Police Actions Against Suffragettes
Mary Barnett, born circa 1886, was part of a deputation of women who attempted in February 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 crowd 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. 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.
Mary, whose occupation was given as companion living in Wimbledon, was imprisoned alongside Emmeline Pethick Lawrence. The official papers include correspondence concerning prisoner’s privileges with Emmeline’s husband, Frederick. One memo sheds light on the authorities’ perspective ‘These ladies avowedly wished to be arrested and have gone to prison voluntarily….it is absurd to allow them special privileges.’ A request to exercise together and converse while so doing was denied. The women, one document states, were disappointed if they did not go to prison and, they could not dictate their terms. The suffragettes had whipped up a furore by encouraging those of ‘a better social standing so that the spectacle of their imprisonment might create the greater effect.’ An issue that had to be dealt with was the treatment Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst had been accorded when they were imprisoned the previous year. The suffragettes felt that privileges given to them should be granted to all. The authorities felt that ‘the case of the Pankhursts was exceptional and easily be distinguished. They were mother and daughter and, the mother’s health had necessitated her being many weeks in hospital and so disbarred from associated labour.’ This did not address the issue that Emmeline and Christabel had been permitted to exercise and converse together, a privilege which exceeded the treatment of those in the First Division who were only permitted to communicate with fellow prisoners as a reward for good behaviour. Emmeline was also provided with a daily newspaper ‘on special medical grounds.’
Pattie Barrett, aka Martha, was arrested twice in 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 10 shillings and the sentence seven days. Alongside her on the march was her sister Julia Varley who was sentenced to the same.
Pattie 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 Oliver 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. While Martha was a 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 towards the end of March too, again, join a protest to the Houses of Parliament. They were two of seventy-six arrested. Martha was fined 10 shillings or a month in prison.  Julia stated in court that she wanted to make it clear that she had no complaint against the police, but, she had considerable 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. Following her retirement, Julia returned to Bradford to live with Martha who died in 1956.
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Rachel Barrett was arrested in 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 in March 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. She travelled to London with other Glasgow women to take part in the window breaking. Janet was sentenced to two months in prison with hard labour.
In 1912 Janet was employed as the chief clerk to David Wilkie, the manager in Scotland of Joseph Watson & Sons Ltd, a leading soap manufacturer, a position Janet had held for over eleven years. She wrote to David from Bow Street police station explaining that she had been arrested and sentenced. He immediately wrote to his solicitors, instructing them to approach the authorities in London. In a lengthy letter, David provides the background. Janet had requested a couple of days of holiday to travel to London. As a business, they had been swamped and Janet ‘had done her full share.’ David felt the break would do Janet, who was in his view ‘very sensitive and highly strung’, good.
David did not have the exact details of what had taken place. He was aware that Janet was interested in the votes for women campaign and suspected that in connection with the campaign she had ‘exercised her abilities and resources …somewhat to the same extent as she does in connection with my business.’ This, he felt, had brought Janet to the attention of the WSPU leaders who frequently visited Glasgow. In his opinion Janet would have hesitated before behaving as she had done in London if she was in her home town, ‘she has been too well looked after by people who ought to have known better.’ Within his work, David demanded that his employees kept ‘well the limits of the Law and decency’ which he felt Janet would have done ‘if left to herself.’
Janet was entitled to fourteen days annual leave which would be used in full before her sentence was served. Once her holiday entitlement had been used, David would have to notify the head office who would, he believed, order him to dismiss her. Janet was an integral part of the business who took control in his absence. Not only would the consequences by cataclysmic for Janet’s future, but they would also impact on her family, in particular her widowed mother who was ‘prostrated with shock.’ Janet’s health required ‘serious care’ as ‘her heart is affected, and she is anaemic’. David clearly regretted not questioning Janet more closely as to her reasons for travelling to London.
