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School CP - August 1947
Daily Mirror, London, 29 August 1947
By Ronald Bedford
Britain has cut the imports of canes from abroad. One of the biggest educational supply associations in the country, which has ten thousand schools on its books, tells me that it hasn't a cane in stock.
I've been talking, however, to a man who can provide any amount of real schoolboy howlers for months to come.
He is twenty-six-year-old Eric A. Wildman, of "Louvain," Blackhorse-lane, Walthamstow, London, E.17, of the Corpun Educational Supply Company. It doesn't need a genius to work out the meaning behind the "Corpun" part.
Mr. Wildman has sold 1,500 pliant canes in the last six months. He has a thousand finished canes in stock today, and raw supplies to last another six months.
Mr. Wildman has a wide selection of canes. You can have the Koo Boo Processed Corporal Punishment Cane --"a pliant reliable cane," he calls it -- for 20s. a dozen.
Or you can take delivery of the Three Star Selected Cane. This is "Flaw free, a 36-inch cane with glace cord grip handle and loop in five colours -- green, white, yellow, red or blue -- of exceptional quality" at three for 10s. 6d.
Nice, cheerful colours, aren't they?
MR. WILDMAN supplies canes, punishment straps, wooden spanking paddles and birch rods to boarding schools, council schools, religious schools, Army educational establishments, training ships, governesses and individual parents all over Britain.
And -- I almost forgot to tell you -- he has another natty line. It should get you all warmed up to hear about it. It's the Special Twelve-Inch Spanking Tawse, with two, three or four tails, cut from "medium weight, supple, oily leather."
Business is going along in spanking style, says Mr. Wildman.
His export department does a good trade, too, warming white, black and brown seats with equal impartiality in Uganda, Malaya, Palestine and Persia. In all, he has 300 schools on his books
"I guarantee my canes not to break with fair wear," he says. "If they fail to give satisfaction, I exchange them." The term "satisfaction" is not elaborated by Mr. Wildman.
THE life of a cane, he says, depends on the number of times it is used. "I get repeat orders from some schools," he told me, "every four or six months, they all say they are highly satisfied with the quality of the canes."
I asked Mr. Wildman -- he is married, by the way -- how punishment SHOULD be given. Here is his answer: "I am a tutor," he said, "and I deprecate the use of the cane on anyone's hand. It is caning bone, and does more harm than good. The bottom, however, was made for whipping. It is not a dangerous practice. And a caning does a girl as much good as it does a boy."
"TO beat or not to beat" has been a controversial issue for generations. According to the Bible, "He that spareth his rod hateth his son."
Today, many opponents of caning support the Committee for the ABOLITION of Corporal Punishment In Schools. Their offices are at Parliament Mansions, Abbey Orchard-street, London, S.W.1.
Their secretary, Mrs. Edith Lloyd, told me: "The country does not want its children caned for things so natural to childhood as talking, laughing, inattention, and unpunctuality.
"Some offences, such as bullying and cruelty, are so serious that they must be met by methods less crude than that of corporal punishment, which, in the case of bullying, actually creates the bully.
"No one who has our knowledge of the results of corporal punishment -- gathered from long, personal experience in schools -- can doubt that, whether carried out by cane or birch, it is always harmful."
The other point of view is held by the National Society for the RETENTION of Corporal Punishment in Schools. Mr. Wildman is behind it.
To allegations that he put forward the idea to boost his cane-selling business, he says "I make no profit out of Corpun. I formed it because I was aware of the need for such an organisation.
"I am forming the society for the same reason. It will take over Corpun and continue to supply canes on a non-profit-making basis.
"We want to see the cane, instead of the birch, used in the police court. The birch tends to make a hero of the boy receiving it. Punishment with a cane -- with the boy over the knee -- would not make him anything like a hero."
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