Dora Spong and others
Ellen Beaver was arrested on February 14th 1907. In the newspapers she is described as a housekeeper aged thirty five from Crosland Moor, Huddersfield who was sentenced to a fine or fourteen days imprisonment. This is the same protest that Pattie Barrett and Ann Alice Older [see earlier blogs] participated in where the women attempted to enter the House of Commons.
Ellen’s correct name is Ellen Beever. She is often stated to be the aunt of Ann whereas she is in face her great aunt. Born in 1848, the daughter of Samuel and Mary Beever, she grew up in Holmfirth, Yorkshire. Her father was a weaver in the local mill and each of her siblings as they became old enough joined him. Ellen became a woollen weaver but by 1891 she has left the mill to work as a domestic. Her younger brother James had joined the police force which possibly placed him in a difficult position when Ellen joined the suffragette movement.
The 1901 census records Ellen as the only sibling still living at home caring for her elderly mother. Ten years later her mother has died and Ellen is living alone. She died in 1913.
Clara Bechstein arrested on February 19th 1909 was one of a group of eight arrested and charged with obstruction trying to enter the House of Commons. The group included one of the leaders, Charlotte Despard, and one man. They were attempting to deliver to the Prime Minster a written statement. At court the usual options as to sentence were a fine and agreeing to be bound over to keep the peace or imprisonment. Clara elected to be bound over.
It seems probable that Clare Bechstein is actually Helena Clara Kathleen Broadbent born in 1882 and used a combination of her own name and her mother’s, a ruse suffragettes often used to prevent family knowing if it was reported in the newspapers. Her mother was born in Germany where her parents, Howard Broadbent and Henriette Clara Katharina Bechstein, married. The couple settled in Mirfield, Yorkshire. Helena was the eldest of five children, one of whom died aged two in 1888. Her father worked as a bookkeeper but 1898 her father died leaving her mother to care for her four surviving children the youngest of whom was four years old.
Only months after her arrest her mother died and only two years later her only sister Doris also died. By the time of the 1911 census Helena is running the family home caring for her two brothers and two lodgers. Tragedy struck the family again when her brother Oscar was killed in 1917 at Flanders. Her sole surviving brother died in 1951. Helena died in 1963.
Ethel M Beckett was arrested twice on November 28th 1911 and January 29th 1913. The first offence was obstruction following her participation in an attempt to enter the House of Commons when she attempted to break through the police cordon. Ethel commented in court that hers was a protest against the cowardly behaviour of the Government against defenceless women. She was sentenced to five days in prison.
In January 1913 she was arrested for throwing a spanner twice at the windows of the Post Office in Dover Street, Piccadilly. She gave her address as the Woburn Palace Hotel. She was found guilty of malicious damage and was sentenced to three months imprisonment. The damage was valued at in excess of £5. An appeal was lodged against the sentence by her barrister George Rivers Blanco White, a supporter of women’s rights, on the grounds that no evidence had been presented at trial to verify the actual value of the damage. The judge dismissed the appeal in a matter of minutes remarking “...the point is an ingenious one, but there was no substance in it.”
Dora Beedham is recorded on the arrest record as well as Dora Spong which was her maiden name. She was arrested a total of five times. Born in 1879 to James and Frances she was the fourth daughter. Her elder sisters were Minnie born in 1869, Annie born in 1871 and Florence born in 1873 who herself was an active suffragette and like Doris was arrested. A fifth daughter Irene was born in 1882. Dora also had an elder brother, James, born in 1869 and a younger brother, Francis, born in 1875 who died the year before she was born. Her father founded Spong and Co, a company manufacturing household appliances such as coffee grinders, mincers or corkscrews, which became a household name.
Dora was intent on being a working woman qualifying as a midwife. In 1908 she joined the WSPU and was first arrested soon after on July 1st 1908 for her part in an attempt to enter the House of Commons and was sentenced one month imprisonment but due to ill health she was released early. She was arrested for a second time on July 12th 1909, one of over hundred suffragettes arrested for principally disorderly conduct or obstruction in connection with a march to the House of Commons. No record of her sentence has been found. Only a few days later her sister Florence was arrested and imprisoned in Holloway for one month. All the female members supported each other although none were as active as Dora and Florence. The youngest sister Irene advertised in Votes for Women as a singing teacher.
