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Domestic Discipline

The Plimsol or The Slipper

I’d be interested to know which of the above – plimsoll or carpet slipper – most people thought was more effective or painful to receive.

I was talking about this to my wife the other night and I was saying that at school I had the plimsoll and at home the slipper and thought the plimsoll hurt more. She on the other hand, received a teachers carpet slipper at school and at home her mum used a plimsoll and she thought the slipper was more painful.


Personally I think the plimsoll that I got at school from the gym teacher hurt more than dad with his slipper at home. However i think the real reason is that school teachers whacked harder as they were used to doing it – and knew how to do it well. They also knew how to get the victim to bend over correctly to tan their bottom. i sno that the answer – teacher always hurt more irrespective of implement used.


The use of a carpet slipper at school was unusual. It would have to have been brought in by a teacher with the express purpose of using it as an instrument of punishment, whereas a plimsoll would have been readily available in schools.


A slipper was unusual and I said as much to my wife, but apparently this particular teacher made a big thing of having her husband’s big slipper specifically for using on what she (the teacher) described as “naughty little girls like you”

My wife got it on three occasions for cheeking, skipping PE, and for missing detention. All three times it was given across her skirt – my wife thinks that they weren’t allowed to lift girls’ skirts – and she got 3, 6, and another 6 whacks for the offenses respectively.


I know that ‘slipper’ in most UK schools referred to, not a domestic slipper, but rather a gym shoe, plimsoll, or dap, none of which bore any resemblance to what your dad used to wear around the house. So why did virtually everyone call it a slipper? The very first time I was sent to the head was when I was about 8, and I knew that I was about to be introduced to the infamous slipper that I had heard some boys in my class talk about. The image in my head, quite appropriately, was perhaps of a floppy old M&S slipper that men in my family used to wear, so imagine my surprise when I was told to bend over to be whacked with a thin black plimsoll with a ribbed sole, not smooth like a carpet slipper. I thought that the head had decided against using the slipper on me for some reason, and it wasn’t until I compared notes with a couple of boys in the playground that I realized that that was, indeed, the notorious ‘slipper’.
Can anyone shed light on why that particular punishment has been called by the wrong name since the beginning o time?


I had never heard of ‘dapping’ before – where have I been, I hear you ask! You say in your last paragraph that real slippers were only used at home but, apart from the Beano, Dandy, and, in Scotland, Oor Wullie, I have never met anyone whose father or whoever actually made use of a slipper to punish them. My dad only ever used his hand; likewise every single one of my friends. The slipper was, in our minds, a pure school punishment, and any father who used it would have been a vicious bastard! How prevalent do you think it was? I suspect it was given by dads who were institutionalized at boarding school, and who knew no other way of punishing than with a cane or slipper. In which case the punishment may well have been tied up with ritual, e.g. waiting outside my room until I am ready. It is unpleasant to think that for some people home and school were barely distinguishable.


My dad used his carpet slipper on the bottom on the seat of my pj’s – generally as I tried to fight to get away!!

At school, we got the slipper with the gym shoe. As for the origin of the “slipper” phrase, I believe that these types of shoes started as sailors’ deck shoes to stop them from slipping on wet decks in the late 1800’s early 1900s. I suspect they were in school pe lessons by the mid-1920s. As the cane was still around, I bet they were used mainly on girls – hence the idea that they were mainly girly and junior schoolboy punishment devices.

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