Horsham beatings - how some suffered while others did not

Share your memories and stories from your days at school, and find out the truth behind the rumours....Remember the teachers and pupils, tell us who you remember and why...

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DavebytheSea
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Post by DavebytheSea » Tue Nov 28, 2006 2:57 pm

Your description of a beating fits my own (very limited!) experience. What I wrote (italicised in blue) is the experience of others already in the public domain.

My years in Prep B 47-49 were under the housemastership of G.W. ("Great Whacker") Pink with Eagle (a rare married housemaster living in the attached house) as his then second in command. In the Prep houses, (though not then in the senior school), there was a number three - I think his name was Keep. He certainly used to slipper boys as did various members of the Prep teaching staff including the organist, Mr Dore, who came to teach us singing in the dayroom and rather amusingly administered a ping-pong bat to those who were tone-deaf and whom he nick-named "crows". Mr Eagle, I seem to remember, most unusually did not administer corporal punishment.

The point I was trying to make in my earlier postings is that Hertford was not alone in having bullies among the houseparenting staff and also that everyone's experience seems to be inexplicably different. Even in the same house with the same houseparent, pupils of the same era report a different experience. Those who tell of the worst atrocities are accused by others of exaggeration, while those who can only claim to have hearsay evidence are regarded as burying their heads in the sand.

In her annotation of her husband's book (reviewed in the Old Blue and the current edition of the Blue), Penelope Warner refers to Middleton B's punishment book containing the records of Warner's beatings. By a curious twist of fate, his housemaster, Edward Malins, who had flogged Warner, later became his student first at Cambridge and then at Oxford.
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Post by Liz Jay » Tue Nov 28, 2006 3:00 pm

Hi Dave

It's all about boundaries and "boundary invasions".

All children, and many adults, have weak or incomplete boundaries, and the bullies sniff out the soft targets at some instinctive level.

Caroline Myss writes extensively about boundaries in her book "Anatomy of the Spirit", and in another book "Sacred Contracts" she details the human archetypes, which include the Bully and the Victim among others. A fascinating read.

BTW it is possible to "work on your boundaries" to improve them. If you have difficulty saying "no" or always get the nutter next to you on the bus, you could well need to strengthen them (which of course isn't the same thing as becoming a Bully yourself!)

Easy to tell I've been there and got the T-shirt !!!!

Love
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Post by J.R. » Tue Nov 28, 2006 3:09 pm

This thread has certainly gathered some serious comment and interest, so lets ask those in power within the CHA, namely John H. and RR. to request the School authorities what actually happend to the House punishments books from the time of corporal punishment.

I now have a truly wetted appetite and would like to see some of the entries published, obviously minus names of recipients of punishment.

Incidently Dave, I'm sure you are aware that flogging in prisons only ceased during the time we are discussing.

This punishment was far more brutal than school beatings, along the lines of naval punishment during Lord Nelson's time and could only be halted on the word of a prison doctor.

I think birching in the Channel Islands and the Isle of Mann ceased only in the late 60's.
John Rutley. Prep B & Coleridge B. 1958-1963.

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Post by DavebytheSea » Tue Nov 28, 2006 3:21 pm

Thanks Liz!

So it is as I thought. While it can never justify the bully or his behaviour, the victim does, albeit unfairly and unwittingly, bear some of the responsibility for what happens. Inevitably, therefore, his (or her) experience will be different to that of others at least to some degree; he will write - as Longmate does - of experiences which I never would have thought possible and which, some would argue, were commonplace at Housie even in my years there.

I suddenly feel very proud of my son, Oliver who sat at lunch between James Hooper (he of Everest fame) and the small son of Mike King [Prep B/Ba B/La B 63-68]. None of the three had ever met, but were far and away the youngest of those present. Young Stuart King asked Oliver what secondary school was really like as he had heard of various initiation ceremonies and was dreading the transition next September. Oliver apparently replied that secondary school was much better in every way except that having been the biggest you were suddenly the smallest. As for bullying, the answer was simple - work hard at making friends for those with friends are safe. I was even more proud to hear that a teacher at Oliver's new school - failing to get in to CH at 13 he was slotted into the third year at Truro School - report to Judith that she had seen Oliver in the lunch break approach a "loner" who had suffered without friends for two years and draw him into his circle. Oliver has never been short of friends and, to my knowledge has never been bullied except by the headmistress of a previous school.

So maybe that's it. I had friends in the choir (even if only a few in the house) and was thus sufficiently confident not to be vulnerable. Longmate, by his own admission, was something of a loner.

