AS the Cowdenbeath social history project goes into the new decade their first issue of the year they want experiences of is the Lochgelly Tawse!

The belt, as it was better known, was used by teachers across Scotland to ensure discipline in the classroom and it was used at Beath High School, then Beath Junior and Senior Highs in Cowdenbeath, and the primary schools.

The Cowdenbeath Social History film project is being produced by Anim8s artists, Martin and Andrew, who have been continuing to meet with local people, recording and filming people’s stories and gathering all kinds of ideas and inspirations. Once again, their thanks goes to everyone who has helped them out so far!

The films aim to cover a broad range of subjects including the No.7 Pitin the town centre, The Donibristle Disaster, the Co-op fire, the local Civic Week, and of course The Blue Brazil and the Tawse!

This week Martin and Andrew would like to hear your stories about the Tawse.

School ‘belts’ were manufactured all over Scotland but it’s the ones made by John J Dick Leather Goods, at their shops in Lochgelly and later in Cowdenbeath, that remain foremost in people’s memories.

Anim8s artist, Martin Ayres, said: “I remember getting the belt at school but working here on this project has really opened my eyes to the story of the tawse.

"As well as being made in the area it was a court case taken to the European Court of Justice by a Cowdenbeath woman, that helped bring an end to what many consider having been a barbaric punishment. It’s like the story went full circle from its making to its banning all within a few miles in this area. An amazing story”.

Were you ever given ‘six of the best’? If you have any memories, pictures or stories or maybe even old photos you’d like to share please contact Martin on 01383 415598 or by email at

Once complete the Cowdenbeath film will be available online and via a special app which will people will be able to access in the town centre.