"Abolish the whipping and homework!": How schoolchildren revolted and defeated teachers
"Abolish the whipping and homework!": How schoolchildren revolted and defeated teachers
The teacher whips the student with rods

In September 1911, unusual demonstrators took to the streets of many cities in Great Britain. These were schoolchildren who made a number of demands. How they managed to walk freely and defeat the system - further in the review.

British schoolchildren during the Victorian era

At the end of the 19th century, when a strict Victorian morality reigned in Britain, the life of schoolchildren was not as carefree as it is today. In addition to learning ancient Greek and Latin, students were regularly subjected to corporal punishment. Sir Winston Churchill recalls in his memoirs that even he, the offspring of the old Marlboro family, was mercilessly flogged in an elite private school for the slightest offense. In those years, this was considered the norm.

A boy tries to play a trick on a London policeman, early twentieth century

But schoolchildren did not always put up with this state of affairs. History remembered several cases when students dropped out of lessons and staged real protests.

In 1911, riots broke out in many cities in Great Britain: factory workers, women from factories, sailors and dock workers went on strike. They demanded what the working class always wants: higher wages and better working conditions. In early September, when schools opened, schoolchildren also began their strike.

British schoolchildren demand the abolition of corporal punishment, 1889

On September 5, schoolchildren began their protest in several cities in the UK. They walked in droves through the streets, shouting slogans, singing "battle" songs. They caught and beat the pupils who went to school.

The rebels demanded: "Down with homework!" And "No cane!" They wanted to reduce homework, increase vacation time, and most importantly, get corporal punishment abolished.

Police constables in the streets of Shoreditch, east London, 1911

All events were immediately described in the press, thanks to which the riot of schoolchildren quickly increased to the scale of the entire country.

In Manchester, boys armed themselves with sticks to fend off police and teachers. During these marches, they smashed streetlights, shop windows, and even robbed a liquor store in Hartpool.

Shoreditch schoolchildren at a protest, 1911

How serious everything was, says an article in a London newspaper. The policeman was forced to retreat on horseback when he was chased away by students who occupied the schoolyard.

Schoolchildren in the British city of Hull demonstrated in 1911

The "school" riot did not last too long. Under pressure from their parents, the students again sat down at the desks they hated. But this mass demonstration also had good consequences. Many schools did reduce homework, but corporal punishment remained. Strikingly, in British schools, negligent students could legitimately be flogged until the 1980s.

It won't be long before period of the late XIX-early XX centuries. will be called the Belle Epoque.

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