David’s solicitors, Wright, Johnston & Orr, wrote to Reginald McKenna, the Home Secretary, making representations and enclosing his letter. The view of the authorities was evident in an internal memo that ‘loss or damage to businesses may have some deterrent effect’ which remark entirely misses the thrust of David’s letter. The memo continues that it would be unwise to meddle with the sentence as ‘it seems so essential … to impress on the violent suffragettes that they will be held to undergo the full consequences of their acts of lawlessness.’ Another memo notes that sentences could not be apportioned according to the value of the window, but a ‘broad distinction’ was drawn between over and under £5. This, in no way, addresses the reason why the Brackenburys and Janet received such different sentences.
David then turned his attention to, in his view, the disparity in sentencing, which is very clear from the research thus far. Mrs Brackenbury and her two daughters, the widow and offspring of a General, were sentenced to fourteen days. The window Janet broke was valued at 4 shillings, and by David’s calculations, the Brackenbury’s must have broken windows valued at 1 shilling for the sentences to be comparable. While David felt these matters should be dealt with seriously, sentences should be given ‘without respect of persons’ in other words class. Others joined in questioning the severity of the sentences of not only Janet but others from Glasgow, again highlighting the Brakenburys.
Janet is credited with helping to smuggle out poetry from Holloway which was published by the Glasgow WSPU as Holloway Jingles. She, as David predicted, lost her job but successfully found an alternative.
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Elsie Bartlett, recorded as born in 1889, was charged with window breaking on 1 March 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 in November 1910 for breaking a window and was sentenced to two months imprisonment.
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 Minister, 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 was 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 reapproached 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 while 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.
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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.
Kate Bard and Others
Kate Bard was arrested twice: November 1911 and March 1912. The first offence was breaking a window in the Local Government Board offices; refusing to 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. In March 1912 Kate was charged with maliciously damaging eleven windows valued at £110 at Gorringe's department store. Kate was sentenced to four months in prison.
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 the same person. A search through the online collection at the Museum of London confirms that this is correct. They hold a card with a photograph of a woman with the signature Kathleen Bardsley underneath in brackets “Kate Bard”. [see above image]
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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 typically 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. The family are recorded as 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 in 1871, 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, was not recorded in 1901 but in 1911 he is lodging in a house in Southport.
Robert died in 1914 in the north of England while Kathleen died in 1956 in Watford.
A Barker was arrested on in July 1909, in all likelihood having taken part in an attempt to deliver a petition to Parliament. An unmarried woman, the information is so limited no further research is possible.
Lizzie Barkley or Elizabeth Berkley was arrested in March 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 extremely 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 it. Both of Lizzie’s sisters are also employed in the textile industry.
Lizzie died unmarried in 1969 in Halifax, Yorkshire.
Dorothy Barnes was arrested in March 1913. Several women attempted to deliver a petition to the King during his procession from Buckingham Palace to the Houses of Parliament for the State Opening. Arrested for obstruction Dorothy was so furious she along with a Miss Richardson broke windows at the Home Office. For this, Dorothy was sentenced to one-month imprisonment. In protest at Mrs Pankhurst’s detention at the same time, she refused food for six days but was not force-fed.
Arthur James Barnett was arrested in May 1914. Arthur worked as a solicitor’s clerk for Messrs Hatchett, Jones, Bisgood and Marshall solicitors of the City of London, a firm which had on occasion acted for suffragettes. Arthur had taken into Holloway Prison on 30 May a package for Grace Roe, the general secretary of the WSPU. The package contained apomorphine hydrochloride which would induce vomiting, thus rendering force-feeding useless. The previous day Grace had requested to meet with her legal advisor. Arthur attended the prison but following a telephone call left not to return until the afternoon. While Arthur and Grace conversed, he passed her a small parcel which was promptly seized by the prison wardress supervising the visit through a glass panel. Along with the tablets was a note advising Grace not to take more than four tablets at a time and that Arthur could be used in the same way the following day to deliver more.
