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School CP - November 1960

Corpun file 20979 at


Daily Mail, London, 22 November 1960, p.9

Caning? It's not cricket

Say the Russians at Rugby

By Daily Mail Reporter

Click to enlarge

THE two schoolmasters from Russia sat yesterday in the drawing-room at Rugby School, where the cane is still the instrument of correction it was in Tom Brown's Schooldays, and condemned corporal punishment as "an affront to human dignity".

Rugby's headmaster, Dr Walter Hamilton -- "I use the cane about once a term" -- listened intently, then said: "Their attitude is all bosh."

Mr A.A. Alekseenko, from Stalingrad, and Mr A.K. Bystrov, from Leningrad, were at Rugby to see if any principles of the British public school system could be applied in Russia, where boarding schools are being introduced.

They went on to blast two more pillars of public school education: fagging and the teaching of Latin and Greek.


In the bare birching room at Rugby described in Tom Brown's Schooldays (author Thomas Hughes, published 1857) there is still a leather-bound birch.

Said Mr A.: "Corporal punishment is degrading not only for the person receiving it but for the person administering it."

Dr Hamilton looked over his bi-focals. "Do my boys look degraded?" he asked.

Mr A.: "No".

"Just before I left Stalingrad one of my bigger boys beat one of my smaller boys. I ordered the bully to my study, then left him there. Two hours later he telephoned me.

"He said: 'Headmaster, I am still in your study. Am I to remain here?' The humiliation of being left standing in my study was sufficient punishment."

The boys of Rugby were stumbling through the Latin bucolics of Virgil at their initial-carved desks.


"Latin and Greek?" said Mr A. "By eliminating these subjects except in special cases we have more time for studies which are of greater use in modern living -- the sciences, Hindi, and Chinese, for example".

Fagging? "It seems to us the bigger boys should wait on the smaller boys," said Mr A.

He and Mr B. ended their tour in "The Stodge" -- the school tuckshop. Said Mr B.: "We've been to Eton, too. Rugby is much better."

Corpun file 21651 at


Daily Express, London, 18 November 1960

A rebel refuses to do his lines

Express Staff Reporter

Click to enlarge

A MOTHER is refusing to send her 14-year-old son to school because he is in for a caning when he gets there.

The boy, David Butler, of Spencers Croft, Harlow, Essex, refuses to write out: "I must not speak when silence is requested."

And at his home yesterday he said: "I have been caned eight times already -- by the deputy head and by the head master -- but I still don't see why I should do the lines."

The head master of Harlow's Brays Grove Secondary School, Mr. S.H. Bottoms, sent David home with a letter saying that unless a medical certificate was produced by 9a.m. today he would be given corporal punishment.

But David sat doggedly at home while his mother, Mrs. Patricia Butler, said: "I'm frightened to send him to school. He has been awake all night with worry."

Inquiry call

Now Councillor Mrs. Lily Davidson has asked the education authority for an inquiry. She said: "The boy has a good record at school for both attainment and truthfulness. Despite protests from his mother the canings have continued and we know further punishment is to be inflicted.

"David was accused by his teacher of talking during lessons. In spite of telling the teacher that he was merely repeating the lesson to himself and that the other boy denied that there was any conversation David was instructed to write the lines.

"The boy consistently maintains that he was not talking during lessons with any other person. This is a state of affairs that cannot be allowed to continue."

Corpun file 24642 at


Daily Mail, London, 23 November 1960, p.9

I-won't-own-up boy sent home

David still says teacher accused him wrongly of talking in class

By Charles Wilson

Click to enlarge

SCHOOLBOY David Butler could have saved himself a lot of trouble by agreeing: "Yes, I talked in class."

But for five weeks 14-year-old David has refused to admit he did talk.

And he says to admit it would be a lie. So far his principles have cost him dear.

He has been caned three times. He has been kept in after hours at Brays Grove County Secondary school, Harlow. And now he has been suspended for a week.

It all began in a history lesson when the master heard someone talking. He accused David and told him to write out 60 times: "I must not talk when silence is requested." David felt himself innocent and refused.

Said David yesterday as he walked to his home in Spencers-croft, Harlow: "I may have muttered to myself as I read something to the blackboard, I did not talk.

"The teacher said that if I did not write the lines I would be caned. The first day I went to school without the lines I received two strokes. The next day it went up to three.

"Then I was ordered before Mr. Bottoms, the headmaster. I told him I wouldn't tell a lie to save a caning.

"So I got three more strokes from him. I have nothing against corporal punishment at school -- I had the cane about a year ago and had no complaint -- but I think it is terribly unfair to punish me for something I did not do."

In his study at the school, Mr. Sidney Bottoms said: "Suspension is the headmaster's supreme punishment. In the circumstances there was nothing else I could do.

There are two issues -- the original crime of talking when silence is ordered and the supplementary crime of defiance of authority.


"I feel completely justified in the actions of myself and my staff. There is no doubt in my mind that David did talk in class, and he was flouting discipline by refusing to accept the punishment."

He was free to complain to either the master or myself at the time the imposition was handed out, but he did not do so. Of course, when he comes back to school next Monday he will start afresh and there will be no mention by the staff of this incident."

Corpun file 24645 at


Daily Mail, London, 25 November 1960, p.3

Boys back the caning head

We are all for you, Sir, they tell him

By Daily Mail Reporter

Click to enlarge

A SCORE of boys crowded into a headmasters' study yesterday.

One stepped forward. "We have come to hand you this, sir," he stammered. "It's a petition. It shows how we feel . . ."

There was a pause: "Everybody's signed it, sir," added the boy.

The headmaster, Mr. Sydney Bottoms -- who had been called before the governors to explain why he caned a boy for refusing to write an imposition -- picked up the petition.

It began: "We have every confidence in our headmaster." Then came the signatures -- 950 of them. Some boys had added personal messages like "We are for you, sir."

Said Mr. Bottoms, headmaster of Brays Grove Secondary School, in Harlow, Essex, last night: "I was very touched. The boys wanted to show they still believe in the old man.

He refused

The troubles of Brays Grove School started when 14-year-old David Butler was accused by the history master of talking in class.

David denied it -- and for five weeks refused to do the 60 lines he was ordered to write

So he was caned -- three times. Finally Mr. Bottoms ordered David to be suspended for a week.

A governors' inquiry followed. It was attended by David's parents. The inquiry laid down that David should be suspended until next Monday, exonerating the headmaster from criticism.

And yesterday the school decided that they, too, thought the head was right.

Said one of the boys: "The petition was started in the fourth form. Everyone except those away ill signed it."

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