On October 14th 1910 she married Ralph Beedham who had trained as a formschneider, a wood engraver who carved an artist’s design into a wood block. Weeks later Dora was arrested for her part Black Friday but as for all the participants the charges were dropped. Whilst Ralph is recorded on the 1911 census Dora is not along with all the other female family members apart from Annie. The final two entries are March 2nd 1912 recorded as Dora Spong and March 5th recorded as Dora Beedham. These relate to two separate appearances in court when she was charged with smashing windows. Found guilty she was sentenced to two months imprisonment with hard labour.
Dora and Ralph went on to have two children: Ruth born in 1914 and David born in 1917. Dora died in 1969.
With thanks to the Museum of London
Annie Batchelor was arrested on February 12th 1908. As the London Daily News, February 12th 1908, wrote many women tried to enter the “Parliament of Men”. One attempt involved two vans on the tailgate of which sat men looking like typical delivery men. As they neared the Houses of Parliament they jumped down opening the back doors and out tumbled suffragettes who made straight for St Stephen’s entrance. They were quickly stopped by a line of hastily assembled police. The melee continued in Parliament Square with Annie Kenney and Christabel Pankhurst directing operations from hansom cabs. Other women drove through the square using megaphones to cite their protest.
Annie had travelled down from Yorkshire. In the reports of the court case her occupation is given as “idle”. Charged with obstruction she was found guilty and sentenced to six weeks in prison.
Ivy Constance Beach was arrested on March 5th 1912. Born in Southampton in 1881 it is not known who her parents were. By the age of nine she was at boarding school in Cheltenham and ten years later in 1901 she was an apprentice draper’s assistant living over the shop. No details of Ivy’s sentence have been found. Ivy died in 1931.
Olive Beamish, full name Agnes Olive, was born in 1890 in Cork, Ireland. Her father Ferdinand who described himself as a gentleman on his marriage certificate and her mother Frances had five children: four boys followed by Olive. The family moved from Ireland to England for the boys to be educated at Clifton College. She was sent to the local girl’s school joining the Women’s Social and Political Union at the age of sixteen. After school she went to Girton College, Cambridge studying mathematics with economics but was like all women at the time unable to graduate.
After university she moved to London and started working for the WSPU. All of her entries in the arrest record is under the name Phyliss Brady, the name she always gave to the police. Olive was first arrested on April 12th 1913 for being found with inflammable material with the intention of committing a felony. A railway carriage had been damaged by an explosion and the police believed the railway stations were to become a target. Olive and Millicent Dean with whom she was arrested were considered to be suspects. A policeman saw them walking in Croydon at 1.45am each carrying a leather travelling case. When questioned as to why they were out so late they replied they were returning from their holidays. Followed by the policeman for some distance they dropped the cases and ran. According to the newspaper reports the retrieved cases contained tins of paraffin paper saturated with oil, candles, matches, cotton wool and firelighters. There was also a piece of paper on which had been written “Beware of how you treat Mrs Pankhurst.”
When the two women appeared in court they requested an adjournment to prepare their defence. This was agreed to, bail being agreed at £50. Olive continued to use her false name and gave a false address. Olive was remanded in custody where she immediately went on hunger strike and was in due course force fed. At her trial she was sentenced to six weeks.
Olive continued to refuse food and the authorities continued to respond by force feeding. On April 25th 1913 the Prisoners (Temporary Discharge for Ill Health) Act 1913 came into force commonly known as the Cat and Mouse Act. This allowed prisoners who were in danger of dying to be released and then taken back into prison when they had sufficiently recovered. Olive was released three days after the Act came into force but failed to return to prison. Her details were circulated “late of Albany Street, Regents Park, twenty three years, 5ft 6in, complexion swarthy, hair dark, eyes dark, medium build.”
The police did not find Olive until January the following year, she was immediately returned to Holloway prison. Two days later she was charged with setting fire to a house in Englefield Green, Surrey. Olive’s response was “I am almost certain not to appear.” Back in prison awaiting trial Olive refused food. Concerns were expressed and in response the Bishop of London paid a surprise visit to Holloway. He reported that he found Olive well “and kindly and considerately treated by the prison officials.” He was not permitted to witness the force feeding but had been assured the only side effects were indigestion and sickness. Another prisoner he had interviewed only screamed he wrote as a protest at what was about to happen. His report angered the WSPU who felt it was a white wash as he had failed to witness the force feeding. Olive issued a statement in which she stated that she had informed the Bishop that force feeding was very painful and she was very weak. The Bishop; had assured her that her fellow prisoner only screamed through protest. When Olive put this to her she was clear that she had told the Bishop that she screamed as a means of relieving her feelings as she knew that what was about to happen was so awful, if she did not scream she would go mad.