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The prison authorities were already suspicious that Grace was up to something. Four days before Arthur’s visit a small parcel containing apomorphine hydrochloride had been found in the yard near where Grace had been standing. The packet had been opened, and it was believed Grace had taken some of the contents as over the next few days when she was force-fed vomiting had occurred which had not done so previously. Analysis of the tablets indicated that the second batch delivered by Arthur were more potent than those found in the prison yard and could cause the heart to slow, putting Grace’s life at risk.
The prison rules in force at Holloway at the time were that all letters brought in had to be submitted to the Governor or his deputy for perusal and ‘any objectionable matter expunged’. Arthur was charged with conveying articles into prison, and there was no suggestion that he had any knowledge of the contents. Arthur mainly dealt with civil matters and his visit to Holloway was the first time he had visited that prison and the only the second he had entered any gaol. He had been allocated responsibility for dealing with the partner, Mr Marshall, caseload during his absence on holiday. Mr Marshall was the only partner at the firm who dealt with suffragette cases, a cause to which he was sympathetic. Having received Grace’s request for a visit from her legal adviser Arthur attended Holloway, but as he filled out the necessary paperwork, he received a telephone call from the office informing him that Miss Cunningham wished to see him. Arthur resolved to return to his office to meet with her before seeing Grace as Miss Cunningham was working closely in preparing the defence with Mr Marshall.
Arthur waited at the office for several hours but rather than Miss Cunningham, another woman arrived and gave him the note for Grace. Purportedly unaware of the prison rules as to letters he put it in his pocket and returned to Holloway. Arthur’s defence was that he was unaware of the rules and had been duped the women who did know them. The firm he worked for immediately avowed never to accept any instructions from the suffragettes again. Arthur was fined the maximum, £10.
Despite the conclusion of the case the prosecution attempted to call three prison medical officers to refute an allegation made by the suffragettes in the press that the smuggled drugs were needed to counter the effects of drugs administered by the authorities to confuse them. The prosecution explained at length that this rumour could be nipped in the bud if the medical officers could attest under oath that this was not the case. The magistrate declined to permit this extraordinary demand. The papers concerning Arthur also include an exploration by the authorities of the possibility of bringing charges against Mr Marshall. This idea was dropped when the evidence was deemed circumstantial.
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. After the war, Arthur continued to work as a solicitor’s managing clerk.
Lilian Ball was arrested on 5 March 1912 and charged with breaking a window, with a hammer, worth 3 shillings at the Royal United Services Institution, Whitehall. It was remarked upon in court that the amount of damage was immaterial, what mattered was the fact that she had maliciously intended to do damage and she was therefore sentenced to two months imprisonment with hard labour. The records indicate an alternative surname of Smythe, but this appears to be an alias relating to an arrest in 1914. The Labour Member of Parliament, George Lansbury, wrote to Reginald Mckenna, the Home Secretary the day after Lilian’s sentence protesting at its severity ‘Surely the magistrates are not going to lose their heads and go from one extreme to the other in this matter.’ A note on the file says that no reason existed to revisit Lilian’s sentence.
When the Pethick Lawrences and Emmeline Pankhurst were charged in 1912 with conspiring to incite women to commit criminal acts, Lilian was summoned as a witness. It was stated that Lilian was a married woman living in Tooting, south London who earned a living as a dressmaker. Another record notes she was born in 1878. When Lilian entered the witness box, the newspapers reported that she broke down in tears and it took some time for her to be able to take the oath. She attested that she was a member of the Balham branch of the WSPU. Her first foray into protesting was in 1910 as part of a deputation to the House of Commons. However, she hurt her foot and was conveyed by carriage to Caxton Hall to recover. In November 1911 Lilian attested that she received a message to attend the WSPU headquarters. There she was given a bag of stones which she tied around her waist concealed by her long coat. The bag was produced. Lilian emphatically denied giving it to the police asserting that they had obtained it while she was in prison. She and two other women were instructed to go to the back of the House of Commons and get to the windows. The three of them wandered around in the vicinity for about three hours and then went home. The bag of stones remained untouched at her home until she went to prison.
