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#78 Punishment Book

The title on the cover of this volume is “Black Book”. Although rebound in 1927, it lists all the cases of corporal punishment and some detentions from 1895 to 1971. The crimes for which the punishments were given range from the expected “idleness” and “bad work”, which in the early twentieth century could qualify for caning, to “bringing a catapult into school” and the more worrying “bringing a pistol into school”, There are also the more esoteric crimes such as “doing Euclid in Algebra class” and “Fixing the Day”. One boy was beaten in Canon Armour’s time “For Humbug, pretending to be unwell.”

Merchant Taylors Punishment Book

There are even signs of parental support. One boy was caught “Forging a note re absence. Father disowned the note and committed boy to my [Canon Armour’s] discipline.” Whereas most punishments are given as “caned”, this boy was “flogged”!

When the number of strokes of the cane is recorded, the average would seem to be about four but the standard “six of the best” appears on several occasions. The highest number of strokes awarded on a single occasion is listed as 12 in 1925. This was in reprisal for “Breaking open a master’s desk from which money was taken”