An application for bail was made to the court to allow Olive to prepare her defence. Dr Flora Murray appeared to support the application informing the court that Olive was too ill to prepare her defence. She offered to undertake to have Olive living with her. The application was denied as Olive had been released before and disappeared, she had also avowed when charged not to appear again. However a subsequent application was successful.
When the case came to court Olive appeared wearing a long coat to which she had pinned bunches of violets. The prosecution evidence centred on suffragette literature found in the garden and the identification of them by a police officer at Holloway who had picked them out from thirteen women. Fifteen witnesses were called twelve of whom put the women at different places on the evening in question and few were certain that these were in fact the two involved. The house had been empty for three years and no one could say with any certainty how leaflets got into the garden. Olive’s barrister, George Rivers Blanco White, proffered no defence stating that the evidence was too flimsy on which to convict and thus Olive never spoke or gave an alibi. The judge was clear when he was speaking to the jury after the conclusion of the evidence that Olive had not said where she had been that night.
In less that fifteen minutes she was found guilty with the jury recommending clemency as she had been led astray by older women. Her barrister pointed out her health was frail which the judge dismissed stating it was her own fault as she refused food. She was sentenced to eighteen months, the judge’s only clemency being not to impose hard labour as he was entitled to do.
Tests were carried out on suffragettes on their release for the presence of bromide which relaxed the body making force feeding easier to administer. Its presence was detected when Olive was tested. Waldorf Astor, MP for Plymouth, alarmed at these revelations asked Reginald McKenna, Home Secretary, if there was any truth in these reports. Mckenna was clear no administration of bromide had taken place.
On March 25th 1914 Olive was released from prison have undertaken to stop her political activities. In the Suffragette she wrote that this had been a reluctant decision only made due to the state of her mother’s health. Whatever the truth of this statement at the time her mother lived until 1929. In a later letter Olive explained it was a combination of her mother’s health and the long term effect on her own health. She needed to earn a living and if she was too weak she would not be able to do so. Olive was tested again for bromide and again it was found to be present. This also found to be the case when tests were carried out on another suffragette. Dr Flora Murray outlined in a report supported by Dr Frank Moxon the consequences of the administration of bromide which could include long term mental impairment. It was a serious allegation in particular in light of the Home Secretary’s adamant denial but the gathering clouds of war seem to have averted the press attention.
After the First World War Olive founded a secretarial business in London joining the Clerical and Administrative Workers Union. Eventually moving to Suffolk she became a leading member of the Sudbury and Woodbridge Labour Party. She died in 1978.
With thanks to the Museum of London
Votes for Women
Ellen Barwell, whose name was Ellen Barnwell, was arrested on September 18th 1909 in Birmingham for taking part in the protests connected with Herbert Asquith’s visit to Birmingham. Following other disturbances Asquith by now had a term of body guards. When he arrived at Euston Station for his journey to Birmingham he was so closely guarded that his own sister had difficulty in joining the party. Anticipating trouble the city of Birmingham was heavily policed and barricades were placed to prevent any protestors reaching the Prime Minster who was to speak at Bingley Hall. Most of his journey to the Hall was conducted through underground passageways and even when he was travelling by car he was heavily flanked by mounted police. The roads around the Hall were closed and barricaded, the windows of the building padded and barred. The attendees at the meeting were escorted along a passageway lined with mounted police and in front of them another row of policemen.
To ensure that they were not barricaded out several suffragettes had taken lodgings in the road behind and in front of Bingley Hall. Two women threw stones from the lodging room breaking a window in the Hall, the police charged into the building and arrested them. Two others climbed onto a roof behind the Hall and with the help of an axe dislodged some roof tiles which they threw onto the roof of the Hall and Asquith’s car. At this the police turned hoses onto them to dislodge the women. Soaked to the skin the women stayed put even though the police were now throwing stones at them. They were eventually removed by officers who climbed behind them onto the roof. Wet and in one case bleeding from a head wound the women were marched to the police station in their stockinged feet. Another pair locked themselves into a room and continuously operated a car horn until the door was broken down and the horn removed. Many of the crowd had come to support the suffragettes who repeatedly attempted to break through the barricades. Anyone who objected in the Hall was forcibly ejected. Even on his carefully planned departure to the station one woman managed to throw stones through his train’s windows.
