The Baby In The Biscuit Tin


SKU paperback Category

175 in stock


By Kathy Lavelle

ISBN: 978-1-78382-087-0
Published: 2014
Pages: 194
Key Themes: Mental Health, Mental Illness


This is Kathys story written in the first person. It is a tale of strength and courage, endurance and survival. Kathy is a sixteen-year-old girl in the 1950s, who has been sexually abused by her uncle and eventually becomes pregnant and gives birth to a baby boy. To avoid the disgrace of an illegitimate child, the family claimed the baby was stillborn, although Kathy is convinced that he was born alive. They put him in a biscuit tin and buried him in the dark of night in an unconsecrated graveyard. Kathy was removed to a mental asylum on the strength of a doctor who had never seen her but only on the word of Father Lynch, the local parish priest who in those days had all the authority to speak. The birth of the baby was kept secret outside the family. There are many twists and turns in the story and later we find out a lot about Father Lynchs own personal life.

Over the fifteen years of her incarceration, Kathy witnesses the violence and various mental illnesses of other inmates. In the asylum, The Manor, the enormous, rambling building high in the mountains, Kathy was completely cut off from the rest of the world. She was befriended by Meg, an inmate herself who had also been wrongly incarcerated. Meg had been a teacher in the outside world and taught Kathy to read and write and eventually encouraged her to write her story.

The old doctors had been harsh and unhelpful playing along with the system but along came Charles, a younger psychiatrist who was determined to see justice for those who had been wrongly incarcerated. He had a particular interest in Kathys situation and discovered some vital new evidence regarding the birth of the baby.

About the Author

Kathy Lavelle was born into a small British rural community whose main source of income was generated through agriculture. In the 40s and 50s, she was saddened by the inequality in her community, especially the exploitation of the poor, the uneducated and the mentally challenged individuals with whom she grew up. She witnessed the abuse and injustices that were often done to young people, especially orphans and young pregnant girls, who had been taken advantage of or manipulated by a community dominated by the churches and the so called pillars of society. Sadly there were times when the church could become a strong voice in the community and worked alongside a Mental Health system that operated with all of these in a manner more akin to a secret society of sorts.

Kathy later spread her wings and moved to London where she qualified as a teacher, then took an Open University BA Degree, a Masters Degree in the study of Special Educational Needs, and after her retirement she studied for a BA in English and Creative Writing, which led to this her first novel. Throughout her career, she taught in Nottingham, Ireland and California. She was a primary school Principal in London for the final twenty years of her teaching life.


There are no reviews yet.

Only logged in customers who have purchased this product may leave a review.