On 17th July 1897, it was reported in local press that Mr William Small is sick and tired of school-children coming to his residence, Olivia Cottage, Blantyre, and exhibiting on their posteriors, evidences and traces of the their strict teacher’s ‘handiwork’.
The report suggested, “Mr Small has elevating ideas and tastes, as witness his “communicals (small flyers or publications)” but his voluminous rhetorical display on the abominable and excessive use of the tawse in Blantyre Schools, did not awaken within the breasts of the members of the Board feelings in indignation, when they recalled the time when they were boys, and when they, too, had to submit to the autocratic discipline of the hoary-headed-savant.
Blantyre’s youth still lives in fear on the tawse, but the “communicals” is threatened with a dissertation on “A Blantyre Atrocity: The Horrors of the Tawse. “
The above article is shared here by Wilma Bolton.
The report shows that there were those in Blantyre even in 1897, who saw the use of tawse (the straps of a small leather whip) on schoolchildren, as barbaric or excessive, and something that belonged in the past. I was surprised to read this report as early as 1897, for those same arguments were still around, even in the 1970’s, relating to belting kids at school. Despite those poor little souls being beaten back then, I couldnt help but smile as I imagined them trailing all the way to William Small’s house to show the marks the teacher had left, in the hope their story would be added to the local newsreports, and to the end of trying to abolish the tawse entirely.
If you were at school before the late 1970’s, did you ever get the strap or belt? I have to admit, despite being fairly well behaved, I still got landed one in 1978 for playing “tig” in the classroom whilst the teacher left for a few moments. Not like me at ALL!
On social media:
Jean Boyd Twice once for having my coat on and the other I was late for the lines outside at lunch time, oh the horror of it, and the temptation to pull your hands away while waiting on the strap to fall but that would have only added to another, just looking at it is scary smile emoticon
The Blantyre Project the thought of that now, hitting a child for stepping out of lines outside. Ouch. Did anybody else suffer leather or birch?
Susan Bernadette McMurray I was so scared from the belt, luckily I escaped it but seen other people getting it in front of the whole class, not good
Debbie Miller Almost daily for talking too much lol … Primary however high school only once or twice a year lol
Jim Cochrane Multiple times at High Blantyre from Mr Crawford and at Blantyre High.wasn,t a big problem better than homework.Even a couple of times from Mr Moncrieff who I really liked.
Elizabeth Weaver It was used daily at Auchinraith Primary in the 50s, for just about everything. The fact that it was used on a daily basis, and often on the same poor weans, proves that it didn’t work. There were children in that school who were poor wee souls – unwashed, underfed and poorly clothed, yet being belted for things like being a few minutes late. They’d probably got themselves out of the house in the morning, without breakfast – as you can tell, I’m still angry at the injustice of it, 60 years on. Whether or not you got the belt yourself, you were still watching other children being beaten day in, day out, by a succession of privileged, crabbit teachers. Grim.
Catherine Davidson 6 of the best. I think the teacher loved the power to terrorise a child.
Jim Docherty Aye at the Livvies aff Mr Davies and at Caulder St tae……..
Sandra Murphy Yes i had to double my hands on top of one and other and mrs mckay gave me six in a row…inside of my right arm up yo my elbow came up in welts….my mother went to see her a blew the shit out of her outside my classroom . BRILLANT she was.
Gord Fotheringham Sandra were you in my class…….cause I remember one girl after me getting the belt right up to the elbow
Angela Harrington I remember a gym teacher at John Ogilvie gave me the belt. I think because it was the second time I forgot my uniform.One hand over the other… I pulled away before she hit me… made her mad and it hurt like hell..
Marianne Stark Aitken Yes Mr McShane at St Joseph’s he caught me writing a note to my pal and again off Mr Gardiner at JOHS, completely barbaric!!!
Ina Cameron Yes I got the belt a couple of times for being late. Rather the belt than lines though and it was over quicker.
William McIntyre St Mary’s Catholic school Lanark..I and others regularly got strapped for the slightest move out of line. Or sometimes just for not doing my basket weaving correctly. Sister Claire was a sadist nun. Pure evil. This was the late 50’s early sixties. She should have been locked up. No doubt there are other adults who suffered the same psychological damage I did.
Mary Marr Remember the belt and getting it for being late and my late sister had just qualified as a teacher when the belt was banned in school