Caning in a girls’ school
By Julie Baker
My name is Mrs Jane Stokes (nee Young) and I was born in Norwich in 1956. My parents were both doctors and I have no brothers or sisters. Aged five, I started at the all girls school, St Mary’s, which is located in the Norfolk countryside about 10 miles from the city. Until the age of 13 I travelled to school on the bus each day, but thereafter my parents arranged for me to become a boarder. I’ve always been a very sociable person, with a great love of sport, so this arrangement suited me perfectly. I absolutely loved my school years.
However, I would have to admit that I wasn’t particularly academic. During my final year doing A Levels most of my friends were preparing themselves to go to university, but I knew that this wasn’t going to be right for me. The school provided lots of vocational courses in the evenings and in my final year I enrolled in the ‘Secretarial Skills’ classes which taught me the basics in typing and shorthand. During my last Easter holidays at school I noticed in the local paper that St Mary’s was advertising for an Assistant School Secretary to start work in September 1974, just a few months after I was due to leave.
I decided to apply and secured the job. I had always got on well with Miss Jones, the Headmistress. I was a school prefect in that final year and had often ended up in her study discussing school matters. I had been a well behaved student which helped, given that Miss Jones was a stickler for discipline. She really had no time for girls who messed around and didn’t fulfill their potential. Whilst a lot of schools had abolished corporal punishment, ours had certainly not. Minor misdemeanours were dealt with by a slippering and more serious crimes justified the use of the cane.
Time has moved on and I retire from St Mary’s in a few weeks time. I was the assistant secretary for 10 years and since then I have been the senior school secretary. I almost can’t remember a time when I wasn’t associated with the school; 57 years and a lot of changes. One significant change for me was when corporal punishment was abolished in our school in 1987. My own view is that we did see a slip in standards and respect for staff, but it also meant a minor change in my duties as it was part of my role at the time to oversee the process when a girl was punished. I actually enjoyed this part of my job for lots of different reasons and I now feel it is right to make a record of my experiences.
Miss Jones was headmistress when I first went to St Mary’s and didn’t retire until 1996, so she was an ever present for me in those early years. She was the only teacher authorised by the school governors to slipper or cane the girls. However, all of the teaching staff could issue a girl with a ‘Punishment Note’, more commonly called simply a ‘Note’. When a note was issued, the girl would have to report to Miss Jones’ study at 2.00pm the following day and hand the note to the assistant secretary. The note detailed the date, the pupil’s name, her age, the teacher’s name, the nature of the misdemeanour and whether the punishment was to be the slipper or the cane. The notes were duplicated with the back copy handed by the member of staff to the secretary’s office so that the head had prior warning and so that there was a system of ensuring that all pupils turned up for their punishments.
The layout of the head’s offices was a classic school arrangement. Our secretary’s office was alongside the head’s study and there was an adjoining interconnecting door as well as separate doors onto the corridor. Our office was very spacious with plenty of room for two desks and a visitors’ waiting area by the door into the head’s office. Most visitors went in to see the head via us, so we frequently had parents, teaching staff and outside contractors waiting in our room before going next door. There were always six chairs lined up along the wall beside this interconnecting door. They stood a little bit away from the wall due to some boxing at floor level which concealed the heating pipes. Behind the chairs was a row of six coat hooks that allowed visitors to hang their coats with long coats then dropping down behind the chair backs.
The hooks must have been there for as long as the school. They were large cast iron hooks that had been painted black sometime in the past but in places had worn down to the bare metal as a result of repeated use. They were mounted on an old piece of dark oak and probably only extended the width of two of the chairs. Very practical, and they were very much fit for purpose. However, they had an additional role to play when a girl was to be caned and I’ll explain more about this shortly.
Most of the girls who came to my office to be slippered were from the lower school. It was my job to look after the girls during the whole process. When they came into our office I would take their note and fill in an entry into the punishment book. The book detailed all the information contained within the note which I was able to fill in before the punishment took place. The only columns which needed to be filled in afterwards were the ones for the number of strokes and the space for the pupil’s signature.
These lower school girls wore school uniform which included black shoes, white knee length socks, regulation blue knickers, dark blue pleated skirt, white blouse and blue blazer; the classic look for school girls at that time. They would come in generally looking a bit nervous, hand me their note and sit on the visitors’ chairs to await the call from Miss Jones. If a group of girls were to be punished they would all go in together or alternatively they would be called in individually. There was always a bit of a delay while Miss Jones lectured the pupil and then we would hear the impact of the slipper on the girl’s bottom.
