-of-term jape that the teacher was in on.
UNITED STATES: College CP
Corpun file 23755
The source and date of this small picture are unknown. From the clothing it looks as if it could be 1920s or 1930s. The fraternity is Alpha Sigma Delta, according to the Greek letters on the bungalow. The recipient is being held in a bent-over posture by two colleagues.
Corpun file 24314
A student is held bending over the porch railings while two others wield wooden planks, and a third some other implement the nature of which is unclear. I think this is probably posed for a joke. It seems unlikely that such huge "paddles" would be used seriously. From Simmons College in Abilene, Texas, which dates the picture to 1892-1925 (it is now Hardin-Simmons University).
Corpun file 12244
A junior at Texas A&M in 1982 forces a resigned grin as he obeys the order to "assume the position" for a bruising posterial encounter with an ax handle wielded by a 4th-year senior. There is an appreciative audience, apparently including casual passers-by and even their young children. Notice the young spectator at far left clutching his own backside, as though in sympathy, or maybe he's just had it, or perhaps he's next (cf. schoolboys in Japan unconsciously holding their bottoms as they queue up for a caning).
This procedure is described by my informant as "the traditional method of discipline at the university until the mid-1980s".
Corpun file 21053
Another picture of Texas A&M punishment (see previous item), but this one is said to date from 1919. The implement is much smaller.
Corpun file 20731
A museum display at The Citadel, the famous military academy in Charleston, South Carolina. The caption says "Freshmen were called Rats. The 'Palmetto Paddle' was used by the upperclassmen on the Rats to make them conform to The Citadel ways". It does not say when this went out of use.
UNITED STATES: Domestic CP
Corpun file 23833
Old photo, surely posed for amusement, showing a small boy bending over for maternal retribution by means of a short stick (rather ineffectual, I should have thought), while the bigger lad at left appears to have had his punishment already.
Corpun file 24422
Mom, sis and big brother (wielding broom) are all grinning at the camera while young John gets his spanking, in this obviously posed jokey photo from perhaps 1920.
Corpun file 24189
Sign outside the First Free Will Baptist Church in Northport, Alabama, c.2011.
Corpun file 22839a
It is not certain that this is a domestic rather than a school paddle, but the jocular inscription "Attitude Adjuster" suggests that it was not really intended for serious educational punishment.
This paddle comes from Midlothian, Virginia. I'm told it was specially made for family rather than school use.
Another domestic punishment paddle. This one is probably for joke purposes only. It comes with its own special display stand, and bears the message "Don't get behind with homework".
Corpun file 20996
Old cartoon shows crying boy holding his behind as he emerges from a room where he has evidently just been spanked.
Corpun file 19056
A cartoon showing what appears to be a multiple domestic whipping, source and date unknown.
Corpun file 19384
Double photograph meant for use in a stereoscopic viewer to give a 3-D effect. It is captioned "He protests vigorously" and dated 1902.
Corpun file 18763
Picture agency photo of a son's over-the-knee spanking. The agency caption is "Father punishing a child" and the date is estimated at 1915 to 1930. Obviously posed for jocular purposes.
Corpun file 21813
A domestic scene, plainly staged for jocular purposes, probably c.1930s, probably from a mainstream movie. Does anyone know which one?
Corpun file 16621
Agency picture dated "circa 1896" - presumably in America, though that is not stated. The stick the mother is using looks too small to be very effective.
Corpun file 6645
A US picture presumably posed for the purposes of the photograph. I first thought this an unusual technique, with the boy on all fours. However, several other pictures showing the recipient in this posture have now turned up (see next item). (It is also, by the way, the position that present-day students are often required to assume for school CP in South Korea.) The "shingle", which Webster defines as "a small thin piece of building material", appears to be for all practical purposes a makeshift paddle. The same picture has also appeared, with an 1897 copyright, as a stereoscopic double image for 3-D viewing, with the jokey title "Meeting of the board of education".
Corpun file 6644
Companion piece to the previous item, but this one is an over-the-knee paddling.
Corpun file 17035
The earlier "on all fours" item prompted a reader to send me this, just to show that such a position might not have been as unusual as I thought. The source and date are unknown, but from the look of it, I would say it predates colour photography, so the colour was probably added artificially. There also seems to be something a bit wrong with the perspective, but that might be because it was originally part of a stereoscopic double image for use in a 3-D viewer.
