During our final year (1960) at primary school in Brighton we were taught mainly by our form teacher, Miss C. Miss C had a reputation for strictness and was also regarded as the deputy headmistress although I’m not sure if that was her official title or just an honorary position. She had steely grey hair that was always fastened back in a tight bun and white edges to her fingernails. Punishments meted out by Miss C usually involved standing in the corner or at the front of the class, and only once did I see her use corporal punishment.
I believe it was just after the lunch break that we all assembled in our classroom and waited for Miss C. to appear. There had been a spate of things going missing from the cloakroom situated between our classroom and the next one, and it seems that Miss C had caught the offender, a girl called M. Miss C came into the classroom pushing M before her.
Like the rest of us, M would have been eleven years old. I remember her as a girl of average build and dark hair about shoulder length. It must have been the summer term because I recall M wore a yellow and blue gingham summer uniform dress. On this occasion, M was looking quite upset.
Unfortunately, I was sitting towards the back of the class and thus didn’t have as good a view as I would have liked, but Miss C came round to the front of her desk and sat on the leading edge. She then invited M to join her whereupon M was pulled across Miss C’s lap and her blue and yellow gingham dress was pulled up to reveal her white knickers.
M was then spanked with the flat of Miss C’s hand about twenty times after which she was in floods of tears. I can’t remember what happened immediately afterwards apart from Miss C telling us the matter was now closed. I suspect M was allowed to go outside and recover her composure.
After school, we all followed M home and bombarded her with questions. Her closest few friends were very protective and kept us at bay. I vaguely recall a little more teasing and questioning the following day, but then the interest seemed to die down very quickly.