( ..... and I'll try not to write any more long posts on the girls' section - sorry!) :oops:
David Eastburn (Prep B and Mid A 1947-55)

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Post by Richard Ruck » Tue Nov 28, 2006 3:22 pm

J.R. wrote:This thread has certainly gathered some serious comment and interest, so lets ask those in power within the CHA, namely John H. and RR.
Don't forget Julian, DBTS and Kerren, and I think Kate has posted here once or twice as well (oh, and we're not 'in power' as such - we just have an advisory function)!

I would be amazed if these records were still around, but if they still exist one or two might end up in the school museum in years to come, I suppose. They could make fascinating reading for historians, though.
Ba.A / Mid. B 1972 - 1978

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Post by englishangel » Tue Nov 28, 2006 3:48 pm

J.R. wrote:David.

Your previous post leads me to believe that there must have been a major transformation between 1955 and 1958. A short period of three years, during which the Flecker era ended and the Clarence Seaman era began.

Beatings by Housemasters and Deputy Housemasters were common place, but NEVER administered in the manner you describe at the end of the 50's.

You were summoned to the relevant study, lectured, verbally punished and then told you were to be beaten and verbally told the number of strokes you were to receive, which COULD NOT EXCEED SIX. After removing your Housy coat, the master would then indicate where he wanted you to bend and touch your toes with your knees straight. Pick up the cane, which was usually already laid across his desk and walk behind you.

The only indication of the impending pain was the whistle as the cane cut through the air before making contact with the bottom.

N.T. Fryer would always have the punishment book on his desk which he would fill in after administering the punishment and in your presence.

I wonder what ever happened to those House punishment books ? They could make very interesting reading in this day and age, but I'm willing to bet they have all conveniently disappeared !!!

As far as the Prep houses were concerned, the cane was never used - At least not in Prep B under Mr Eagle. You gained points for being naughty and the punishment was a public gym-shoeing in the dorm before lights out after so many points had been accrued. I well remember one punishment in Prep B when Mr Eagle was going to 'slipper' a boy and as he raised his arm to strike, the boy in question scuttled forward still bent over and the blow missed. I burst out laughing, exclaiming, 'He's missed. He's missed !" Mr Eagle immediately awarded me one stroke of the slipper for being cheeky, which I took, stood up, turned and said, "Thank you Sir ! Very nice !"

I seriously think that was the point when my rebellious nature was instilled which Bogey Fryer could never come to terms with.

WOW ! What a long post for me, and almost serious !!

Incidently, I still believe in corporaland capital punishment.
I rest my case

He who lives by the sword.....
"If a man speaks, and there isn't a woman to hear him, is he still wrong?"

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Post by Mid A 15 » Tue Nov 28, 2006 5:51 pm

What a fascinating thread.

For what it is worth I think those who are (or perceived to be) different are more vulnerable to bullying than others which is what Liz has effectively said far more eloquently.

The staff abuse (for want of a better word) of pupils is possibly down to the greater respect for authority which prevailed many years ago.

A child would have been likely to receive short shrift had he or she complained about a teacher or housemaster in my or earlier days.

Abusers therefore had a free run effectively.
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Post by sejintenej » Tue Nov 28, 2006 8:52 pm

DavebytheSea wrote:Your description of a beating fits my own (very limited!) experience. What I wrote (italicised in blue) is the experience of others already in the public domain.

My years in Prep B 47-49 were under the housemastership of G.W. ("Great Whacker") Pink with Eagle (a rare married housemaster living in the attached house) as his then second in command. In the Prep houses, (though not then in the senior school), there was a number three - I think his name was Keep. He certainly used to slipper boys as did various members of the Prep teaching staff including the organist, Mr Dore, who came to teach us singing in the dayroom and rather amusingly administered a ping-pong bat to those who were tone-deaf and whom he nick-named "crows". Mr Eagle, I seem to remember, most unusually did not administer corporal punishment.

The point I was trying to make in my earlier postings is that Hertford was not alone in having bullies among the houseparenting staff and also that everyone's experience seems to be inexplicably different. Even in the same house with the same houseparent, pupils of the same era report a different experience. Those who tell of the worst atrocities are accused by others of exaggeration, while those who can only claim to have hearsay evidence are regarded as burying their heads in the sand.
JR was not too far off in his assessment of the methods of beatings. I remember one beating in Prep A because something happened; I couldn't breathe as a result of the blows and I passed out. That led to a lot of weird mumbo jumbo - I don't know to this day why I was beaten or what was said afterwards. (but see the mass session below).

Kit would use the slipper and the cane - I don't know how he decided which to use. The cane was pretty standard but he also used the victim's own house slipper which, of course had a hard sole and sharp edges. The "trial" was pretty one sided - on one occasion I was accused of an offence at a time when I could prove I was miles away but was not alowed to provide evidence, I was therefore beaten for claiming that B**** A was a liar and also for not doing what he alleged he had told me to do. OTOH there was at least one time when he had reason to give me a beating but didn't so I suppose it evened out.
I remember on another occasion, ripe from the Bax, Kit coming into the dayroom late one evening (when only house monitors were there) to boast that he had beaten his record - from memory it was 36 canes in one session.
On another occasion, the night before we went home there was a lot of running to and fro in the dorm after lights out. If it was Col A or Prep A I can't remember but every person in the dorm got 4 strokes straight off.