Corpun file 17775
Another picture remarkably similar to the previous one. This one is captioned "A special meeting of the board of education" and dated 1902.
Somebody has taken the above picture and turned it into this animated gif to bring the 3-D effect to life (NB. this file is 772 kilobytes).
A young boy is enthusiastically spanked by, presumably, his father. Possibly USA in the 1960s, to judge from the boy's clothes. This looks as if it could be a still from a film.
Corpun file 18963
Date and provenance unknown. The boy looks happy, perhaps because he visibly has some protection stuffed down the back of his shorts. The implement appears to be a table-tennis bat.
Corpun file 18948
This postcard dates from 1906. A cartoon of a domestic slippering, with typical punning title. I do not know what the significance of the black cat is. It is not an advertisement for Black Cat cigarettes, because they did not exist in 1906.
Corpun file 8724
A small boy gets an over-the-knee spanking, date unknown.
UNITED STATES: Judicial CP
Corpun file 16620
This intriguing agency photo, taken on 25 May 1938, was captioned "By Order of the Court. New York: Tom Bradley, 16, of 100 West 96th Street, pulled an emergency cord in a subway train; here's what the court told his mother to do as punishment -- and she did". Is this a re-enactment, perhaps posed at a pressman's request, or did the court really require a newspaper photographer to attend the punishment, in what looks like Mrs Bradley's own Manhattan home? It is rather mysterious. There is nothing about this case in the New York Times, the only NY paper whose archive I can currently access from here. Have we any readers in New York who can track this down? Please let me know.
UNITED STATES: Reformatory CP
Corpun file 14369
This came with a caption reading "Denver reform school scandal, straps used in flogging, 1941". I do not know what scandal is alluded to here - can anyone throw any light on this?
UNITED STATES: School CP
Corpun file 24815
From the 1968 yearbook of Hardaway High School. "Mr. Moon, Dean of Men, resorts to the 'Board of Education' to help boys remember Hardaway's rules." Jocular staged pictures of paddlings, being demonstrated by the teachers who administered them for real, quite commonly got printed in high-school yearbooks in those days.
Corpun file 24728
A mock simulation by a real teacher who did use the paddle in earnest at that period. "Students loved him, even if they had been on the receiving end of his board of education."
Corpun file 24186
A still from the formal paddling scene in the 1989 fictional film Dead Poets Society, set in an elite 1950s US boys' boarding school. In the film, this scene (which you can see on YouTube here or here ) is very poorly lit; this brightened-up screen grab enables us to see what is happening. The student (Gale Hansen), on being invited by the principal (Norman Lloyd) to "assume the position", stands far back from the desk, feet well apart, with his arms outstretched and his hands on the edge of the desk. This is quite different from the usual version of "hands on the desk", giving a tighter bend and a better presentation of the target area for punishment. It would be interesting to know where the film director (the Australian Peter Weir) got this concept from, and whether such a method was ever adopted in reality.
Corpun file 22950
This is posed, not the real thing. Ms Jungck was a student at Menomonie High School, Wisconsin, in 1905, and this photo appeared in the yearbook, imagining her future career as a schoolteacher. A boy bends over the back of a chair; she holds down his neck with her left hand and is about to discipline him across the buttocks with the cane or switch in her right hand. In reality, she would need to stand back somewhat from that position to get a proper swing.
Corpun file 24217
"Caroline Tolbert of Anderson holds a paddle used for corporal punishment when her father, Carroll F. "Frog" Reames, was principal of Boys High School in Anderson, South Carolina". See this Sep 2011 news item.
Corpun file 24304
Made to be hung on the classroom wall as an Awful Warning to students, this is from Alabama. Not that there isn't still plenty of real CP in some Alabama schools, but I don't think they usually allow paddles with holes nowadays.
Corpun file 22429
A paddle that was for sale on eBay. The seller thought it was at least 50 years old. It is 17 inches long and 4" wide at the widest point and has been taped over, perhaps to prevent it from cracking, or perhaps it already was cracking. The recipients' names are hard to see in this picture.
Corpun file 21061
This paddle turned up in a charity shop. My informant writes: "It would appear the big number represents the total number of swats -- for a year? a semester? -- administered altogether. The paddle itself is serially numbered. It seems the pupil counts from the last signature the number of swats administered to him and signs by the appropriate number. In this way, the last name on the list also indicated the total number of swats administered by all paddles in the series." So in a way the paddle incorporates its own punishment book. It has been photographed against a boot to give an idea of its size.