Sometimes it would be just three, maybe a younger girl just needing a bit of a warning, but other times we would count up to eight. This would tend to be a repeat offender who we had seen often in the past. They would then emerge, often rubbing their sore bottoms and most would be somewhat distressed. Some had tears running down their cheeks and others would be in a terrible state, sobbing uncontrollably. Over the years, I got to know which ones wanted to be left alone and which ones were aching for a consoling cuddle. I felt it was my job to make the whole dreadful experience for those girls as bearable as it could be. I liked this part of my role.
The canings were a different matter. They were not frequent, maybe only a couple a month on average. The atmosphere in our office was very different when ever I got a note from a girl with the word ‘cane’ circled. Everyone knew that this was a serious ordeal. Generally this type of punishment was reserved for the older girls in the lower school and the occasional girl in the upper school doing her A Levels. Upper school girls were allowed to wear their own clothes subject to them sticking with the general principal of skirt, blouse and jacket.
Irrespective of the age of the girl, though, the procedure for canings was the same. The punishment book had to be filled out and the girls would wait on the visitors’ chairs. However, although Miss Jones applied the slipper to a girl’s bottom with the skirt raised but knickers in place, she caned only on to a bare bottom.
Accordingly, when a girl was in for a caning I would always say to her when the entry had been made in the punishment book: “Please remove your panties and hang them on one of the hooks before taking a seat”.
And this is a vision in my mind that will never go away; girls reaching up underneath their skirts and slipping off their underwear, then a girl or several girls sitting on those hard chairs with naked bottoms waiting to feel the cane. Meantime their underwear was plain to see hanging from those old scabby hooks above their heads, often bright white contrasting with the blackened metal. Momentarily these garments were not part of them and they were not going to get the benefit of any protection that they might have provided. When the girls were in the head’s study their knickers remained on view to remind us what was happening on the other side of the door.
Sometimes there was nothing of interest in this department; one or more sets of standard school blue knickers. The upper school pupils provided more variety though. Girls of that age were quite adventurous and we were treated to anything from quite classy white silk panties to thongs and G strings. One time I remember that six upper school girls were caned for being out of bounds and all six coat hooks had a pair of panties dangling from them while their owners were dealt with by Miss Jones. If I’m honest, I quite enjoyed to drama and tension of the canings. And, I must confess, seeing the underwear hanging on the hooks, I found faintly erotic.
I had ten years of dealing with the girls at St Mary’s who were subjected to corporal punishment. I was sad to lose that part of my job when it was abolished but we held onto it for longer than most schools. In my time as a school secretary I never witnessed a slippering or a caning. We heard them; the loud thump of shoe on a girl’s bottom and the swish of the cane. Some girls were silent and other times they were more vocal with cries of pain and anguish.
But it’s at this point that I need to come clean. Miss Jones caned me in my final term at St Mary’s so, during my school girl years, I did see first hand what happened on the other side of that door.
It was a ridiculous situation really. I had been interviewed for the assistant secretary’s position just after the Easter holidays and offered the job a few days later. A few weeks afterwards I was spending my lunch break in the school grounds on a lovely sunny day with my friend Lucy. Lucy was a bit of a wild girl and was no stranger to visits to Miss Jones’ study for a bit of correction. I knew that she smoked and on this day we had settled into a secluded position at the back of the woods where few people ventured. Sure enough, she lit a cigarette and offered me a drag on it. I pointed out that I had never smoked but she persuaded me to have one go. It was horrible! I was coughing and spluttering when Miss Roberts, our PE teacher, appeared out of nowhere.
The rest you can guess, and Lucy and I were knocking on the secretary’s office door shortly before 2.00pm the following day. We both had punishment notes and they had ‘cane’ circled on them. I was both terrified and embarrassed. I had been slippered a couple of times before in the fourth form. It stung a bit and my bottom was red for a few days afterwards but nothing that couldn’t easily be coped with. Lucy left me in no doubt, though, that this was a massive step up in intensity. I also knew that I would have to bare my bottom in front of Lucy and Miss Jones, plus I was putting Miss Jones in an awkward position given that I was shortly about to swap from being a pupil of her’s to be a colleague. It couldn’t have been much worse.
The girls were full of theories about how to make a caning more bearable. Some said it was best to clench your buttocks and others said it was better to relax your muscles. Unlike my two slipperings, when I had to grab my ankles before Miss Jones lifted my skirt, I knew that I would have to bend over Miss Jones’ desk. Some girls said it was then better to grip the sides on her desk and others said it was better to put your arms under your head. I couldn’t really see what the difference was, but these theories just kept on coming out. In reality there was probably nothing that would make much difference.
