Emma Bowen was arrested twice in 1912 on March 5th and March 19th. The two dates appear to refer to her first and second appearance in court. On the first occasion, she was charged with breaking a window at Hudsons Bros Provision Merchants located in New Bond Street valued at £15. On her reappearance in court she was sentenced to four months in prison.
No more information has been located.
Charlotte Bower was arrested on November 27th 1911. She was charged with throwing stones and breaking a lamp hanging outside the Clock Tower at the Houses of Parliament. When arrested Charlotte said “I was afraid I should not be able to do so well.” At court she stated that male suffrage was an outrage on the women of the country who had campaigned for years for the vote. She was fined or alternatively sentenced to seven days. She elected to go to prison.
Dorothy Agnes Bowker was arrested four times. She was born in 1886 to Charles and Elizabeth in Bedford. Her mother was Canadian, and several of the family went on to live there. Charles in one census return is described as a wine merchant but otherwise it was recorded that he lived off his own means. Her father died in 1892. Dorothy first attended Bedford Kindergarten College and then she was sent to St Winifred’s School in Bangor, Wales. Tuition was holistic: ‘to provide, upon a sound and accurate system, a religious and useful education for the daughters of clergymen and professional men of limited means, and the agricultural and commercial classes generally.’[i] Another advertisement stated that girls could be prepared for university entrance. Despite such an education these girls schools were strict on appropriate ladylike behaviour, something that many railed against.
Dorothy joined the WSPU in 1909. Initially she moved around the country establishing branches in Cornwall, Leicester and Loughborough. She was first arrested on July 9th 1909, although research does not reveal of what she was accused. Early in August the same year Dorothy travelled to Hull to participate in a meeting to be held at the same time as a meeting of the Liberals. Jostled by the crowd six women were arrested for disorderly conduct by mounted police. In court, all of the women complained at the use of mounted police. Dorothy stated in court that she had called the police cowards for riding horses on the pavement. The magistrate lectured the women but discharged them from the charges.
Weeks late Dorothy took part in a similar protest in Bradford lodging a complaint with the police that she had been struck on the nose. In discussions with the Chief of Police she admitted that at the time she had been trying to knock off a constable’s hat and had unintentionally struck him on the face but the officer had lost his temper striking her. Dorothy provided the policeman’s number but the Chief Constable insisted that number was incorrect as the officer had been on holiday.In 1910 Dorothy was appointed the organiser for the Eastbourne, Hastings, Bexhill and St Leonards on Sea district, a post she left in February 1912. For several years she worked closely with Dorothy Pethick, sister of Emmeline Pethick Lawrence.
The 1911 census was taken on April 2nd 1911. Dorothy was lodging in a room at the top of a house in York Road Marylebone. As did many suffragettes she decided not to be part of the census. The enumerator informed the registrar that Dorothy was absent from her home, he duly visited the address and the return notes that he, as the enumerator before him, found Dorothy was not there. The registrar wrote that Dorothy returned after the census was taken in the earlier hours of April 3rd and presumably to avoid any repercussions left with her luggage, leaving no forwarding address. On the form Dorothy wrote “No vote no census. I am dumb politically. Blind to the census. Deaf to enumerators. Being classed with criminals, lunatics and paupers I prefer to give no further particulars.”
When she was imprisoned in 1912 she went on hunger strike being awarded the Hunger Strike medal, the box is inscribed “Presented to Dorothy Bowker by the Women’s Social and Political Union in recognition of a gallant action whereby through endurance to the last extremity of hunger and hardship, a great principle of political justice was vindicated.” The medal is part of the Lindseth Women Suffrage Collection housed at Cornell University.[ii]
On the outbreak of the First World War she joined the Women’s Land Army. In 1921 she emigrated to Canada where she had family, an emigration funded by the government established body, the Society for the Overseas Settlement of British Women whose aim was help women find jobs abroad who could not find them in England after the end of the war.
In 1934 she returned and settled in Lymington being a councillor for nineteen years.
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