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A Shout From The Attic: Caning The Class

Ronnie Bray recalls teachers who were liberal in their use of the cane.

After Bessie Saltmer’s class, I spent the next year in the class of a Miss Sykes. The whole year is a wipe-out. I cannot remember a single thing about it except where the classroom was. Miss Lillian Sykes was a short large woman of some simple ferocity although I do not recall being more frightened of her than I was of anyone else. I do recall that she once caned me with some vigour - for what I cannot remember - whilst bending over a chair. Thus passed another year of my education.

The following year was spent under the tutelage of two teachers. I cannot recall where the split came. The teacher I best remember was Mr Llewellyn, affectionately known as “Louie.”. He was not Welsh, in spite of his name. He was a good teacher, having a sense of humour. He was also given to caning the whole class for the misdemeanour of one. He had a very striking style.

I do remember standing behind my desk, all the class on their feet with their hands outstretched, as he went down the lines with his thin cane giving everyone a single blow on the finger tips. In spite of the pain and injustice of it, no one seemed to mind and I did not hear anyone complain. On one memorable occasion a boy exclaimed at his punishment, “Ooh, right on’t tips!”

Louie was given to removing comics from those reading them when they should have been doing something else.

“It’s a swizz!” one lad remonstrated.

“No it’s not,” rejoined our smiling teacher, “it’s a Beano!”


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