Is this the same Viscountess Jackson I knew in Goldenbridge?
Geraldine possibly did drink from a toilet bowl (I know I didn’t, especially as there was a tap in the yard).
During the time of the Goldenbridge controversy, it was claimed by someone close to Sr. Xaveria that they (her gang of cronies from the LOVE contingency) were to say to the commission to inquire into child abuse (CICA) that ‘there was a tap in the yard.’ I do have a vague recollection of a tap in the yard, but it can’t have been there always. Or, if it was it was hardly in working order. The reason I say this, is because I used to scoop up water from the cistern and toilet bowl at the end of the yard, as did other children. I also lifted water out of the toilet with a marmalade can at the end of the yard. I can still see the inner orange coloured reflection, as the water danced and moved inside the can. I can’t for the life of me fathom as to why other children and myself would have been drinking out of the toilets in the yard if there was a tap there? Whether it worked is another thing! However, there would have been no access to the yard at night-time, or the washroom, or laundry in the earlier years before Carmel was built, so that meant no access to water. Children who wet the bed were not allowed to drink fluids after 6: 00 p.m.
The poor Viscountess possibly did have teeth extracted by a dentist, like the rest of us, but I see hers were “yanked out . . . needlessly”
How utterly condescending to address a survivor of Goldenbridge in that manner. I would surmise that the author is personally digging at Geraldine’s title, as opposed to addressing the ‘teeth’ issue.
Geraldine is perfectly aware that Sr Xaveria always had the toddlers in the nursery running after her when she walked in. She’d hand them sweets, pat them on their little heads, and they’d run after her pulling at her habit. Wonder if the two Geraldine’s are related?
What a load of old baloney. Sr. Xaveria beat the living daylights out of small and big children – who were lined up every single morning in St. Patrick’s classroom – that was meant for teaching children. They feared for their lives of this fearsome nun who frothed at the mouth and danced, as she rained down the shiny bark of a tree on them. Some children even wet themselves they were so distraught. Last thing at night the same nun was to be seen flogging children who would have been waiting for hours on end in sleeveless nighties and bare feet on a cold landing, just outside her cell.
There was a room – I wouldn’t call it a nursery, as there were no special facilities befitting a nursery where babies and toddlers were strapped on potties for long durations. They were fed on these potties, and they slept on these potties. In all my time in Goldenbridge I never witnessed Sr. Xaveria going to that room to nurture and give them sweets. I really do not know where Angel Howard gets this information? Is she one of the clan who was told to say ‘there was a tap in the yard?’ ‘Pulling and running after her habit,’ is this for real? I never saw the nun lift a child in her arms from the day I went there to the day I left. I do know though, that she did soften when she went to Rathdrum, and maybe there she was openly kinder to children, as she would not have had the stresses and strains that she so obviously had to contend with in Goldenbridge. Rathdrum was also very open, and not an enclosed prison-like environment, so she would not have got away with such brutal behaviour there, that was the norm in Goldenbridge. Sr. Xaveria ruled the roost, and took it upon herself to boss everyone in sight. Children, nuns in the convent, parents, workers, the whole shebang. How dare Angel Howard make snide remarks such as “Wonder if the two Geraldine’s are related?” I too wonder if Angel Howard and Florence Horseman-Hogan are one and the same person with respect of this abominable article. It reeks of the latter.
Another letter was also written to the the media that followed the one above:
Drinking water from toilets
7.377 It was alleged that the children in Goldenbridge did not have access to water during the day, and had to resort to drinking water from either the toilet bowl or the cistern.
7.378 One witness described it as follows:
We used to all drink out of the toilets. There was toilets at the end of the yard, we used to go down there. There was no taps, you just flushed the chain and drink the water.
7.379 When asked whether he recalled a drinking fountain in the yard, he said:
No. There used to be a little push handle thing down, that hardly ever worked. I remember it did work, it didn’t always work. I am sure it was there … We used to … drink out of the toilets anyway. You followed what the other kids done.
7.380 Another witness said:
In between meals there was no facility for a glass of water, there was nothing, nowhere you could, we didn’t have money to buy anything. There was no machines, no vending in those days. Nothing like that. You would go to the toilets where they had the loose top and you would scoop water up, you would scoop it up in your hand or you would get something like– I don’t know how to describe it. It was like a funnel from the big dryers, there was a little connection, you would get it and you would drink the water from the cistern. I mean, you wouldn’t think whether this is healthy or unhealthy.
7.381 One witness said:
We used to drink water out of the toilets, out of the either the bowl or the cistern depending on how tall you were … I mean, I see in a statement from Sr Alida she said that a tap was in the yard, I don’t know where it was because I was never allowed have a drink out of it.
7.382 When asked if she remembered a tap or drinking fountain in the yard, she said:
I was there for twelve years and I don’t remember seeing a tap in the yard. I do remember drinking water out of the toilets, out of the cistern, out of the bowl.
7.383 Another witness said:
Because they wouldn’t give you water. You asked for water and you weren’t given it. So obviously to try and survive, you would come out, you would be in the yard and you would go into the toilets in the yard and flush the toilets and drink water from the toilets. That wasn’t just a once-off, that was on a good number of occasions.
7.384 Another witness, when asked about the existence of a drinking fountain in the yard, said that if there had been a fountain in the yard it must have been broken‘because we used to drink out literally of the toilet or lift up the cistern, the top of the toilet’.
7.385 Sr Alida stated there was a drinking fountain in the yard which came from Liverpool and was marked ‘hooligan proof’. It remained in working order until the time she left Goldenbridge. She also stated that children could get water from the kitchen and a small bathroom under the stairs.
7.386 One explanation for the lack of access to water is in relation to the problem of bed-wetting which, according to Sr Alida, was ’a huge problem’ that existed in Goldenbridge. Sr Alida said they had sought medical advice, and one of the recommendations was the deprivation of all fluids before bedtime.
7.387 However, Sr Venetia stated to Mr Crowley that children used to drink from the toilet cistern. In his report he stated:
Sr Venetia confirmed the allegations in relation to the tumble dryer and drinking from the toilet cistern.
7.388 The Sisters of Mercy denied that children were deprived of water as there was a drinking fountain in the yard. They conceded, however, that on foot of medical advice they deprived children who were prone to wetting the bed of water from a certain time in the afternoon. These children may have resorted to covertly drinking from the toilet. They asserted that this is another example of how a practice became distorted and exaggerated by witnesses.