In March the following year, Lilian stated she received another message, ‘Militancy alone can bring pressure to bear on the Cabinet’. Lilian submitted her name as willing to act. In return, she received an invitation to attend the Gardenia Restaurant, where she was handed Instructions to volunteers: ‘When arrested and taken to Cannon Row or other police station you will, after an interval, be bailed out; then return to your home or hostess. In the morning you should surrender at the time mentioned on your charge sheet at the police court, bringing with you a bag with everything you are likely to need during your imprisonment. (Signed) E. Pankhurst.’ Lilian believed she had left the piece of paper on the table of her employer, Mrs Fagent.
A woman asked her how long a prison sentence would be feasible. Lilian replied that she had made arrangements to leave her home for seven days. She was sent to the Royal United Institution with a hammer attached to which was a note ‘Better broken windows than broken promises.’ The advice was to conceal the hammer up her sleeve. Lilian believed she was despatched there as the panes of glass were small and thus with a limited opportunity for damage, the prison sentence would be short. Lilian broke the window and was immediately arrested. Pethick Lawrence appeared in court to obtain her bail. The day after she was found guilty and sentenced. Asked why she thought she had been called as a witness Lilian responded that she had signed a petition while in prison. She could think of no other reason.
Lilian’s belief that her signing a petition had drawn her to the attention of the authorities appears to be well-founded. On 12 March she submitted a petition for a reduction in sentence. Briefly, Lilian recounted the invite to the Gardenia restaurant and why her desire for a short sentence led her to the Royal United Services Institute. Lilian closed ‘I should esteem it a great favour if you could help me in anyway by shortening my sentence.’ A handwritten file note suggests that Lilian’s petition should be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions as ‘it seems just possible that this woman might be willing to make a statement.’ Despite the authorities ultimately coercing Lilian into being a witness, there is nothing to indicate that she benefited.
Lilian was not arrested again until 11 February 1914 when she was charged with obstruction in Whitehall. Seven suffragettes were organised into three separate groups, each addressing the crowd while one member of each group rang a bell to attract attention. The police ordered them to move on, their refusal resulting in their arrest. In court, they stated that they were protesting at the absence from the King’s Speech of franchise for women. Lilian was jailed for four days for refusing to find sureties. This was not a criminal offence, and therefore technically Lilian was not convicted of any offence. The Women’s Freedom League wrote to the Prison Commissioner regarding two of their members which indicates Lilian had abandoned the WSPU in favour of the League. The letter protests that as Lilian was unconvicted, the authorities did not have the power to take fingerprints from her forcibly. Correspondence between the Home Office and the Prison Commissioners indicates that a decision to take fingerprints regardless of the status of the prisoners had been taken the previous December, in part because if it was not done the weakened state of suffragettes refusing food led the medical officer ‘being of the opinion that it was not advisable to apply the necessary force to overcome the resistance of the prisoner.’ A similar letter was sent to the Home Secretary. While the authorities denied any use of force the rules were modified that fingerprints could not be taken by force if only a minor offence had been committed so long as the prints were not required for evidential purposes or the women was or had in the past refused food.
She was arrested again on 26 March 1914, but no report relating to this has been found. Her final arrest was on 16 July 1914 where all the defendants gave their surnames as Smith or Smyth. Their offence was chaining themselves to the door of a police court in Francis Street in the West End of London. During the lunch interval, the women had left the court and chained themselves to the court doors by first chaining all five of them together and then to the doors. The only way the police could secure their release was to wrench off the door handle. They were then conveyed to a police station still chained together, only on arrival was it possible to disconnect the five women.
They were all charged with obstruction arriving in court for their hearing dressed in white bearing the colours of the Women’s Freedom League. Lilian was sentenced to five days imprisonment.
