Dorothea Boulter was arrested on December 15th 1913 for smashing six panes of glass at Richmond upon Thames police station. She was born Dorothea Anna Georgina Connell circa 1857 in Ireland marrying Harold Baxter Boulter, a doctor. The 1891 census records the family living in Sandown on the Isle of Wight. By this point they had two children: Dorothy born in 1882 and Christopher born a year later. Eleven years later they had a second daughter, Norah, by which stage they were living in Richmond where Harold was a doctor. Whilst both the daughters are included on the 1911 census return Dorothea is not possibly in a protest as her husband has left the number of years married blank.
According to the evidence Dorothea arrived at the police station equipped with a copy of the Suffragette newspaper and a hammer. The reason for her actions was the failure to gain the vote and the treatment of Mrs Pankhurst who had been rearrested. Dorothea was fined 40 shillings or ten days in prison. Harold offered to pay the fine but Dorothea declined as he did not agree with her views although he was a good man. Despite this refusal Harold paid the fine.
Harold died a few years later in 1915. Dorothea continued to live in Richmond later moving to Eastbourne where she died in 1949.
The next entry is Helen Bourchier, a member of the Women’s Freedom League, who was arrested on January 31st 1908. Helen and eight gathered outside Asquith’s house holding banners proclaiming “Votes for Women.” After a while they started ringing and knocking on the front door, the butler declining them entry. Their next move was to host an impromptu rally on the steps addressing the gathering crowd. At which point four of them, Helen along with Mrs Dempsey, Mrs Duval and Mrs Sanderson were arrested. In court, they were fined 40 shillings or a month imprisonment. They all elected for prison.
The event is recalled in Sylvia Pankhurst’s book The Suffragette. The women elected to defend themselves. Helen was the first to speak but was cut off by the magistrate “Behave yourself! You are the bell-weather of the flock.” On sentencing the magistrate stated his regret that he could not give them a stiffer sentence but this was all the law allowed him. “I do not consider it by any means a fair measure of your deserts.”
Helen Johnston Bourchier was born on October 24th 1852 in Somerset, the daughter of Charles and Margaret. Her father was a soldier holding the rank of Lieutenant Colonel when he died in 1866. A dependent’s allowance was from there on until they reached majority paid to Helen, her brother Charles and sister Margaret. Following their father’s death the family initially settled in Clutton, Somerset where their grandfather had been Rector. By the 1881 census return Helen’s mother and sister had moved to Finsbury Park in North London although Helen’s whereabouts are unknown. A year later her sister married Peter Purves, a land agent, to which Helen was a witness. Their brother has also married and was serving in the army.
In 1890 their mother died. Helen was a doctor who qualified in Paris. The Dundee Courier, January 26th 1886, records that six women are more or less practising medicine successfully in Paris, one of whom was Helen. According to her obituary she practised medicine for some years in India, an experience which influenced her novels. In the early 1900s she was appointed to the Honorary Medical Staff when the Battersea Hospital was established. In those records Helen is stated to be still residing in Paris which would explain why she appears on few United Kingdom records. Although Helen does appear to have around this time maintained an address in Notting Hill advertising for a lodger or patient to live with her. She wrote novels such as Darry’s Awakening and The Ranee’s Rupees, attended séances contributing to the The Occult Review, believed in theosophy and was a vegetarian, her interests running in parallel with other fighters for votes for women such as Charlotte Despard. An anti-vivisectionist Helen was a founding member of the Pioneer Anti-Vivisection Society becoming its President. Vivisection, she believed, led to a passion for experimentation which was not always halted when experimentation involved the human being if it was a woman.
On her release from prison she wrote an article for Women’s Realm on her experiences “I am not a young woman, and a good deal of my life has been spent alone .... Yet I found even that short term of imprisonment, in some subtle way affecting my mind …. But the fact which showed me most startlingly the effect produced on my mind by the unnatural conditions of seclusion, silence and monotony, which prevail in Holloway, was the growth of a strange feeling of apprehension, of shrinking from the outside world.”[i] In another interview to the press she commented that being a vegetarian her diet consisted of one egg, potato, carrot or onion in place of meat. Her article led to an inspector being appointed by the government to report on conditions in Holloway Prison.
In October 1908 Helen was involved in another protest, this time at the House of Commons, organised by members of the Women’s Freedom League. It was organised to start at exactly 8.30pm. A group of women including Helen entered the Ladies Gallery from which ladies were permitted to view the proceedings in the House of Commons from behind a metal grille. At the appointed hour two of the women chained themselves to the grille, rose to their feet and commenced to address the few MPs in the House. One attendant attempted to silence them by placing his hand over their mouths but Helen stepped in and prevented him. Two other protests in the precincts of the Houses of Parliament took place simultaneously. A male supported seated in the Stranger’s Gallery threw down into the chamber votes for women literature. After some wrestling the attendants managed to snap part of the grille off and dragged the women from the gallery still attached by chains to the grille. Although several women were arrested Helen was not.
When the 1911 census was taken Helen refused to participate, her entry being completed by the collector. Across it is written “No votes for women. No census”. Her occupation is given as doctor (believed to be of medicine), her age is estimated at around fifty and her place of birth is blank. At the time Helen was living in Fulham.
