Thursday, 18 February 2010
I had my OB Magazine delivered the other day, and after checking if anyone I knew had died, (no names recognised for a change) I was pleased to see signs of progress at the Alma Mater after all these years.
Quite a lot has happened actually, but one thing stood out from a couple of commentaries by ‘Very Old Boys’ (i.e. older than me by several years...). It was the fact that they admitted that there were ‘not very happy times’, at the old place.
Schools like this could be brutal in the early part of the last century, probably even worse before that, and I was brought up on a diet of ‘Smith Secundus’, and ‘Tom Brown’s schooldays’, which supposedly prepared me for the worst.
It ain’t right to name and shame the place, but I once made a mental list of all the punishments which we endured in the sixties, and it now seems a ridiculous statement of control, usually undertaken by Prefects, who were only a couple of years older than those lads they tried to terrorise.
Jacket undone – 30 lines.
Talking after lights out – 30 or 60 lines, or three or four whacks with a house shoe by a Prefect.
Late for anything like meals or lessons – 30 or 60 lines.
Talking in prep - 30 or 60 lines.
Hands in pockets - 30 or 60 lines, or three whacks with a house shoe by a Prefect.
Lines delivered late - 30 or 60 more lines. (You had one day to write 30, two days for 60 etc, all up to 120 lines in four days).
More than eight punishments a term – Housemaster’s beating – often four with the cane.
General rudeness/cheek/slovenly behaviour/mucking about – anything from 60 lines to four with a house shoe or cane.
Serious crimes like smoking – a range of beating tariffs from four with a cane by the Head of House, to five or six by the Housemaster.
Really serious crimes like drinking – a School Prefect’s beating. Usually eight with one from each boy.
Does anyone now remember Malcolm McDowell in ‘If’? Yup, that’s exactly what it was!
(My worst one was four with a five iron, and that hurt, and I know where you live LJ... grandfather eh...happy, hmmm)!
Still, after all this, if you tell kids today what went on then; they won’t believe you!