A humorous postcard from Genie Ball to Alice Hawkins who were both suffragettes. The image has been kindly provided by Peter Barratt, a descendent of Alice Hawkins. Sent in December 1911 it reads:
’Dear Miss Hawkins I hope you are quite well after your holiday at Holloway Castle. My husband has just got 2 months Hard Labour for breaking the Home Office window as a protest against Mr MacDougall sentence last Monday. Hoping you will have a happy Xmas and good new year. Yours truly Genie Ball
Both Genie and William are discussed in an earlier blog. Although Genie did not know it when the postcard was sent William was to be subjected to a month of force feeding. When he became confused William was certified as insane and a pauper. It was Genie’s endless campaigning that eventually led to his release.
Annie Baker was arrested on March 12th 1912. She was in fact Mrs Anne Baker. When she appeared before the magistrate’s court she was committed for trial. She was found guilty of obstruction and bound over to keep the peace. It appears from Votes for Women that she paid the fine and did not go to prison. However she is on the Suffragette Roll of Honour as having been imprisoned and whilst having been compiled in the 1950s it is not entirely accurate it does seem perfectly possible that Annie did go to prison. Neither age nor details of where she lived have been located so the trail goes cold.
Frances Baker was arrested on November 27th 1911. In a newspaper report she is reported to have been from Harley Street where she was presumably staying as Frances was in fact from the West of Ireland. A married woman she had travelled from Ireland as she felt very strongly about the injustice to women and was arrested for repeatedly trying to get break through the cordon by St Margaret’s Church, Westminster. The magistrate observed that she had travelled a long way to perform an illegal act. Frances responded “I should not have come unless I thought it worthwhile. I feel that the condition of many thousands of women is exceedingly miserable because of the injustice of the law.” She was sentenced to five days imprisonment after refusing to pay the five shilling fine and was released on December 1st 1911.
Jessie Baker was arrested on July 31st 1909. Lloyd George delivered his People’s Budget designed to increase taxes including a supertax on the rich to pay for social reform. Many were aghast at the proposals, others were impressed at the proposed social reforms. On the evening of July 30th 1909 he addressed an audience of four thousand at the Edinburgh Castle, a music hall, in Limehouse. By some it was seen as the defining speech of his career. Outside a group of suffragettes gathered but were prevented from entering the hall by the police. A certain amount of jostling took place with police hats being knocked off and the women tried to prevent themselves being moved on. Jessie was charged with attempted rescue as she had allegedly tried to prevent the police from arresting Emily Davidson for obstruction. Jessie shouted “Let her go; do not take her.” She declined to be bound over to keep the peace and was, therefore, sentenced to fourteen days imprisonment. Whilst in prison Jessie went on hunger strike refusing food for four days. On her release she was taken to the WSPU headquarters and was reported to be quite unwell.
In one newspaper report her age is given as forty six. Whilst this narrows it down it has not been possible to pin point exactly who she is.