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School CP - November 1907

Corpun file 24586 at

Daily Mail, London, 4 November 1907, p.6

Use of the School Cane.

A Principal Exonerated.

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The adjourned summons against Mr. William Gannon, M.A., principal of the Woolwich Polytechnic, charging him with having excessively caned two of his pupils was dismissed at Woolwich Police Court.

Giving evidence, Mr. Gannon said this was only the second case during the three and a half years he had been principal of the Woolwich Polytechnic in which he had found it necessary to administer corporal punishment. The parent of a boy forwarded a letter of complaint that his son was being bullied, and after seeing the boy who was said he had been bullied and those against whom the accusation was made, he came to the conclusion that the two boys (Couchman and Berry) had been acting in a bullying way to a smaller boy, and that what they had done called for punishment.

After consultation with the senior master, he administered six strokes of the cane to each boy. Having in mind what was usual as punishment when he was a boy and what he had seen administered as punishment to other boys, he did not think this was excessive.

Mr. Hutton, giving his decision, said it was not for him to decide whether there was bullying or not, but he would say there was insufficient evidence before him, if he had to determine the question, and that a little further inquiry might have been made before the punishment was inflicted. Mr. Gannon was honest in his belief that bullying was going on, and he could not say that the punishment inflicted was immoderate, brutal, or cruel.

Corpun file 25804 at

The Marlborough Express, New Zealand, 26 November 1907, p.6

An Eton Mystery.

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Etonians all over the world will learn with surprise that the famous block on which many of them have been swished has been stolen, seriously or in joke from the headmaster's room. No trace of it has been found. It dates back to 1770, and has many historic names cut on it. The theft has been kept secret, and it is believed that the police have not been informed. Shortly after it was stolen, another was put in its place, and one not perfectly familiar with the old block would scarcely notice that the famous one is missing.

It is said to have been taken in the night preceding the holidays. The difficulty of removing so great a weight from an upstairs room to which unprivileged access seems impossible from inside or outside adds to the mystery. The doors of the headmaster's room are kept locked after school hours. One door leads into Upper School, and the other into a room where the King's scholars assemble for prayers. A boy could from the school yard climb up the stonework at the corner of the enclosure near the school office, and reaching the narrow ledge below Upper School windows could walk along it until he came to the window of the headmaster's room.

Eton swishing blocks have been stolen before. In 1836, the day after a boat race against Westminster, three old Etonians stole one. In 1863, Lewis, a Colleger, stole the old Lower School block. This was returned to the headmaster in 1891. About 1877 an Oppidan stole the block that replaced it. It was sawn to pieces, which were nailed under the table in his room, and were not discovered till he had time to remove them.

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