At both my private prep schools for boys only (which I attended from the late 1950s until the early 60s), the PE teachers all used a very large leather sole house slipper with the top cut off to maintain disciplin. When I say large, I do mean it – when you bent over, it smacked both buttocks right in the middle each time.
All my PE teachers used the slipper a fair amount but Mr Scott [name changed – Ed] tended to use to it the most and the hardest. After getting the slipper from some teachers, some boys would say in private that it hadn’t stung that much – but nobody said that after being slippered by Mr Scott!
In the gym you were only allowed to wear white PE shorts and no other clothing. If you did something wrong, or you were not putting enough effort into exercising, you were sent to bend over the end of the vaulting box. That meant you were going to be slippered and filled you with dread as you assumed the position, waiting for Mr Scott to slipper you.
I found myself in that position a fair amount. Classes were small, about 15, and it was rare that boys went half a term (seven weeks, with two lessons a week) without getting slippered at least once. I never made it and as a rule, I got it twice each half term from Mr Scott. It was always two whacks except in your last year (we went to secondary at 13) when it was three.
Once over the box, Mr Scott kept you bending over and waiting a few minutes before going to the store room in the gym and getting the slipper. It was torture reaching across that box with your bottom protruding waiting for it to be slippered.
Slipper in hand, Mr Scott would come and stand next to you. You hoped the next thing would be a loud smack twice and two sharp stings as the slipper went across your shorts. At least five out of six times this was not the case.
Instead, you would feel him get hold of the top of your shorts from either side and with a sharp pull they were down to your knees. It was a dreadful feeling, bending over with your bottom on full view to the entire class. It wasn’t particularly the nudity – we were used to seeing each other’s private parts in the showers or when changing. Rather it was the shame that Mr Scott was going to whack your bare bottom like a little boy.
Eventually, you would hear a very loud smack and a terrible sting, which made your eyes water, would spread rapidly across your buttocks. This was repeated a few seconds later. Needless to say, Mr Scott slippered just as hard on the bare as he did over shorts.
After your punishment, you were then expected to pull your shorts up over your stinging bottom and carry on with the lesson. Often, a boy would be in too much pain to immediately put the required effort in, in which case it would be back over the box to have your bottom slippered again.