Here I have enlarged the picture, rotated it and turned up the brightness to make it easier to see the names and numbers. One student in this list got six swats, quite a few received only one, and the rest fall between those two extremes.
At least, I hope it is a joke. From the yearbook of a high school in Ohio, 1970.
This looks a lot more realistic, but still presumably not "the real thing" -- from Chattooga High School (Georgia) yearbook in 1965.
I think we can guess from the happy look on this boy's face that this "hands on the desk" scene was staged for the camera and that he was not being punished in real life; at least not on this particular occasion. From the 1982 yearbook of an unidentified US school.
Corpun file 22427
Two different versions of a pine paddle, 18 inches long, 3 in. wide, half an inch thick, vintage unknown. It comes from Tahquamenon Falls, Michigan, and is inscribed "Board of Correction for managing monsters, corralling cowboys, and walloping wolves". There is a small picture of a little boy and girl bent over for a swat. Probably originated as an advertising souvenir.
Corpun file 20717
A punishment paddle in an Oklahoma classroom, date unknown. Some names, presumably of recipients, have been written on it.
Corpun file 14801
Described as "a twelve-holed paddle used to spank school children", this undated item came from the webpage of a museum in Alaska that now seems to have gone.
Corpun file 3855
This maybe should have gone in my "CP in advertising" section, but in this case the paddle is itself the advertisement -- for the Chicago school furniture company named on it, who presumably distributed samples of this jokey "Board of education" free to schools. I am not sure whether it was of the right dimensions for serious CP use or whether it was just a sort of novelty toy item. My hunch would be the latter. The graphic design has a 1960s look about it.
Corpun file 19057
An over-the-knee paddling, source and date unknown.
Corpun file 19058
Said to be from a Catholic school - evidently in the chemistry lab. The holes are to reduce air resistance during the paddle's swing. Allegedly, "students that had a meeting with the 'board of education' three times in a semester got to sign the paddle", and indeed a number of signatures can be glimpsed if you look closely.
Corpun file 19797
Scene captioned "Master Crane dealing with the tardy Mr. Hans" from a play called Icabod at the Brewster Theater Company in New York State. I infer from the costumes that the play is set in the 19th century, before the paddle superseded the cane or switch in American schools.
Corpun file 17114
This American paddle is said to be from a school in Washington State around 1930. It is a rather unusual shape, crafted from a light springy wood, about 18 inches long and just under 4 inches wide at the broadest point, says the reader who possesses it. Some of its recipients have signed it - intriguingly, at least as many girls as boys. The names that can be deciphered include Kit Williams, Martha Bodine, Roy Satchwell, Bud Frolin, Esther Schumacher and Elden Cutler.
Corpun file 17366
Another school paddle on which the recipients have written their names. It comes from Mount Pleasant School in North Carolina, and dates from the 1940s or 1950s. What is interesting about this paddle, when you look at the picture of two chaps holding it up, is how small it is -- surely too small to have much effect. Several instances of the surname "Eller" can be seen, and the picture comes from a page that was on an Eller family website.
Corpun file 8727
The writing on the blackboard is in English and the clothes have an American look. They, and the sepia tones, perhaps suggest the early 20th century. Of course, it could be a clever reconstruction, possibly for a film.
Corpun file 8726
The owner of an original of this picture tells me that it is a postcard, definitely American, with the words UNION CENTER SCHOOL written on the back. (Unfortunately there are dozens of schools with this name in different US States.) He dates it from 1907 to 1915. The presence of three adults and two spectating students on the stage seems to indicate that this is not an ordinary classroom scene but rather an assembly of some sort. The implement being used looks like a stick, and too small to have much effect. The facial expressions don't convey any sense of a very sombre or serious occasion -- maybe this is a "birthday spanking"? My correspondent agrees that this is a likely explanation, but anyway he is sure the picture was taken in a real school and not on a film set.
Corpun file 16916
This is from Concord High School in Arkansas. Neither the school district's CP policy nor the school's student handbook was on line when I last looked, so whether the school really uses this paddle we do not know; obviously the picture is posed as a joke.
