Content warning. Some visitors may find this object upsetting.

It is not surprising that many children did not enjoy maths at times in the past. This large abacus would have been used to help children learn to count. But this is not any ordinary abacus. It has a leather strap (known as a tawse) and a bundle of sticks (called a birch) attached to it. These instruments were used to hit children as a punishment for bad behaviour – or in this case, presumably for failure to learn to the standard demanded.

This form of punishment is known as corporal punishment. By 2021, 63 countries across the world had made corporal punishment illegal.

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Date: 1850
Materials : Wood, Leather
Size : 85cm x 35cm

Associated Activities

On Reflection

Memorialising… Children who experienced brutality at school



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