Victorian Teachers

Title

Victorian Teachers

Description

Compilation of recordings containing memories of teachers and the types of discipline found in schools during the Victorian and Edwardian era, from the East Midlands Oral History Archive.

Source

East Midlands Oral History Archive

Rights

You may use this item in accordance with the license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/uk/

Language

English

Interviewer

Carswell, J; Aucott, S;

Interviewee

Andrews, Ernest; Manger, Ada and Ida; Bentham, Miss; Isaac, Edith; Wardle, Foster (Joe)

Transcription

Interviewer: What sort of – school did you go to?

Earnest: I went to the church school, in Coalville, under the headship of Mr Nunnerlay [??].He was a very good head, a very good Christian man – he was the choir master at the church for a while I believe – and he took a good interest in all his – in the children in the school. He was a good type of headmaster in those days – was known by everybody in the school and you could talk to him and – although he was a good disciplinarian, we had to behave ourselves, he wouldn’t – he wouldn’t take any bad behaviour without correct – without trying to correct it and he was a good headmaster I always thought.

Interviewer:
Did he use the cane?

Earnest:
Yes, just occasionally – only very occasionally

Interviewer:
Well what would you of had to have done to get the cane? 

Earnest:
[laughs] well to – to break the rules of the school I suppose – in some way or another or really bad behaviour – not behaviour that couldn’t be – passed over by one of the teachers and they would hand him on to – whoever it was, hand him on to the headmaster and he would deal with him.

Ada and Ida:
ooh yes I remember the teachers yes I do, one would use – one used to say “I’ll knock you into the middle of next week if you don’t do it” – she used to say.

Miss Bentham:
as I say Mr – Townsend was the headmaster – and he was a fair - very fair minded man, he’s strict and he believed in discipline. He carried his cane but – and he’d often flick it down the side of his trousers, you know – but he’d never give anybody the cane, he’d warn them first and if it happened again – they had the cane and they knew.

Interviewer:
Can you remember anything about the teachers at all?

Nellie:
ooh yes the head teacher

Interviewer:
what was his name?

Nellie:
she was a –

Interviewer:
she

Nellie:
it was a her – her name was Mrs Adams – you knew it was Mrs Adams as well

Interviewer:
she was very strict?

Nellie:
my words, honestly – if ever the children got anyone like that to deal with today I don’t know what they’d do

Interviewer:
why what was –

Nellie:
I mean – she was so disciplined, she just gave out so much discipline. I mean I had to have a lot of time off for bad hands for having the red cane

Interviewer:
the red cane?

Nellie:
the red cane – ooh we always had a red cane

Interviewer:
why a red one?      

Nellie:
I don’t know – but it was on – assembly one morning and I was very very friendly with a superintendent police officer’s daughter, her name was miss Bowly, well it was Helda Bowly really, and we were very very great friends and of course in this particular assembly she said – she gave it out from the platform that if anybody spoke, they’d be fetched out and caned, and of course Helda spoke to me, she said something to me – well she fetched her out and gave her the cane and the of course when she got back I sympathise with her and I got it as well [laughs]

Interviewer:
oh dear

Nellie:
ooh but I did have some bad hands, my mother – my mother did go up about that I mean she was very very annoyed about it

Interviewer:
was it always the headmistress that gave you the cane?

Nellie:
yes, ooh yes – but the teachers were lovely, ever so nice

Edith:
we had a victor at St Margaret’s church who used to come every Wednesday morning to give us a lesion on scripture – that were religion and – you could hear him all over Leicester, he got such a deep voice and he used to frighten us all to death – I don’t think of anybody that didn’t answer his question, you got to answer his questions or you were in the black spot.

Joe:
it was – it was really marvellous the teaching that they gave you at Green Lane School, although we as kids used to call it the college of hardnugs [??] as they caned us so much – used to cane you quite a lot in them days

Interviewer:
did you get the cane?

Joe:
ooh yes – very often

Interviewer:
what would you have done to deserve that?

Joe:
perhaps – well there was one teacher who didn’t like little boys and I mean little boys in size – I was a very very small child only four feet – four feet six when I was 18 and half – and – he would fetch you out and cane you before the class and that sort of thing just merely – just sort of for his own – feelings.

Interviewer:
for nothing really? 

Joe:
really – and they would – we used to have a big cupboard that we used to keep books in – you know big [??] – well he’d make you clear the bottom shelf of that out and lock you – lock you in the bottom shelf there, perhaps for the whole of the morning and things like that.

Interviewer: even when you haven’t done anything – to deserve it?

Joe:
well I suppose, might have done something – but nothing to deserve punishment like that.

Duration

5 Minutes 46 Seconds

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