Helen died in 1918 in Kensington, London. Just before she died she wrote to a friend “I expect to be soon on the ethereal plane.”
[i] Marxists Internet Archive
Ivy Bon was arrested on May 23rd 1914 and June 3rd 1914. She is also recorded as unknown. Her first arrest was for breaking windows in Grosvenor Square, found guilty she was sentenced to two months imprisonment. Force fed she was released under the Cat and Mouse Act.
Only just released from prison Ivy was arrested for attacking two pictures at the Dore Galleries: Love Wounded by Bartolozzi and a drawing of the Grand Canal in Venice by John Chapland. The manager grabbed her to prevent any further damage but Ivy put up a struggle until the police arrived. Appearing in court Ivy who refused to give her address had declared in a letter that she left at the Galleries that she was prepared to die for the cause, this was now a war. The case was adjourned.
At her trial Ivy continuously screamed “Torturers, murderers!” “I will do it again and again until we get justice.” She was sentenced to six months in prison. With the outbreak of the First World War Ivy would have been released under the government pardon. Nothing else has been found out as to who Ivy was as the name does appear to be an alias as was believed at the time.
The next two entries are Richard and Alfred Bond arrested on October 19th 1908. The event at which they were arrested had been well advertised beforehand. The WSPU had hired a steam launch decorating it with banners and flags and for a whole afternoon it sailed up and down the Thames arriving at Putney during a well-attended sculling competition. Hand bills had been handed out on numerous street corners. The event in question was the intention of a delegation to obtain access to the Houses of Parliament. Its high profile advertising meant that the authorities were aware of the women’s intention giving them plenty of time to prepare a response. Mrs Pankhurst was invited to discuss the situation with the authorities but instead hosted a meeting to further rally support.
On the evening of October 18th the streets between Trafalgar Square and the Houses of Parliament were heaving with police some mounted. The numbers differ from each newspaper report but the police admitted to five thousand men. A cordon was placed around Parliament and the crowds were swept back at every attempt to move closer. At Trafalgar Square where many had gathered the mounted police climbed the steps preventing the crowd from progressing towards their intended destination. A deputation left from Caxton Hall but they too were turned back.
May Billington was one of those arrested alongside Richard and Alfred. Whilst the Votes for Women Newspaper dated October 15th 1908 gives small biographies on most of the women arrested at the end it simply states “and twelve men.” Both of the men were charged with obstruction, found guilty they were bound over to keep the peace. No biographical information is given which would shed some light on their motives. It seems though from the press coverage that the event was also attended by people with other gripes such as unemployment so that possibly might explain their involvement.
The next entry is also a man called James Booty arrested on July 27 1913. A demonstration took place in Trafalgar Square, again with the aim of marching to the Houses of Parliament to present a petition. Sylvia Pankhurst led the crowd and was arrested alongside twelve women and eleven men, one of whom was James. He was alleged to have grabbed a policeman by the throat and struck another. He was fined 40 shillings or a month imprisonment. His response when arrested was to state “I must have gone mad.” The magistrate observed that many respectable people appeared to have been swept up in the moment.
Lilian Borovikovsky, known as Lilly, was arrested on February 19th 1909. She was born Lilian Bertha Dora Prust on August 30th 1880 to Christopher and Louisa. Her father, a vaccination officer, died in 1882 leaving her widowed mother with two daughters aged one and three. Louisa remarried in 1902, Charles Teague, a Cheltenham musician who played the organ at the local family church and was a well renowned cellist. Lilian’s sister Emily married and moved to Finland although she returned to live in Cheltenham in the early 1920s. Lilian married Sergi Alexandrovitch Borovikovsky in June 1902, the groom was described as of the Russian Finance Office in Petersburg. Lilian met Sergi through her cousin Helen who was firstly married to a Russian called Chrouschoff. Just prior to the ceremony Lilian was baptised into the Church of England. The ceremony was followed by a Russian service at the Russian Embassy in London. Two years later Lilian gave birth to a son Sergei. In 1905 her husband was appointed to a commission on press censoring by the Czar, embroiled in the Russian crisis it appears that Lilian returned to Cheltenham to give birth to her son and never returned.
As a child Lilian appears to have attended Cheltenham Ladies College and attended their annual reunions. She became a member of the Women’s Freedom League and was elected to the committee in January 1909 at a meeting held at the Cheltenham Vegetarian Hotel.
Lilian was part of a delegation led by Charlotte Despard who attempted to deliver a petition to the Houses of Parliament. They were met by a not inconsiderable police presence including some on horseback. She was arrested and charged with obstruction. Found guilty she was sentenced to one month’s imprisonment of which she served two weeks released due to failing health.
After her release the Women’s Freedom League hosted a reception to welcome her home themed as an American Tea Party and sale. Lilian was clear that she would be more than happy to take part in another demonstration as she now felt more “suffragettish”, on this basis she encouraged all at the gathering to accompany her next time. Lilian was presented with the Holloway badge given to all women who served time in the prison and a copy of the Awakening of Women by Mrs Swiney. All the proceeds were donated to the Despard Prisoners Fund.
Lilian continued to involved with the Women’s Freedom League becoming the Cheltenham Branch Honorary Secretary. During the First World War Lilian trained with the Red Cross.
Lilian died on May 25th 1926, a patient of Gloucester Mental Hospital.