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Gertrude Ballam was arrested on 27 March 2 1914. She was charged with obstruction alongside Elsie Cummin for protesting outside the Director of Public Prosecution’s offices wearing sandwich boards and handing out handbills. The reason for their protest was that although two police officers had stated they were aware of “activity” between another officer and a fourteen-year-old girl no action had been taken. They were sentenced to fourteen days in the absence of payment of an alternative fine.
Gertrude was born Louisa Gertrude in 1871 to Ambrose, a bootmaker and Emma. Gertrude had two younger brothers: Arthur and Alfred. Her father, Ambrose, died in 1883 which left the family struggling. Gertrude and Arthur were admitted to the Harrow Road Workhouse the following year and from there were sent to Ashford Residential School. By the 1891 census, the family were reunited, while Alfred was still at school Emma was employed as a cook, Gertrude as a dressmaker and Arthur in an ironmonger. In time Gertrude started to employ people in her dressmaking business. In 1908 she wrote a letter which was published in the Vote. The government was keen to ascertain how many married women were employed and asked employers to complete a return recording the number of unmarried women, married and widowed they employed. Gertrude set out her intended response which example she hoped others would follow “I shall certainly not volunteer such particulars, but state instead, “When women are directly represented, so that they can give expression to their opinions and wishes regarding curtailment of employment, & etc, I will give voluntary particulars, but consider it beside my duty to do so now.”
Gertrude’s mother died in 1909 and like many Gertrude appears to have avoided the 1911 census. She died in 1951.
Nora Balls was arrested on 23 November 1910. Born Norah Elizabeth in 1883 in Tynemouth she was the daughter of William and Elizabeth. Her father was a mariner spending most of his time at sea, and he is not recorded at home on any census return from 1891 to 1911. Nora had a younger brother William Daniel, known as Daniel, who was six years younger. Nora joined the WSPU and was primarily active in the North East. She was at one time Secretary of the Tynemouth Branch of the Local Government Association. She travelled south to take part in a raid on the House of Commons. C with obstruction the charges against her were dropped when Winston Churchill decided that to continue would make the women martyrs.
Nora continued to campaign until the outbreak of the First World War, like so many she is not recorded on the 1911 census. She ran a canteen for soldiers during the war and afterwards helped to establish the Girl Guides in Northumberland. Her interest in politics did not wane, and she served as a Town Councillor standing as an Independent candidate. She was also appointed as a Justice of the Peace. Her desire to help others in any way possible continued up until her death in 1980.
Harry Bark was arrested on 29 July 1913. He was charged with obstruction along with two other men following the attempts to prevent the police from conveying away Annie Kenney at the London Pavilion. This was the same incident for which William Ball, see the previous blog, was arrested. It was made evident in court that Harry was believed to be the instigator who had incited others to act. He was fined 20 shillings or fourteen days imprisonment. His occupation was given as traveller. It is not clear to what extent he was a supporter of the movement or was just caught up in the moment. In either event, no further trace of him has been found.
Grace Barber was arrested on the same day as Nora, just like Nora, she was charged with obstruction, but the charges were dropped. Grace provided a statement to Henry Brailsford and Jessie Murray outlining her experience during what became known as Black Friday. Grace describes herself as a ‘passive resister’, and therefore any violence committed against her person was ‘unprovoked.’ Arriving at Parliament Square on 18 November it was mostly clear of any protestors, and only the police remained. When Grace was two yards away from the line, the police rushed towards the new arrivals. ‘I was pushed, grasped by the back of the neck and propelled forward with great force. This was followed by an almost stunning blow on the base of the skull which sent me to my knees.’ When Grace was slow to pick herself up and move on another policeman hit her in the back three times, these she could feel for a week afterwards. With a friend, Grace walked to the opposite side of the square where a woman sitting in a taxi invited them to get in. It was only then that Grace realised her ‘double leather dog-skin motor glove was cut’ and her knuckle ‘cut to the bone.’
