Going back a bit earlier, I would tend to agree, J.R., although I am prepared to admit that time suffuses all in a glow of fond remembrance. I was shocked, however, to read Norman Longmate's views in the Shaping Season (see an earlier topic - viewtopic.php?p=13477&highlight=longmate#13477) - many of his teachers were those of my years too, and he is in no doubt that a significant minority were sadists and bullies.J.R. wrote: ... but I honestly cannot recall ANY teacher that I would term a sadist or a bully.
One factor common to what can now be identified as the serious sadists on the staff, was that nothing but bare flesh would satisfy them. .....While normal (sic) masters would order a boy to change into his flimsy games shorts before attending for a beating, the real enthusiasts required him to turn up in school uniform, and then to remove his coat, lower his breeches and underpants, and bend forward, usually over a chair, with shirt tail flung up over his back, leaving his bare bottom exposed.
All these preliminaries had the effect of of prolonging the master's anticipatory pleasure ....... It was the practice of one master to circle round his victim at this point, cane in hand, until, unnerved by the scrutiny of his exposed genitals, the boy began to become physically aroused. The beater would thereupon, with evident pleasure, begin the prescribed punishment.
Longmate goes on to describe the various tecniques in detail of different masters in administering corporal punishment, but reserves a specially lurid five pages for the then Head of Classics, who he suggests might well have been the leader of a little group of sadists meeting in the Common Room to discuss their shared interests.
What astonishes me about all this, is that I can only recall one "whacking" incident - by Noel "Sam" Sargent - I know, that on that occasion, I simply refused to "bend over" and walked out of his classroom. I was reported to Arthur Rider - my housemaster - who certainly lectured and then probably caned me. If so, it was one of very, very few times I received corporal punishment while at CH.
Yet Longmate's recall of trivial factual details is fascinating and certainly accurate; it is only when he writes of those things he really detested at Housie that his experience seems totally at odds with mine. Were it not that there are others (such as a former member of this forum who, sadly, posts no more) who have agreed with him, I would have dismissed his lengthy diatribes against institutional bullying as the revenge of one who was clearly a misfit at the school.
The different life experience of people living under the same rules and within the same environment poses interesting questions about responsibility. I know it is unfashionable and even potentially harmful to argue on these lines, but there is at least a part of me deep down that instinctively feels that even today, those (and they are mostly women at least as far as we the public are aware) who suffer really traumatic and often physical bullying may somehow radiate an aura which invites it. I expect an outcry from some forum members for even suggesting this, and I am really sorry if anyone is upset. However, I am trying to seek an answer to this problem of differing life experience, which, if there is one, may be of benefit to us all.