The terms birching pony, birching stool or whipping stool refer to items of spanking furniture that were used in British correctional institutions for corporal punishment. In these, the delinquent was standing with their feet on the floor or on a height-adjustible step, bent forward at an obtuse angle in a half-standing position. The item is thus different from a four-legged birching horse and also different from flogging triangles and A-frames and caning trestles. Similar items are also found in Australia.
The offender was restrained to the item and the punishment was applied to their buttocks, typically with a birch, perhaps in some cases also with a cane. The birchings were always given on the bare buttocks.
Today, examples of this item of judicial corporal punishment furniture can be found in museums.
Some examples have an arced shape and are "three-legged". The offender's legs were parted by the vertical part of the "pony", with their feet placed to the left and right of the base. These were, perhaps, inspired by the horsed position.
Other variants have different individual designs and the offender's legs were not necessarily parted.
- The Greater Manchester Police Museum features an original 19th century birching stool, from Minshull Street Courts in Manchester (scroll down about halfway the page)
- Birching stool with an officer posing with a birch as used in Leeds in the 1920s
- Ripon Police & Prison Museum birching stool (previously in Leeds, stock photo)
- Birching stool - used to give young offenders "six of the best" from Ripon Police & Prison Museum (previously in Leeds)
- Birching stool photo from the prison in Newgate Street, Jersey
- Visitor bending over a birching pony at The Galleries of Justice in Nottingham
- Arced birching stool, originally from Sunderland police station, displayed in the Beamish Museum in County Durham
- A timber whipping stool on auction in Sydney
- Old Dubbo Gaol with a whipping stool (NSW, Australia)
- Another photo of a whipping stool from the 1800s in NSW, Australia
- Judicial and prison corporal punishment in Britain on World Corporal Punishment Research, with several further examples
- Return to the Punishment Room, M/M spanking photo set, contemporary but set around 1900, with a birching pony