One of the slightly more bizarre tips doing the rounds in 1975 was that it was best when sat on the chair waiting for your caning to lift your skirt so that your bare bottom was resting on the surface on the cold plastic chair. This then cooled your bottom and supposedly had a numbing effect, which in turn helped to reduce the pain from the cane. Seems as though we had nothing better to talk about in those days. However, I did follow this advice but I would have to say that subsequently I’ve read that a caning is easier to take if your bottom is warmed up in advance. Conflicting advice! Who knows? I was certainly no expert at that time but what I did know was that I was in for a very chastening experience in Miss Jones’ study.
I entered the secretary’s office that day very sheepishly. Mrs Evans, who shortly afterwards moved up to be the senior school secretary, entered mine and Lucy’s details into the punishment book and directed us over to the visitor’s chairs. I was disappointed to see that the first chair was occupied by a fifth form girl called Alice who we knew well and was often in trouble. I had hoped it would only be Lucy and me with a 2.00 pm appointment that day. However there were no knickers on the hooks, so I knew that this girl was in for a slippering only.
She watched Lucy and me with interest as we reached up under our skirts and removed our panties. For me, this felt like the final act of submission. I was over eighteen but by removing my underwear I was accepting the authority of Miss Jones and effectively agreeing to having the cane applied to my bottom; my bare bottom, with no protection and no control over the severity of the punishment about to be delivered.
I’d had time to plan ahead for this moment, of course. I hadn’t slept well the previous night for obvious reasons and after my morning shower I looked at myself naked in the mirror. I was in good shape. Tall, slim, pretty face and long blond hair. I did lots of sport so my muscles were firm and my body well toned. I turned to look at my bottom reflected in the mirror. I thought it had a pleasing shape and lovely soft pale skin. I wondered what it would look like that evening after a dose of the cane from Miss Jones.
For some reason I chose my favourite white satin-feel panties which always made me feel good and a little sexy. I then chose a light summer skirt which was layered, as I knew that it would be easy for Miss Jones to lift the back of it when it was time for me to get the cane. It was therefore these panties that I hung on the second hook to go alongside Lucy’s pink pair that were on the first one. We sat in silence and shortly after 2 o’clock Miss Jones put her head round the corner and invited Alice into her study. We heard a few mumbled voices and then the sound of six firm whacks landing onto Alice’s bottom. No other noises and I had to admire her when she came out. She was obviously in distress, clutching her poor bottom, but no tears and within a few moments she had signed the punishment book and was on her way.
Then it was our turn. We left the comfort of our chairs and were soon stood in front of Miss Jones. The school cane was resting on the front of her desk. I had never seen it before and it was longer than I imagined and not as thick. I looked quite whippy, although when it was used on Lucy I could see that there wasn’t much bend in it. She gave us a severe dressing down and told us both how disappointed she was with our behaviour. I had decided in advance that I wouldn’t try to minimise my role in this debacle and when Miss Jones asked us if we wanted to say anything we both replied: “No.”
“OK, I’ll deal with Lucy first,” she said, “As she has been in this position before.”
She turned to address Lucy directly.
“You are getting six strokes of the cane today, Lucy, for smoking on school premises. Get yourself ready.”
Lucy was generally acknowledged to be the prettiest girl in the school. She was gorgeous with a beautiful face and body which a few years later would lead her into a career in modelling. She went on to marry a local farmer a few years after leaving school and has now reformed into a mother of three lovely children and a pillar of local society. She was simply a naughty and rebellious school girl on that day, though, and she was soon standing legs together at the edge of the desk before lowering her upper body on the cold surface. Miss Jones then lifted the back of her skirt, revealing a very attractive bottom perfectly positioned to receive the six strokes of the school cane.
Miss Jones didn’t spare her and she certainly didn’t take it quietly. This must have been her way of coping. After every stroke she let out a loud cry and after three she was begging Miss Jones to go easy on her. Her chest was heaving on the desk surface and she was sobbing loudly in the interval between each strike of the cane on her bottom. I could see the red welts developing on her skin, so I knew that this was hurting her badly. And it was my turn next. Soon Lucy was back beside me furiously rubbing her poor bottom under her skirt. I was determined to try to conduct myself with a little more dignity.
“Right, Jane, your turn now,” Miss Jones was soon saying. “I want you to do the same as Lucy and you will be getting six strokes also.”
I had decided in advance that I would reach out to grip the far side of Miss Jones’ desk. I knew that Miss Jones would add on extra strokes if either of my hands strayed back to protect my bottom and I didn’t want to take this risk. So this was the position that I adopted. It was a horrible feeling when the back of my skirt was raised, not only because it left me utterly defenceless against the sting of the cane but also because my bottom, which I regarded as being private to me, was now on full view to both Miss Jones and Lucy.