The women were refused bail, the right to talk to Mrs Pethick Lawrence or Christabel Pankhurst who had arrived from London to discuss their defence or dry clothes. Ellen was charged with throwing stones and breaking the train carriage window. She was sentenced to one month in prison. On her arrival at Winson Green she immediately went on hunger strike. She was force fed. The Nottingham Evening Post dated September 24th 1909 reported that the women had become quite weak and it had been anticipated that they would be released. However the authorities had dealt with the situation and the women had succumbed to the “gnawing pain of hunger”. The Home Office had visited the women and force fed the “obdurate” women. This involved feeding them beef tea through a tube to their stomachs. Their protests at this treatment was met with solitary confinement and handcuffs. Ellen was released on October 16th and was reported to look very ill.
Ellen was born in Birmingham in 1881 to George, electroplate worker and his wife, Sarah. In 1908 she married John Beamish Barnwell, a school attendance officer. They do not appear to have had any children and this one skirmish appears to have been the end of Ellen’s suffragette activities. She died in Birmingham in 1943.
Henrietta Barwell was part of the deputation that headed the protest which became known as Black Friday. They arrived at St Stephen’s entrance to the Houses of Parliament at about 1.30 where they stood for two hours corralled by the police helplessly watching as proceedings unfurled. Then Mrs Pankshurst, Mrs Garrett Anderson and Mrs Ayrton were shown into the Prime Minister’s room and were informed by his secretary that the Prime Minister would not see them. The three women were then shown back to the St Stephen’s entrance where they remained until six when the House of Commons rose.
William Barwell Browne Barwell married Elise Victorine, Countess Leiningen Westerbourg in 1873 in Budapest, Hungary. The couple had three children, Lilian born 1877, Henrietta born 1878 and Richard born 1879. By 1894 Lilian had died. Nine or ten years after the birth of Richard the marriage ran into difficulties. In her petition for divorce Elise stated that William was cruel to her. When Lilian was ill with TB contrary to doctor’s orders he insisted on her travelling abroad where she tragically died. Following Lilian’s funeral William then blamed Elise for their daughter’s death and prevented her having any contact with either Henrietta or Richard.
When Elise was permitted to return to the marital home William instructed the servants not to take any orders from her and regularly spat at her feet in contempt. Elise discovered that William was present in Henrietta’s room when she was bathing. She locked the door to prevent him whereupon he attacked her. Elise was not given any money by William and was driven to pawn her jewellery to raise funds. William’s cruelty escalated, in one incident he wrenched her hair out with a button hook. William had several mistresses some of whom he brought back to the marital home. The affidavit of Elise make for sad reading. Her petition was granted with maintenance of £300 per annum being awarded. Elise had custody of Henrietta, William could see her at the weekends but only at the home of a nominated person. Unusually for the time Richard could apply to the court himself for a discussion regarding his custody arrangements.
Like many suffragettes of any class or background personal tragedy influenced Henrietta’s support of women’s suffrage and rights. Following the divorce which was considered socially unacceptable at the time whatever the reason Elise, Henrietta and Richard are recorded as residing in a lodging house in Paddington. For appearances she states she is widowed. Ten years later Elise is living alone but although she petitioned for the divorce and William has remarried she this time states she has been married for thirty seven years. Like so many suffragettes Henrietta is not one the 1911 census return.
Henrietta was arrested on November 19th 1910 and November 25th 1910. On the first occasion the charges were dropped. One of second occasion she was charged with breaking windows at the War Office along with two others. Although the previous charge had been dropped it was taken into account when sentence was passed. All three strenuously objected which fell on deaf ears. Henrietta was sentenced to two months in prison.
In 1920 Henrietta married Leonard Whibley, a Greek scholar and confirmed bachelor aged fifty seven. Leonard died in 1940 and Henrietta in 1949.
Doris Bartrum was part of Black Friday, the newspaper reports and the iconic Daily Mirror picture bring home the tactics used against the women. In the press the women were quick to state that the police who normally patrolled were respectful as always, it was the police brought in from elsewhere on the instruction of the Home Office who acted with a callous disregard for anyone’s welfare. It is enlightening that all charges against the arrested women were dropped.