Mr Dore - I don't remember the ping pong bat being used - I do remember the indian club (we called it a baseball bat at the time) being inflicted. That hurt for weeks after and I still have the bumps on the bones.

JR: yes, I remember the end of birching in the Isle of Man; considered then a retrograde step and with hindsight I agree. I thought it ended later.
Mid A wrote:For what it is worth I think those who are (or perceived to be) different are more vulnerable to bullying than others which is what Liz has effectively said far more eloquently.

The staff abuse (for want of a better word) of pupils is possibly down to the greater respect for authority which prevailed many years ago.

A child would have been likely to receive short shrift had he or she complained about a teacher or housemaster in my or earlier days.

Abusers therefore had a free run effectively.
In my case I had come from the back of beyond where we spoke a dialect - London English was totally unintelligible unless it was written. Mr Jones knew this - he was grockle where I lived - but see above about his speaking mumbo jumbo.

There was far more abuse from other older boys and so far as I am aware, no attempt by staff to control it. Talking to pupils even in your own house who were not of your year was seen as suspicious unless there was a justifiable reason - as Trades Mon I could give warranted instructions or punishments but there the conversation stopped. Full Stop!

There was physical abuse; I was put in the infirmary with the results of a thorough battering by a Col A monitor and a group of his mates but was anything done about it? Certainly I had no protection against a repeat and I doubt if Kit actually did anything or reported it.

On the plus side, he did give me 5 minutes alone in his study after calling me in (I expected another beating) to tell me in about 6 words that my mother was dead.

BTW - who could you complain to about a teacher? Were they not God? Even after I was at CH priest teachers in Ireland were flogging pupils - occasionally to death - and being priests got away with it.
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Post by Richard Ruck » Wed Nov 29, 2006 11:39 am

sejintenej wrote: BTW - who could you complain to about a teacher? Were they not God? Even after I was at CH priest teachers in Ireland were flogging pupils - occasionally to death - and being priests got away with it.
We would have one-to-one meetings with House Tutors, at which such problems might be raised. I once had cause to do so. I was told that I could take my complaint further if I wished, but that the teacher in question was due to leave the school anyway (this was not yet public knowledge).

I suppose this would depend on the individual tutor, though. If you thought he was a mate of the teacher with whom you had a problem then it might have been a bit awkward.

So, there was a system in place, but I have no way of knowing how it may have worked for others.
Ba.A / Mid. B 1972 - 1978

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Post by sejintenej » Wed Nov 29, 2006 7:52 pm

Richard Ruck wrote:
sejintenej wrote: BTW - who could you complain to about a teacher? Were they not God? Even after I was at CH priest teachers in Ireland were flogging pupils - occasionally to death - and being priests got away with it.
We would have one-to-one meetings with House Tutors, ........

So, there was a system in place, but I have no way of knowing how it may have worked for others.
No house tutors or equivalent in my day. I suppose Rip Kirby was the one person, adult or younger, that one could have spoken to in confidence.
Otherwise it was a case of sink or swim. Certainly there was no appeal against any punishment given by a master. If a monitor's punishment were to be appealed then heaven help the culprit; it happened but rarely.
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Post by graham » Mon Dec 18, 2006 7:50 pm

I can clearly remember Ken Grimshaw showing me one of the old Maine B punishment books in his study in 1990/1991. I think he may have been the last person to record a punishment in that book, and it may have travelled with him when he left. We had asked him about corporal punishment and the book was brought out as an aid to his recollecting. I remember him being very 'straight' (the best adjective I can think of) when describing the punishment process. Only ever a slipper and given respectfully. I got the impression that he felt that the slipper was a punishment that both housemaster and pupil respected and that, provided punishment was not given with the delight that others have described, it worked well. Of course, there will always be those who abuse their power and corporal punishment is no longer justifiable.

Anyway, point was that I'm sure that those records still exist somewhere, and with freedom of information blah,blah, I'm sure you could request access.
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Post by J.R. » Tue Dec 19, 2006 12:14 pm

Maybe this is a question for those in power in the CH Office.

I'm sure they visit this site on a regular basis !!!
John Rutley. Prep B & Coleridge B. 1958-1963.

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Post by Great Plum » Tue Dec 19, 2006 3:17 pm

I am sure I remember there being a punishment book in Maine B study when I was living there (1992-95) but I could be wrong...
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