Thursday, 13 December 2007

Mr Illingworth

Most of the children at my prep school stayed for lunch but I walked home and back again every day. So did Rex Goldstone. That didn't stop us from being caned along with everyone else in the class for some general misdemeanour that had taken place during lunch! I didn't mind the caning - that was quite usual - but I did object to the injustice. I recall that caning was carried out by Mrs Flynn - the headmaster’s wife - normally it was Miss Twomey who inflicted the punishment - she had a stronger right arm and used it to good effect. She also used a thick cane which bruised your hand and made it throb.
Mr Illingworth, on the rare occasions he caned anyone, used a thin whippy cane that momentarily stung but the pain of which was gone in a few minutes. Nice man! I recall there was an England cricketer by the name of Illingworth and we speculated as to whether they might be related - one did not ask teachers personal questions in those days so the issue remained unresolved. I photographed Mr Illingworth when I took a camera (Mum's Kodak Box Brownie?) into school in 1960 when I was leaving. I didn’t photograph any other teacher - even at that age I realised some people were better forgotten!
Corporal punishment was phased out in most primary schools in the early 1970s. The cane was abolished in state secondary schools in 1987. It was finally abolished in private schools in 1999.

1 comment:

  1. Linda Biglowe here. I too thought Mr Illingworth was a lovely man! He use to wear a yellow rose bud in his button hole every morning and The Times and Punch under his left arm. I alway brought him his morning tea in the staff room every morning. A task I was happy to do!