Despite this treatment, Grace returned four days later. This time her ‘motor veil’ was twisted by a police officer ‘trying to choke’ her. Several people intervened not initially realising that the man dressed in civilian clothes was a plainclothes officer. She went back to the square the following day. This time several police officers ran down the steps towards her. One used the height gained by being on a step to rain blows down on Grace’s head. She complained of pains in her head for several weeks afterwards as well as suffering from a cough caused, Grace believed, from the blows to her back. She closes her statement ‘I am not a person likely to exaggerate violence, as I am used to hard knocks and bruises , as I play every sort of game and get many falls hunting.’
Grace was born in 1879, the daughter of Thomas, a colliery owner, and Frances. One of eight children Grace had a privileged upbringing. When her father died in 1893, he left an estate worth in today’s money 18 million pounds. Around 1904 her widowed mother purchased Barnby Moor House in the village of Barnby Moor, near Retford. It was a substantial house with numerous outbuildings and landscaped grounds. Grace never married and continued to live at Barnby Moor House after her mother’s death in 1930. The 1939 register states that Grace was a Justice of the Peace and an air warden living with a lady’s maid and two other servants. She died in 1955.
 HO 144/1107/200655 [recorded as Laura Balls]
 MEPO 3/203
The next entry is for Lady Barclay arrested on 24 July 1914 for causing obstruction when attempting to deliver a letter from Mrs Pankhurst to the King at Buckingham Palace along with Miss Fitzgerald. No evidence was presented, and both were acquitted. She joined and was a major funder of the WSPU. She was President of the Anglo - French Society intended to unite the women of France and the United Kingdom in their fight for suffrage. Born Marie Therese Teuscher in Brazil, the 1911 census return states she was of German origin. She married Thomas Barclay, a Scottish barrister and Liberal politician. Knighted in 1904 he was nominated for the Noble Peace Prize on several occasions for his work on the Entente Cordiale between France and England before the First World War. The press hailed her arrest as one of a noblewomen and member of the aristocracy but this was clearly not the case as although clearly well connected and circumstanced the family were, however, not aristocratic. Whatever her husband’s view he did not support any attempt she may have made to exclude herself from the 1911 census. The advent of the war halted her campaigning.
Ethel Violet Baldock was born in 1893 in Gravesend, Kent to Samuel and Frances. When she was only six years old, her mother and her elder sister, who was next in age to her, died within weeks of each other. By Christmas of that year, her father had married again. The youngest of six daughters Ethel also had two younger brothers. By 1911 her eldest sister Florence had married and, Ethel moved in with her sister and husband working at a hotel in Tunbridge Wells as a housemaid and waitress.
Ethel was arrested in March 1912 alongside Violet Bland for breaking a window valued at £10 at the Commercial Cable Company premises in Northumberland Avenue. Tried together, and both defended by George Blanco White who argued assiduously that the window was overvalued, they were both found guilty. Ethel agreed to be bound over to keep the peace while Violet, see a later blog, was sentenced to four months. This appears to have been the cessation of Ethel’s involvement with the suffrage movement. Three years later, she married Arthur Hodge and, they went on to have one child. Ethel died in 1939.
 Votes for Women 5 April 1912
The next two entries are for Lucy A Baldock and Minnie Baldock who are one and the same person.
Born Lucy Minnie Rogers in 1864 in Poplar, East London she was commonly known as Minnie. Her father worked as a cooper making barrels. In 1888 she married Henry Baldock, and within two years they had their first child Henry. Her husband, usually known as Harry, is recorded in the 1891 census return working as a general labourer in the East End. Their second son, John known as Jack, was born six years later. By the early 1890s, the family had moved to Canning Town, in the East End of London where Harry found work in the shipyards, a trade his two sons later followed him into. Harry became involved in local politics and was, in due course, elected a councillor for West Ham. Many had started to lobby for the foundation of a Labour Party for the working classes to ensure that they had true representation. In 1893 the Independent Labour Party was founded with Keir Hardie as its leader, with the aim “to secure the collective ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange.” Hardie was Minnie and Harry’s local Member of Parliament, inspired by Hardie’s work they both joined the fledgeling political party.
