A Day In The Life of an Industrial School Boy

Industrial schools were places where every aspect of life was designed to punish. Most of the kids there had done little wrong except be born poorBut really everything about those places was a PUNISHMENT.

From the isolation from society, to the regimentation of little children – being forced to march from one place to another, children being forced to stand to attention in the yard semi-naked while the “nurse” inspected us OR, if the notion took her, have a good few of us scrubbed down with purple or brown iodine. Being forced to say rosaries was a PUNISHMENT, being forced violently to run around the yard with a lighted candle at night in the rain was a PUNISHMENT. Being forced violently to scrub toilets with your own toothbrush was a PUNISHMENT.

The Ragged Wagon

When I was recently asked about punishments in those places by someone who was never in those places I think she expected an answer like: “well they used they’re hands or fists to box us or clatter us, their feet to boot us and they used blackthorn sticks or big leather belts for more formal punishments.” Sounds like an answer that couldn’t be denied, even she could relate to those types of punishments. She was around 40 years old and she was from the era of corporal punishment. But that wasn’t the answer I gave her.

In those places EVERYTHING was part of your punishment. Mealtimes were a PUNISHMENT. Our food was vile, it really would have been illegal AND cruel to feed pigs on what we “survived” on. Our main food really was bread and dripping. And the dripping wasn’t the nice white strained stuff you’d see on the…

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