Christine O'Mahony: Getting Hit

Christine O’Mahony was born in 1952 in Northampton. As a young child Christine spent time in Nazareth House children’s homes with her two sisters, before returning to family life in Camden, London aged five. Christine attended local C of E and Catholic primary schools and a local Catholic Secondary School, also spending time in hospital aged seven.

Here Christine talks about being hit as a punishment at school.

  • Christine O'Mahony
  • Christine O'Mahony
  • Christine O'Mahony


I remember getting hit once in my first class. It was a nun but I think I was talking when I shouldn’t have done, she had this thing that she’d like to hear a pin drop and she would literally stand and hold a pin up so that she could hear it drop, and I think I must have not heard that I wasn’t supposed to be talking and she came and hit me with a ruler. And unfortunately for her and for me the ruler was broken so it actually cut my hand and I knew she shouldn’t have, you know, that she’d gone too far and I kind of made a point of letting her know and she sort of held it and expressed a bit of remorse, but I think it was only ‘cause she didn’t want to get in trouble rather than because she actually felt any remorse.

You did get hit at school in those days, you know, it was quite acceptable for children to get hit and she would do this thing like, she’d give no warning, she’s suddenly, you know, if you were doing something wrong she’d suddenly grab you and she’d kind of swing you around and slap you really hard on the back of your thighs, and you used to have real hand marks on them, both thighs, you know, these two great wheals on you, you know. And you wouldn’t even really know what you’d been hit for, do you know what I mean, I remember her once doing it to me in the dinner queue and I wasn’t sure what it was I’d actually done, you know, but something. And she actually had a kid at our school and we all felt so sorry for this girl ‘cause she got hit more than any of us, you know.

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