Sunday, 21 October 2012

The Dreaded Tawse!

This is a sight to strike fear into the heart of any Scottish schoolgirl or boy of my generation.  Looks just like a piece of leather and officially called the tawse, but when I was in school we called it the belt or the strap and yes, you've probably guessed what it was used for ... punishment!!!!!!


I have to admit, gentle reader, that I did get the strap on a number of occasions in primary school - usually for talking in class. 


There was one teacher in my primary school who was especially feared.  She gave us spelling and arithmetic tests on Friday mornings and added up the scores.  We moved desks according to these scores - highest scores at the back and numpties lower scores at the front.  In those days we had single desks and sat in rows - all the better for the teacher to see what was going on.  Anyway, I digress, this teacher one morning decided to belt anyone who got less than five out of ten in the tests - there was a line of us waiting to be belted - brave boys at the front, snivelling lassies at the back.

In those days if you got the belt in class, it would be all round the playground at playtime, so of course you had to tell your Mum and Dad when you got home, otherwise a sneering sibling would tell, or they would hear about it elsewhere.  This usually resulted in a telling off at home too!!! 


In secondary school many teachers used the belt.  In my school, staff wore black gowns (no, not dresses, academic gowns) and some wore the belt over their shoulder, under their gown.  This was for two reasons - it was always handy in case of trouble either in class or the corridor and it was rumoured that it kept the belt warm and that made it more effective!  I'm really not sure if this is true.


Until I saw this in an exhibition it didn't occur to me that they were actually produced somewhere, but it would seem that Lochgelly in Fife was the place for producing the tawse.  This has brought back a few memories and I could go on for ages!  Did you get "the strap" at school?  (I'm going to assume that there are some folk out there old enough to remember those days!)


This Sunday's little voyage to far away places overseas takes us to Gibraltar and a lovely blog The Rock For Beginners by Bijou Sugar Socks.  Please go and visit - you'll enjoy your trip.

Love, Liz

20 comments:

A Treasured Past said...

Youch! They look deadly. I never got the strap at school, but the school Principle had a cane which the bad boys usually got. It was phased out while I was there.

My mum did give me a good one with the kettle cord and wooden spoon though. I remember cutting the straps off a pair of my sisters old shoes..haha

gilly said...

Ooh, that strap looks fierce - don't think I'd have liked the feel of that!
Hae a guid Sunday ;-)
xx

sky-blu-pink said...

In England we had the cane, our Junior school headmaster had Wilberforce, but only for the boys. Either girls weren't naughty enough, or it was considered not right to cane young ladies. Corporal punishment became illegal when I was in my 1st or 2nd year at High school, but before then, again only the boys were caned. After that it was lines and detentions, but most of the boys said they preferred the cane because at least it was over quickly!

Crafty in the Med said...

What a very interesting post...very appropriate as Halloween is not far away LOL! Liz...which certainly brings back memories. The strap had passed on to a better life when I started school but they still used a ruler. Being wacked with a ruler on your fingertips is no joke. I have always thought that the teacher who seemed to punish us more than any of the other school teachers got a particular kick out of doing so. We always seemed to get punished in that class. I admit more than once....I was so easily lead by others!!! LOL!

keep well

Amanda :-)

Anne said...

We didnt have the strap but I remember one teacher using the cane. I'm sure he got some sort of strange pleasure out of inflicting pain. I never got it and used to feel so sorry for those who did. It was very much a deterrent though!

Karen S. said...

Oh my! Well way, way back in time they may have had that here too, as I recall reading somewhere, but I do know that my early years of schooling there was the dreaded ruler that the teacher would warn, not often use, but they were quite pushy about silence and used a pin to drop and if she didn't hear it fall.....

Maggie said...

When I was in school, starting in 1954, I was lucky enough to go to a convent school where the majority of the sisters were gentle souls. There was however one nasty one. Why she had anything to do with children I have no idea, a woman with less tolerance, patience, kindliness I have yet to meet. At the age of 4 I got confused between the + plus sign and the x multiplication sign. One day she must have sat on her wimple or something and got annoyed and decided to take it out on me by smacking me across the knuckles of my right hand with the wooden side of the blackboard duster. I am assuming that some of your readers will know what both of these are!!! Please don't let me be the only Oldie. Anyway, it really hurt and I went home for lunch all teary, so my dear old mum went round to the school and complained that something like that had been used on such a small child's hand. But I never got them confused again, those signs!

Rose H (UK) said...

Blimey, how awful to receive the tawse. Just the sight of it has made me sit up straight and take note!
Rose H
x

thriftwood said...

Dear me, how times have changed! I was slapped on the legs aged 4 because I crossed my legs, by a bitter and twisted spinster teacher, who shouldn't have been allowed anywhere near young children! Aged 11 the cane was used, but usually only on boys. At secondary school, a convent, I was slapped again for giggling ... I'm gad there wasn't a taxes, it looks very scary xx

Mum said...

The strap was there at school but I never got it. I did get the ruler though on the palm of the hand. It was for not preparing for a composition. There was rather a lot of us who hadn't prepared and we queued up to be rulered. I was 10 or 11. Teachers have to keep their 'hands behind their backs' now!
Love from Mum
xx

blackenpot said...

What memories!, I did get the cane over my finger ends and also the slipper. That was a plimsole which really stung your bottom!!

If you complained when you got home you got told that you must have been misbehaving.

Things have changed now.

Enjoy your new week.

vintage grey said...

That looks like it really hurt! I wouldn't have wanted to get in trouble! ;) xo Heather

Tammy's in Love said...

Holy Sox! I just had to pick myself up from the floor! In the US, in the 1960-70s no one got so much as a ruler/slap. If we were in trouble, we might get sent to the Principal's office!

Bijou Sugar-Socks said...

oh dear! one look at the tawse and i could almost feel it :) thanks so much liz for the shout-out! xxx keep well!

orchid said...

Dearest Liz,
I think I heard that teachers were using kind of "tawse" old days (probably older than my parents age). Did it hurt a little? It might be a big trouble for the teacher right now in Japan. There are parents called "monster parents" who complain about even the trivial matters their children told them.
Sending you lots of love and hugs from Japan, xoxo Miyako*

wendz said...

Like Maggie, I felt the pain of the blackboard duster a few times...and that was in the late 70's - as well as being slapped over my hands with a ruler - blimey that stung and made me cry big tears - things have changed so much since then.

I think there were some truly cruel teachers around - probably still are but their hands are tied these days so tongue-lashings have to do instead. My boys tell me how vile some of their teachers are - it's shocking.

Miss Simmonds Says said...

my teachers were more psychologically cruel, well sounds like yours were too but they were allowed to use the strap as well, which look terrifying!

June said...

I got caned in the junior school - aged 7 - because someone had locked me in the playground and I couldn't get in for the lesson - why I got caned and not the culprit who locked the door I'll never know but it hurt! The headmaster in our primary school used a ruler and I got punished with that too!
June

Claire said...

Gosh it seems so archaic reading your post now Liz, but back then it was the norm........
At primary school only boys got the strap and girls.......not sure how they were punished. Probably had to stay indoors during recess or had to write lines.
By the time I got to Secondary school the strap had disappeared and you were sent to 'the office' if you misbehaved.
Some terrible things went on as far as punishment, but I'm sure we were better behaved than alot of students these days.

CLaire :}

Jennifer said...

That looks sore! I was taught by nuns but very few of them were kind... They didn't have straps like that but most of them used the cane on our hands or across the backs of our bare legs. It was worse on the hands but I preferred it as I could hide the marks from my mum when I got home! I didn't have a sibling to tell on me!
Jen