Birch Rod



Birch Rod 2004.371

This birch rod was owned and used by Dr Thomas Arnold (1795-1842). 

Dr Arnold was the renowned headmaster at Rugby School from 1828-1842. He reformed the school and increased intake of pupils by 100 during his time as headmaster. He was immortalised in the novel ‘Tom Brown School Days’ written by Thomas Hughes in 1857. The birch rod, made up of a bundle of long twigs, was used to punish boys at the school.  

It was given to the first Rugby library for their museum collection. The library was founded by local philanthropist Richard Henry Wood and opened in 1891. 

This birch rod along with 49 other objects will be on display in our new exhibition A History of Rugby in 50 Objects opening at Rugby Art Gallery and Museum on the 7th October.