Corpun file 12523
This picture (larger size not available) is said to be from the 1977 Year Book of Calallen High School, Corpus Christi, Texas. In the 1960s and 1970s it was not unknown for photographs of apparent paddlings to appear in US school yearbooks. However, all the others I have seen were clearly posed for more or less jocular purposes. This one seems quite different and has a definite look of being "the real thing", perhaps furtively snatched sur le vif by a student who happened to be passing with a camera for some other purpose. Hence, among other things, the murky quality of the image. If I am right about this, we have here an extremely rare, possibly even unique, document of enormous historical value. Note the staff member acting as witness, who I think has possibly just spotted the intruder with the camera and is not quite sure what to do about it. The half-leaning, half-bending, hands-on-the-wall posture of the boy being punished ties in exactly with myriad anecdotal accounts of modern-day southern US school paddling. Doing it in the corridor seems to have been typical of the era, whereas nowadays these things, where they happen at all, are more often confined to the privacy of an office. The boy, in his very 1970s flares, looks as if he has just been given the traditional instruction to put his feet apart and stick his rear end out a bit -- or maybe he was a "regular customer" and didn't need to be told. It would be interesting to know what "discussions" took place later with the photographer, and how comfortable the school authorities were with the idea of including the picture in the yearbook.
Corpun file 6275
This is allegedly from a Kansas (USA) school in 1915, but I have no way of checking that. Note students peeking round the corner of the schoolhouse, giggling nervously. The scene was clearly posed for the photographer. Teacher is looking straight at the camera, holding the paddle still in the air. I don't think the boy is seriously being punished, though he is putting on quite a good wriggling act.
Corpun file 15973
The Class of 1971 from Lafayette High School, Lexington, Kentucky. On "student takeover day", this is Kenny Gullette getting a paddling from Luanne Azevedo.
Corpun file 15718
Picture in the Corbis collection dated 1906. Presumably from the USA. I think it was clearly posed for jocular effect.
UNITED STATES: Slave CP
Corpun file 24394
"Branded slave Wilson Chinn in irons", from the Library of Congress. A deeply shameful and shocking state of affairs. What is interesting for our purposes here is the paddle (with holes in it) on the floor at left.
UNITED STATES: Miscellaneous CP
Corpun file 19404
Probably from a sports team of some kind, this is an illustration of a spanking tunnel, sometimes confusingly called a "spanking machine". The person to be punished crawls along the "tunnel" made by the legs of the other members, and is spanked by each of them as he or she passes through.
Corpun file 3121
A stereoview card that was for sale on eBay. The seller titled it "Camp discipline? What kind of deal is this?". The man being paddled looks as if he could be much younger than the others, though it's hard to be sure. Presumably the picture is American, from the late 19th century (it has an "early days of photography" look about it) -- a reader suggests 1890s. Another reader, who claims personal experience of US hunting camps, suggests this sort of thing was not uncommon in the 1920s and not entirely unknown even more recently, though this picture is clearly much earlier. His view is that the event is probably not as jocular as it may appear and that the punishment could be a real (though obviously informal) one, but on the other hand it could be some sort of initiation ceremony. Either way, I haven't yet found any other corroboration of this tradition, if it is a tradition.
Corpun file 21808
From Lowrider Magazine, this shows the Bachelors LTD Car Club in East Los Angeles, apparently a mainly Latino organisation, carrying out disciplinary swats according to the club's rules (1970s). "Fines and swats were given to members when they ran afoul of the rules of the club. The wooden paddle could be used for a variety of reasons, such as letting a girlfriend drive a club car with the plaque displayed, or for acting irresponsibly at a party. [...] the wooden paddle became a very effective tool for keeping order".
Corpun file 22380
At a school museum, location unknown, a small boy is bending over to pretend to be caned in front of the class by the "teacher".
Corpun file 19610
From an unspecified Muslim country in North Africa. This appeared on an evangelist website devoted to converting the Third World to Christianity. So, clearly not an unbiased observer. The caption, for whose accuracy I cannot vouch, claimed: "These Muslim boys memorize the verses from the Koran written on their paddles. If they don't measure up they are spanked with the paddles."
Corpun file 14927
A little boy gets spanked by his lady teacher in front of the class. This tiny picture (the only size available) appeared in the Vienna paper Der Standard (2 November 2001) to illustrate a news item about the Liverpool Christian school that was trying to get the UK school CP ban overturned. However, my feeling is that the picture is not from Britain. Then again, nor are such things supposed to go on in Austria.
Corpun file 17473
This picture of a female student supposedly being rulered over the knuckles comes from a photography website (you can buy it for $195). It definitely looks posed rather than real.
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