Workhouse whippings

Posted at 10:35 on 1 May 2008 by Pandora / Blake

Tags: bullwhip, Fantasies, other pictures, Victoriana, Vintage, whip

Spankboss of Spanking Blog posted a link this morning to this collection of illustrations which accompanied early editions of the book Nell in Bridewell. I haven't read or heard of this book before, but apparently it's a famous late Victorian story about workhouse whippings. Spankboss is after some higher resolution scans of the twelve plates, so please do comment on his entry if you can help him out. These illustrations are, however, completely new to me. I like them rather a lot.

I think the strong appeal of the above image (and the one following it) is the unusual combination of position and implement. I've seen images of girls stretched out flat and restrained on whipping benches before, and the lifted bottom in the first picture, presumably over a wooden block, is a particularly nice touch. But lying down is a position I would normally associate with more domestic punishments - with hand spanking, tawse, paddle or cane. The cat o' nine tails, birches and single-tail whips of the Nell illustrations are far more commonly associated with victims restrained in a standing position, arms above head - and with whole body or bare back punishments (which we do in fact see later in the series). I love whips, and I love upright whippings, but it's nice to see this conjunction of one of my favourite implements and a very traditionally erotic corporal punishment position.

Bare-back whippings are hot, for me, in a different way to punishment applied to the bottom. Back whipping is sexy because of context, realism; because it fits into a fantasy or a historical setting. It doesn't provide that instant jolt of desire, that masochistic surge, that bottom whipping does. Or at least, not in the same way. It's kind of hard to describe.

(Funnily enough, I had a dream the night before last about bottom whipping using just such a short single-tail whip - a signal whip or similar. The setting of the dream was an old-fashioned boy's public school in which fagging still took place. A bullying prefect had lined up some younger boys who had displeased him for punishment. Trousers down, the boys were perched on a row of playground swings with their bums vulnerably hanging over the edge of the seat. The resulting angle of the swing put them on tiptoe, thighs supported by the wooden seat and upper bodies tipping forward for balance. Their tormentor paced behind them with the coiled whip, giving each a slow, hard six lashes across their exposed cheeks. Some of the strokes were so hard that they made the victim stumble forward, losing their balance and pitching onto the ground in front of them. I have no idea if such a position would be workable, but it was an intriguing image.)


What a beautiful picture! It reminds me of a book that Mr. Williams gave me when we were still friends and just sharing our interest in spanking with each other, called "Fancy Girl." It had a punishment house scene with a spanking bench, and I've been after one ever since. Oddly, an unused room in my office has a long wooden table with two long wooden benches much like the one pictured here. I lust after this furniture and it has fostered many a mid-day fantasy. If only I could somehow sneak a large antique table set home in the trunk of my small car!

I've noticed that spankophiles, in my experience, tend to veer away from bare back whippings, in both practice and discussion. I will confess here for the first time (even Mr. W doesn't know this, though he will now) that my first punishment experiences as a teen were with bare back whippings, and they are a completely different sensual and mental experience. They do connect one to the idea of being punished historically, don't they? I used to pretend I was a seventeenth century colonial witch, chosen to be punished but not executed for my misdeeds, and the punishment would begin with a back whipping, but the punisher would be distracted and slowly the strokes would fall lower and lower until my backside was the focus of the punishment.

Lovely post, as always.

Best wishes,

Mmm, those pics really tapped into something buried deep inside my kink. I'd love to do a workhouse scene, but so much of the appeal is in the context - the dirty floors and unpolished wood, the whipping bench over which so many punishments have been administered, the jeering or disapproving crowd. Still, we have our imaginations... I just wish Tom (who is much more into this sort of CP than my other Dom) and I had more time for roleplay. Reality bites.

I like the sound of the table at your office. Could you possibly get hold of a key for some after-hours adventures, or are you not interested in that sort of risk? I've been spanked and more in a partner's office before - including on his boss' desk - which was very hot indeed, but sadly it was standard office furniture, nowhere near as atmospheric as the furniture you describe :)

In my experience there's quite a lot of crossover between spankos and back whipping enthusiasts - although it's impossible to judge on the basis of anecdotal evidence; maybe because I'm more of a BDSM player than the average spanko I attract people who are wired the same way. They are a completely different sensual and mental experience. I've always found it hard to describe exactly what the difference is, and this discussion has inspired me to try and do it justice in a separate entry.

Your witch fantasy is rather lovely. I've never had it myself - having "alternative" spiritual leanings myself, it's always been a little too close to the bone to be viable fantasy material for me. The idea of the whipping that gradually sinks lower is deliciously compelling. During the best back whippings I've had there have always been a few strokes that fell across my backside, just to insert a jolt of pure arousal into the experience. It's funny how a whipping that starts and ends on the bottom alone can be genuinely unpleasant in the right context, something I struggle against and want to end, but after having my back whipped, any contact to the buttocks is pure unadulterated pleasure. Masochism is fascinating. I still don't understand mine!

Many thanks for your comment - as ever. I love our exchanges and am really enjoying gradually getting to know you better. It's always such a pleasure to receive a reply from you, and you seem to understand where I'm coming from better than many people I've met in the scene. I think we perhaps have similar mixture of punishment kink and genuine masochistic enjoyment of sensual pain, among other things?

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