Mary Barnett was part of a deputation of women who attempted on February 24th 1909 to present a petition to the House of Commons. The women marched from Caxton Hall to the Houses of Parliament in single file as ordered by the police. A large cordon of police awaited them outside Parliament which the women repeatedly tried to breach. The newspapers reported that a large crown gathered to watch booing or cheering the women’s efforts. Many were arrested but some returned to Caxton Hall disappointed that they had not been. Four returned to Parliament to have another attempt but were turned away by the police who had to protect them from the by now angry crowd. Refusing to be bound over to keep the peace as she felt that she had done nothing wrong Mary was sentenced to a month in prison.
Pattie Barrett, aka Martha, was arrested twice in 1907 on February 14th and March 21st 1907. The February arrest related to an attempt to access the House of Commons. The women marched four abreast singing “Glory Glory Hallelujah” headed by Charlotte Despard as they rounded into Parliament Square the police moved towards them some on horseback. The women scattered into small groups all with the united aim of entering Parliament. Several of the newspaper reports write that the police were far from passive in their response. Pattie was fined ten shillings or imprisonment for one week. Alongside her on the march was her sister Julia Varley who was sentenced to the same.
Pattie nee was born Martha Varley to Richard and Martha in 1876. Richard was an engine tenter in a worsted mill which meant he was responsible for the operation of the machine that stretched the cloth as it dried. Julia was five years older than Martha and the two sisters had seven other siblings five of whom survived to adulthood. Both Julia and Martha started out their working lives as worsted weavers. Their mother died during the 1890s and by the 1901 census Julia is staying at home to care for the family.
In June 1899 Martha married George Ollive Barrett, a wine merchant’s bookkeeper, who died only three years later in 1902. According to newspaper reports following George’s death Julia and Martha moved in together. Whatever the truth of this by the 1911 census return on which both women are recorded Martha had returned to live with her father and Julia was living alone having moved to Selly Oak in Birmingham as a trade union organiser. The sister’s grandfather had been a Chartist campaigning for better working conditions and pay. This legacy impacted on most of the family, both of the sisters joined the WSPU. In 1911 two of their brothers worked for the Education Committee Corporation one as a chef and the other as assistant chef providing nutritious meals for underfed children whilst Martha was registration clerk at the Labour Exchange having previously worked as a visitor to check on the welfare of poor children.
On their release from Holloway the WSPU in Bradford intended to form a welcoming party at the station. They sent postcards to the women to inform them to get on a particular train but unfortunately these were never received. They returned home to be greeted by a few friends and family on an earlier train. The WSPU arranged instead for a welcome home supper the following week.
The two travelled to London again towards the end of March to again join a protest to the Houses of Parliament. They were two of seventy six arrested. Martha was fined forty shillings or a month in prison. Julia stated in court that she wanted to state that she had no complaint against the police but she had a huge contempt for the law and the men who made it. She was sentenced identically to her sister. Julia went on to be involved in the trade union movement more of which will under her own entry. Julia following retirement returned to Bradford to live with Martha who died in 1956.
Rachel Barrett was arrested May 27th 1913. She was appointed editor of the Suffragette and was arrested during a raid on the WSPU headquarters. Sentenced to nine months imprisonment she went on hunger strike being released under the Cat and Mouse Act. Rachel’s life is well documented at http://spartacus-educational.com/WbarrettR.htm
Janet Barrowman was arrested on March 9th 1912. The daughter of John and Helen she was born in Glasgow in 1880, one of nine children. Her father was a lime merchant who died in 1900. After she left school she worked as a bookkeeper. She travelled to London with other Glasgow women to take part in the window breaking. Unfortunately no details of her sentence have been found.
Elsie Bartlett was charged with window breaking on March 4th 1912 and was sentenced to one month’s imprisonment. Her crime was to break a window at No 4 Grand Hotel Buildings with a hammer causing damage said to amount to £4 10s. In court Elsie said “I wish to say that I am very sorry that my protest had to take this particular form, but it is the only argument to which this government will listen.”
Alice Barton was arrested on November 25 1910 no press reports have been found mentioning Alice which is due to the sheer numbers of women arrested. It is possible that this entry actually relates to Alice Burton who will be written about later.