Through the family’s political activities Minnie forged friendships with Keir Hardie, Charlotte Despard and Dora Montefiore. Along with Keir Hardie in 1903 she organised a meeting protesting at the low pay of women and assisted in the administration of the West Ham Unemployed Fund. Two years later, inspired by Charlotte Despard’s involvement with the Board of Guardians, founded to distribute aid to the poor and one of a few municipal organisations to which a woman could be elected, Minnie stood, unsuccessfully for election to the board as an Independent Labour candidate. Like Charlotte, Minnie joined the Women’s Social and Political Union establishing a branch with Annie Kenney in Canning Town, East London in early 1906. Minne was one of seven signatories to a letter, published in the Daily News, setting out the WSPU’s forthcoming strategy: the taking of space in Clement’s Inn and the need for funds.
Minnie lobbied Asquith and Campbell-Bannerman at meetings and at their homes. In July 1906 a group of women, including Dora Montefiore and Annie Kenney, protested outside Asquith’s home in Cavendish Square. Minnie was charged with intent to cause an obstruction. Much was made of the women’s ‘threatening and abusive words’. In court, Minnie countered by pointing out that the protest had been peaceful and ladylike. The magistrate was of the clear view that in any event, their actions were agitation and ordered them to be bound over to keep the peace for twelve months. On their collective refusal to accept they were taken to Holloway Prison to serve six weeks.
On her release, Minnie continued to be an active speaker on the question of suffrage. She was arrested again, following a protest in the lobby of the House of Commons in February 1908, and charged with behaviour leading to a breach of the peace. Refusing to be bound over, she was imprisoned for four weeks. It was a movement of solidarity, and other suffragettes ensured her young son, Jack, was cared for while she was in prison. Maud Arncliffe Sennett sent him toys. In a statement published in Votes for Women Minnie said ‘I go to prison to help to free those who are bounds by unjust laws and tyranny.’ On her release, Minnie was one of the organisers of a rally to be held in June in Hyde Park. She describes arriving at the WSPU offices late in the evening to fold fliers into envelopes, the women working until the early hours of the morning.
 London Daily News 8 October 1906
 DPP 1/19
 Votes for Women 5 March 1908
 Votes for Women 30 April 1908
In 1909 Minnie took part in the campaign in the West Country alongside her continuing East End activities. Like many, she does not appear on the 1911 census. Papers seized from the WSPU indicate that during 1912 Minnie was one of the signatories who issued receipts for monies received. In 1911 Minnie was diagnosed with cancer. Later she and Harry moved to Southampton where her mother’s family had originated from and where Minnie continued to be active in the fight for the vote. With the advent of World War 1, the WSPU agreed to halt its militant activities and support the war effort in return for which the Government granted an amnesty, thus the record which forms the basis for this research. A by-product of the agreement was the renaming of the Suffragette newspaper to the Britannia, a suitably patriotic title. One report, in the newly named publication, is of a meeting held at the dock gates in Southampton were Minnie, along with others, promoted the WSPU win the war agenda. The following week Minnie chaired a meeting at premises she provided in her role as honorary secretary of the Southampton branch.
 DPP 1/19
 Suffragette 22 August 1913
 Britannia 23 August 1918 25 October 1918
Later, a widowed Minnie moved to Poole in Dorset. The 1939 register reflects that Minnie still had political interests. The Labour Member for Parliament for Upton in East London and his wife, are on the register alongside her. Minnie died in 1954, aged ninety, and is buried in Hamworthy, Dorset.