Cane-makers see bottom fall out of their market

Another in our series of Men Who Spank

…and those who don’t. From the anti-CP side of the equation comes a fella named Mr. Thorne.

Bend over!
Stickmaker Stan Thorne demonstrates the swish in a Coopers’ cane.
Photograph by David Mansell.

As you’ll have seen from reading our past posts on Men Who Spank, they come in all shapes and sizes. Some are more fanatical about Spanking boys bottoms than others.

Today, we’re going to take a look into the life of Stan Thorne from the 1990s. Really not that long ago, when you consider it. a big thanks to Colin Farrell for this great post. Here’s the link to Colin’s original clipping from the paper. And just a quick shout out again to Colin for those who do NOT know his exceptional catalogue and archive of everything there is to know about CP worldwide. Visit his site regularly it’s at

Cane-makers see bottom fall out of their market

By David Harrison, from The Observer, London, 1 May 1994

It is a sadistic headmaster’s dream. Thousands of canes in willow, chestnut, ash and ebony. Some cheap, some expensive; but all capable of inflicting pain.

They are stacked in neat rows ready for sale in Britain and abroad. In the workshop, the machines whine as yet more are crafted from long pieces of wood.

This is Coopers of Godalming, Britain’s oldest and biggest stickmaker, purveyors of walking sticks and umbrellas to the gentry, and of canes to schools all over Britain for 150 years.

Coopers’ canes have been used in most of Britain’s schools; public and state. It is highly likely that the canes wielded by the former Eton headmaster Anthony Chevenix-Trench were made in this part of rural Surrey.

Mr Chevenix-Trench’s penchant for caning was the subject of fierce debate last week when it emerged that a new book by Eton’s vice-provost, Tim Card, claimed that Chevenix-Trench was forced out of his job in 1970 because of his fondness for drink and beating pupils.

It is even possible that Mr Chevenix-Trench’s canes were fashioned personally by Stan Thorne, 67, a stickmaker at Coopers for 52 years. In the Fifties and Sixties—when Chevenix-Trench was making his mark as headmaster of Bradfield in Berkshire and at Eton—Coopers sold about 6,000 “headmaster’s canes” a year.

Mr Thorne remembers eager heads asking for “dozens” at a time. “Some of them were very enthusiastic. They went through canes like nobody’s business.”

“The ferocious stick-wielding master in the Billy Bunter Books,” Master Samuel Quelch


The “swishy” school canes immortalised by Samuel Quelch, the ferocious stick-wielding master in the Billy Bunter books, were not very durable. Many broke on contact with pupils’ backsides, partly because some heads were brutes, but also because, unless the canes were treated, they would dry out and become brittle.

A headmaster committed to corporal punishment needed reserves—the pain of having a boy to cane and nothing to cane him with.

Mr Thorne, retired now but still working for Coopers two days a week, takes no pride in his contribution to decades of schoolboy suffering—he disagrees with corporal punishment.

The cane, imported from the Far East, was steamed, bent, tied and baked into an instrument of violence. The finished product was sold mainly to schools and to farmers for driving animals.

Mr Thorne’s opposition to caning was shared by Anthony Hill-Reid, who owned Coopers from 1967 until 1989 and halted direct sales to schools.

In practice, schools simply bought them from the wholesalers instead.

Coopers sold its last batch of 3,000 canes to wholesalers 18 months ago. It does not plan to make any more. Mr Ward reckons there will be sufficient supplies to keep enthusiasts supplied for at least five years.

Punishment Day

The company still receives some strange requests, although it does not know whether they are from headmasters. “We get weird individ

uals asking for punishment canes,” said Mr Ward. “We always refuse. Please don’t publish our phone number, it will only encourage them.”



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