Mary Bartrum whose full name was Mrs Doris Mary Bartrum was part of a deputation to the House of Commons with the aim of seeing the Prime Minster, Herbert Asquith. The protest had been organised because Asquith had reneged on the Conciliation Bill which would have given property owning women over thirty the vote. The bill passed its second reading but Asquith declared there was no Parliamentary time for a third reading as Parliament was to be dissolved. The suffragettes were incensed. The deputation were corralled by the police and forced to stay in one place where all they could do was watch the events unfurl. For four and half hours hundreds of suffragettes struggled with the police who were on foot and on horseback. The police’s approach was to wear the women down rather than arrest them. The women were met with beatings, batoning and punches. The Daily Mirror published, a few days afterwards, a picture of suffragette Ada Wright on the ground. As one eye witness reported she was bodily lifted and thrown back into the crowd. When she approached again a policeman struck her with all his force knocking her to the ground, as she tried to get to her feet she was struck again. As the picture shows a man remonstrates with the police but he was swiftly moved on. After knocking her down again and again she was left lying by a wall of the House of Lords.
As women marched towards the House of Parliament their banners were snatched from them by the police whilst they kicked or punched the women. Some women claimed they were sexually assaulted. Only after four and half hours did the police take to arresting the women rather than trying to wear them down. One hundred and nineteen were taking to the cells. In reports included in Votes for Women the women placed the blame at the drafting in of policemen from other areas who were not well trained or used to dealing with men.
When Winston Churchill became aware of the photograph that the Daily Mirror had taken he tried to suppress it but they refused publishing it on their front page. Its publication led to an enquiry into the day’s events which Churchill refused. The day became known as Black Friday. Perhaps unsurprisingly given the outcry at the women’s treatment the Home Office decided to offer no evidence and the women were discharged. Many questioned the reasoning behind this and felt the decision had been made as an election was coming up and it was an attempt to mollify the women. The suffragettes saw it as a victory due to the generally supportive press coverage and the clear
acknowledgement, in their eyes, that the government felt that any stand against them would make them unpopular at the forthcoming election.
Doris was born in October 1882 in Kensington, London to George, a produce merchant, and Janet. The family settled in Eastbourne, East Sussex. By 1901 George had retired and the family had moved back to London settling in Hampstead. The family were comfortably off, at sixteen Doris was still at school and they had a live in housekeeper. One of three children Doris married John Edward Bartrum on March 24th 1906. John was a mantle manufacturer for gas lamps and seller. The couple had two daughters Joanna born in 1908 and Bridget in 1914. John completed the 1911 census return where Doris is recorded as working as a commercial traveller in his business. Other than her name, her occupation, numbers of years married and number of children. No other details are recorded about Doris such as date or place of birth. This is true of the other women in the house on census night: Alice Glover single, Kate servant. Only her daughter’s and husband’s details are recorded in full. Someone presumably Doris has written in large red writing “VOTELESS Women of Household only prevented by illness from evading census, therefore have refused to give information to occupier”.
John and Doris divorced in 1918. The following year Doris married John Mackie. Doris died on December 27th 1933.
With thanks to the Museum of London
The women and man written about below demonstrate the personal hardship that often led women to protest and endure imprisonment and also the lengths that they were prepared to go to. The taking of a drug which would mean that force feeding would not have any impact is quite literally a decision to put your life on the line. The flip side to this is that they potentially put an innocent man in a situation where he could have lost his livelihood.
Kate Bard was arrested three times: November 27th 1911, March 12th 1912 and March 19th 1912. The first offence was breaking a window in the Local Government Board offices refusing the pay the fine she was imprisoned for five days. The only information she gave to the court was her address at the WSPU headquarters, Clement’s Inn. The March 1912 offences probably form part of the window breaking protests but due to the sheer number of prisoners some are not included in the press reports.
Kate Bard and K Bardsley appear on the Roll of Honour of Suffragette Prisoners. However only Kate Bard is included in the arrest records. The Suffragette Handkerchief at the Priest House, West Hoathly, signed by imprisoned suffragettes following the window breaking of March 1912, is autographed by Kathleen Bardsley. My hunch was that the two names were actually one and the same person. A search through the online collection at the Museum of London confirms that this hunch is correct. They hold a card with a photograph of a woman with the signature Kathleen Bardsley underneath in brackets “Kate Bard”.
