I was at a catholic primary school in the 1950s, where the preferred method of punishment was the slipper. I was quite a good child and never did anything to need punishing until my last year there when I was 11 years old.

I still think it was just an excuse to spank some of us as we did not even know we were doing wrong until apprehended.

We had two playgrounds with a wide alley joining them, and were playing a game of snake, where we formed a line holding on to the waist of the boy in front of us and ran around the main playground. The leader decided to go through the alley where we met a teacher who caught us and singled out four of us to be sent to the headmaster.

We were told to wait in the small entrance hall where the headmaster’s office was on the left and on the right was a storeroom.

One of the boys was a regular, so he told the rest of us what was going to happen and said we should start crying straight away as the headmaster may not hit quite so hard if we did.

The first boy was called into the office and after a few minutes was led out of the office across the hallway to the storeroom. The door was closed, and then we heard a ‘whop’ and a scream, followed by five more. He was then brought out with tears streaming down his cheeks and told to wait with the rest of us.

The headmaster then took another boy into his office and the same happened again.

Now, it was my turn.

The headmaster wrote all the details in the punishment book and, despite my protests that I did not know I had done wrong, I was sentenced to six of the best.

I was led into the storeroom and the door was closed behind us. There was a long low bench in there which I was told to bend over and rest my hands on, which I did. He then stood to my left hand side and in his right hand was an adult-size, well worn slipper.

Without any warning, there was a sudden whopp, and I thought my bum was on fire. I did not need to take the advice about crying as I couldn’t help but cry. I had never had this type of punishment before and was not expecting it to be so painful. If he was not hitting as hard as he could, I dread to think what his worst was.

I was never punished that way again at school, as I moved on to the high school that year where they were not really into using corporal punishment.
I did hear the cane was still used for serious offences, but in the five years I was there I never heard of anyone receiving it. I did think about trying to get it because I wanted to know what it felt like, but I chickened out because I did not think I would be able to cope with the pain.

KER