On spanking and Victorian household management

30Jul10

Examples of Victorian domestic correction and (far right) Mrs Beeton

Here in Britain the BBC TV recently showed again their teleplay The Secret Life of Mrs Beeton (shown on Masterpiece Theatre in the US).

For those who don’t know, at the age of only 22, Mrs Beeton wrote a very famous book on Victorian household management, which is still in print today.

Her husband and publisher, Samuel Orchart Beeton, was the first UK publisher of Uncle Tom’s Cabin and perhaps of more interest to readers here The Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine.

The EDM, although considered a wholesome family magazine of the time, did feature extensive accounts and suggestions on the discipline of young women. Some of which has been discussed on the Voice before.

Indeed, so graphic did some of the articles and letters become that even today the respectable magazine is often denounced as “to contain barely disguised episodes of sadomasochistic fantasy in the form of lengthy descriptions and discussions of whipping.”

It is clear that Mr Beeton had a prurient interest in all things spanking. Perhaps that is why he was drawn to Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Although to be fair to his detractors, he did eventually pull the flagellation strand from his magazine, sensing perhaps that he had allowed it go too far.

Here is a taste of the kind of thing reported:

“I am distinctly in favour of the rod, duty, obedience and discipline make for very good, well behaved girls. Even ladies of rank must on occasion be treated like a child and put across the knee. She must make her own arrangements for her punishment, as it is essential that she must loose all sense of power. Failing this the party administering the punishment should always part or lower the girl’s draws as this adds to the feelings of shame.”

“As to witnesses, this can be can be held as a threat to ensure that there is no rebellion. However, if one carries out this threat, then have a care who is present to avoid a possible scandal. If done with propriety it serves the lady well to be taken down a peg or two.”

There was a great deal more in this vein, although the text often had an annoying habit of breaking out in French at intervals to obscure the meaning for the less educated reader.

This brings us to the point of this post.

In the afore mentioned play Mr Beeton’s fascination with flagellation was touched upon. However it was entirely attributed to insanity brought on by his syphilis. Now had this been merely a reporting of a Victorian view than it would have been understandable, but this analysis was delivered by the dead Mrs Beeton describing her husband’s life after hers. Words put into her mouth by the 21st century playwright.

It is odd that in a so-called enlightened age the sexuality of a whole section of society has to be explained away as an illness. Would they have made so glib a statement if Mr Beeton had been gay.

So be advised the Victorians are not yet safely dead and all of you who have an interest here are apparently insane. They are coming to take you away…

Ends.



8 Responses to “On spanking and Victorian household management”

  1. You continue to amaze me with your resources and never ending posts about all things CP an spanking related. Do you spend all day doing reserarch to find all this stuff? 🙂

  2. I agree another person present adds to the disipline sometimes to hold the naughty person down if she squirms and wriggles also add to the disipline to be punished in front of a wittness!!!

  3. In the so called ‘good olde days’, the Victorian household was ruled by the master of the house, be it his wife who was naughty, or his daughter, his mother-in-law, grandmother, aunt, niece, maid, female cook, nanny, or any other female working in his household, she would be subject to corporal discipline. Corporal Discipline would take the form of a good birching, caning or whipping on the naughty female’s bare bottom. For up would go their dresssess, down would come their knickers, or bloomers, and on these naughty female naked bare bottoms, these painfull spanking implements would be put to good use, Most painfull use.

  4. 4 Tony Conrad

    I don’t think one should take pleasure in anothers punishment. Two adults consenting is a different thing.

    • 5 DJ

      An interesting point and food for thought, not to say a post. Thanks Tony 🙂

  5. 6 bubsy

    It would not be necessary to hold the girl down as it is likely a punishment ‘horse’ would be used to strap her down to then have her bottom bared for a thorough caning or birching depending on the degree of disobedience. The girls mother would be present to determine when she had taken enough to be punished

    • 7 DJ

      that’s one way – I suspect though it was not usually so full on as that


  1. 1 Victorian spanking | Marcpilkington

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