On the basis that the photograph on the postcard is Kathleen it shows, as can be seen, a woman in her forties giving a possible birth date in the 1870s. The 1911 census return gave a hit but it seemed very unlikely that this would be the right person as many suffragettes did not complete the form. When the image opened it became clear instantly that this was Kathleen as written across it were the words “No Vote No Census.” The form was signed by the Registrar of Births, Marriages and Deaths not a member of the Bardsley family as would normally be the case. The only information is the family’s names: Kathleen and her two children: Madge and Geoffrey. Kathleen is also said to be married although her husband is not on the return. They are stated to have been born in Oxford.
Always up for a challenge I set about trying to find the family on earlier returns or a marriage between Kathleen and an otherwise anonymous man called Bardsley. I drew a complete blank. When you click on census returns ancestry will put up other possible hits, tellingly there were none. No searches produced any hits for the births of the children or definite marriages. I started to systematically reduce the amount of information proceeding on the assumption that most not all of the information on the 1911 census return was wrong. At last this produced a result Kathleen on the census ten years previously. Given this was the very early days of the suffrage campaign when the returns were not used as a form of protest it seemed likely more of the information was correct. Kathleen was born in Ireland, according to the return, not Oxfordshire being baptised Kathleen Blanche.
She married Robert Jeffrey Bardsley in Calcutta which is where their first child, a son, was born in April 1897, followed by a daughter in October 1898 in Darjeeling. Their son was baptised Robert Crawford and their daughter Margaret Mary, hence Madge a common shortening of Margaret. Geoffrey followed and it seems likely although not certain that he was born in England. Robert, the son, is not on the 1911 census return as he was visiting friends and appears separately. Robert, the husband, is not recorded in 1901 but in 1911 he is lodging in a house in Southport. The mystery still left is why Kathleen was so keen to hide? Was she separated from her husband and therefore wanted to be in the press under a pseudonym or was he merely up north on business?
Robert died in 1914 in the north of England whilst Kathleen died in 1956 in Watford.
A Barker was arrested on July 9th 1909, in all likelihood having taken part in an attempt to deliver a petition to Parliament. The information is so limited no further research is possible.
Lizzie Barkley, Elizabeth Berkley, was arrested March 21st 1907, one of the women who attempted to enter the House of Commons. Marching from Caxton Hall they were met by over five hundred policemen who formed an impenetrable wall. As women were arrested more pushed forward to replace them. The demonstration included many women from the North including Lizzie who came from Hebden Bridge. Refusing to pay the fine Lizzie was sentenced to fourteen days imprisonment.
Lizzie, a button machinist, was born in Wadsworth, Yorkshire in 1883. One of seven children of whom five survived to adulthood of George and Ann. George born in Durham trained as a teacher at the Durham Training College probably with the help of a scholarship as his father was unemployed. By 1891 the family situation has changed radically. George is recorded as unemployed, his wife Ann has gone out to work and times are clearly very hard as even their eleven year old son, Robert, is employed in an iron foundry in Halifax. In 1895 George died aged forty three. Lizzie is recorded on the 1911 census return probably because it was her mother’s legal responsibility to complete. Both Lizzie’s sisters are also employed in the textile industry.
Lizzie died unmarried in 1969 in Halifax, Yorkshire.
Dorothy Barnes was arrested on March 11th 1913. Dorothy along with four other women attempting to deliver a petition to the King during his procession from Buckingham Palace to the Houses of Parliament for the State Opening. Charged with obstruction the women pleaded the Bill of Rights as their defence stating that no one could be arrested for petitioning the King. This defence was dismissed and she was sentenced to one month’s imprisonment. In protest at Mrs Pankhurst’s imprisonment at the same time she refused food for six days but was not force fed. Sadly I have been unable to find out any more about Dorothy.
Arthur James Barnett was arrested on June 13th 1914. Arthur worked as a solicitor’s clerk for Messrs Hatchett, Jones, Bisgood and Marshall solicitors of the City of London, the firm had on occasion acted for suffragettes when they appeared in court. Arthur had taken into Holloway Prison a package for Grace Roe, the general secretary of the WSPU. The package contained apomorphine hydrochloride which would induced vomiting. Thus rendering force feeding useless. Arthur pleaded guilty but in his defence stated he had been tricked into delivering the parcel. He was fine £10 and five guineas costs. The firm immediately issued a notice stating they would no longer act for the suffragettes.
Arthur was born in London in 1879. When he was charged he was a married man with two children. He served in the First World War and his attestation papers show he was employed as a solicitor’s clerk indicating that his employers believed that he had been duped.
With thanks to the Museum of London