However, shortly afterwards two people looking at my bare bottom was the least of my worries. I got exactly the same level of beating that Lucy had endured. Each stroke was like an explosion of fire across my bottom and I could hardly believe that anything could be that painful. After four, I really felt that I couldn’t get through it. But I clenched my teeth and managed without crying out, but by the end I was gulping down huge lung fulls of air and there were tears streaming down my cheeks.
“Well done, Jane,” I then heard Miss Jones say. “You took that well.”
I got up and stood beside Lucy. Miss Jones told us again that smoking was prohibited and that she did not want a repeat of this incident. We were soon back in the secretary’s office recovering our underwear off the hooks. With as much dignity as possible, we gently pulled up our panties over our sore bottoms and I was particularly careful to ensure that Mrs Evans did not catch sight of my freshly caned behind. We signed the punishment book and were back in our rooms shortly afterwards to calm down and recover.
I immediately stripped naked to have a shower and inspect the damage to my bottom. I wore a size 8 dress in those days and my bottom was quite small. However I had to admire Miss Jones’ skill with the cane. Six red stripes marched up my flesh from just above the top of my legs to just below the top of the crack in my bottom, evenly spaced with nothing close to an overlap.
I felt strangely energised by the experience. The cane marks were fading within a week and two weeks later there were no visible signs that I had been punished. The mental legacy has lasted much longer, though, and this has been more positive than negative. In my years of assisting in the process, I found that my own first hand experiences of the slipper and the cane were a help to me and, although I often felt sorry for the recipients, I also came to enjoy the tension and drama of those school punishments.
This episode undoubtedly made my first working day at the start of September 1974 a bit more tense. However Miss Evans, the senior secretary, never mentioned the events that took place a few months before and Miss Jones only referred to the caning once after I had started work. I did take this opportunity to explain the circumstances and apologise for any embarrassment that I had caused her.
“Don’t worry, Jane,” she replied. “I knew that it was mainly Lucy’s fault and I also didn’t have you marked out as a habitual smoker. However you were unlucky to be caught at that precise moment in time and I had to deal with the two of you equally and fairly.”
After this brief discussion I returned to my duties. The only problem in those early days of my new job was that my eye was inevitably drawn to my own name in the punishment book every time that I opened it. Unluckily my name was the first one on a fresh page with 24 lines beneath it. ‘Jane Young’, ’18’, ‘smoking on school premises’, ‘cane’, ‘six’ was my entry followed by my rather unsteady signature. Some of the other 24 lines were occupied by girls punished in the last few weeks of the previous summer term but I had to endure 11 girls signing the book at the start of that autumn term hoping that they wouldn’t spot my name at the top of the page. Nobody did, or had the courage to say, and then I eventually started a fresh page.
At the end of the summer term of 1984, when corporal punishment was finally abolished at St Mary’s, Miss Jones asked me to dispose of all the paraphernalia associated with the physical punishment of the girls. In the drawer of Miss Jones’ desk I found three shoes that were used for slipperings, and in her cupboard there was just the one school cane. I recognised it instantly as the one that had been applied to my bottom as an eighteen year old school girl; long and thin, and capable of inflicting considerable pain.
The shoe collection was a bit more of a mystery. There was a heavyish white tennis shoe, which I vaguely recognised as the implement used on me in the fourth form, and a small rubber soled plimsoll which I imagine was reserved for the juniors. There was also a light slip-on shoe with no back that had a smooth thin hard sole made of plastic. I’d never heard any of the girls mention this one, so I had no idea when Miss Jones might have used it.
I also gathered up the punishment book but, instead of disposing of everything amongst the school rubbish, I took it all home to show my husband. He was fascinated. We found my entry from 10 years ago in the book and he then wrote a fresh entry below the last name of a girl who had been slippered the previous week. ‘Jane Stokes’, ’28’, ‘stealing school property’, ‘slipper followed by cane’, ‘as many as needed’. I don’t need to tell you what happened next.
I still occasionally look at that old school punishment book and I feel a little flutter of excitement in my tummy when I think back to the events of the summer of ’74. Mr Stokes has made regular use of the shoes and cane on my bottom over the years and we have also found a role for the mystery slip-on shoe. We have discovered that it is too light to be effective over clothing but it delivers an exquisite sting on bare skin. It has been perfect over the years if I’ve been due a spanking at a time when I’ve also wanted to wear a swimming costume in public. My bottom goes bright red but this soon fades and there is no residual bruising, unlike cane marks which can sometimes be clearly visible peeking out from the margins of my costume for a long time afterwards.
However, all is not perfect. I’ve always been conscious that there is one crucial part of the punishment equipment from St Mary’s that is missing in our house; the six coat hooks outside the head’s study. I’ve not had the benefit of the authentic place to hang my panties when Mr Stokes is about to cane my naked bottom.
© Julie Baker 2018