Arrested Suffragettes: More of the As
Kathleen Armstrong was arrested on 29 November 1911 and sentenced to seven days imprisonment having refused to pay the alternative fine. Her crime was breaking a window at the Home Office; the cost of the damage was ten shillings. In court, she stated firmly that she would do precisely the same again, protesting against the Men’s Suffrage Bill, which it was now clear would not extend the vote to women. Sadly, none of the reports provides sufficient information to learn any more about Kathleen.
Norah Armstrong was arrested on 24 November 1910 and 27 November 1911. Norah was arrested, firstly, along with ten other suffragettes for obstructing the police at the residence of the Member of Parliament, Lewis Harcourt who was vehemently opposed to women’s suffrage. Two of the women were also charged with damaging police whistles. Norah was sentenced to fourteen days or a 40 shilling fine. Like most she refused to pay the fine. Lauded in the Votes for Women newspaper, tickets were sold for 2 shillings and 6 pence for a celebration breakfast at the Criterion Restaurant on her and fellow inmates release.
Following her arrest, in November 1911 she was charged with throwing a stone at Messrs Pearson & Son along with Margaret Dickson. The two women stated that Norah cracked the pane with her throw, and Margaret broke it. The damage was said to amount to £2. Norah was sentenced to ten days imprisonment because she had committed a previous offence or a 20 shilling fine with 10 shillings damages. Equitably Margaret was fined in the same in damages but half the fine and three fewer days in prison.
Mrs Arncliffe Sennett was arrested on 21 March 1907 and 22 November 1911 according to the records compiled for the 1914 amnesty. However other official records note that she was arrested during November 1910 and charged with obstruction, but the charges were dismissed due to a lack of evidence.
Born Alice Maud Mary Sparagnapane, but known as Maud, in London in 1862 to Gaudente and Amelia she was one of three daughters. Her eldest sister died aged fourteen, the youngest sister, Florence, was also a campaigner for women’s suffrage. Her father was born in Switzerland and ran G Sparagnapane & Co retailers of ornamental confectionery and in time crackers. He died in 1877 and his wife continued to run the business.
Maud became an actress performing as Mary Kingsley. Aged only twenty-four she received rave reviews for her portrayal of Lady Macbeth “her rendition of the part must at once be classed as unqualified success”. She toured the country and Australia performing a wide variety of Shakespearean roles. On 9 July 1898 in London Maud married Henry Robert Sennett, one of the witnesses was Gerald du Maurier. The couple took over the running of her father’s business.
Maud joined the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies. She engaged in the organisation of the march from Hyde Park to the Strand in February 1907 which became known as the Mud March her company supplied red and white rosettes for the marchers to wear. She became a member of the WSPU and was arrested on 21 March 1907 for being part of the attempt to enter the House of Commons. At court, she was bound over to keep the peace for six months and fined £5.
Just over a year later she resigned from the WSPU and joined the Women’s Freedom League. She was elected in time to the National Executive but took a dim view of the leadership, writing that “Billington Greig was great …. and kept a grip of the machine … Mrs Despard, …. a sort of flaming torch that toured London and the country”. After two years Maud resigned but continued to be a member of the Actress Franchise League whose membership she seemed to find more to her taste. She also supported the Men’s League for Women’s Suffrage helping to found one of its branches.
Maud often spoke about women’s suffrage. At a meeting in Eastbourne, she specifically questioned whether the Countess of Jersey, who had made it clear she would not attend had any idea how the poor lived. In reply, the Countess of Jersey wrote to the papers defined her anti-votes for women stance “We have already enough votes who are swayed by sentiment … Moreover, since there are more women than men in the United Kingdom, the result would be that the casting vote in government would rest with women, a climax which many of us would consider undesirable”.
Maud was arrested in November 1910 for her part in the window smashing campaign. She was charged with obstruction, but as with the majority, the charges were dropped. The telegram below was sent after her arrest.
In 1911 as part of the Actress Franchise League, she was part of a deputation who visited Downing Street. One newspaper article attributed various stances to the women stating Maud tried “cajolery”. Not long afterwards she was arrested for breaking a window at the Daily Mail offices in response to their failure to report suffrage activities. This time she was fined 40 shillings or seven days imprisonment in the Second Division. Maud responded by stating she would not pay and must, therefore, go to prison. As she was an employer people would, in consequence, lose their jobs, and she would leave the country in protest at paying taxes when she could not vote. She was admitted to Holloway Prison on 22 November 1911. A note on the files records that her fine was subsequently paid by Lord Northcliffe, the proprietor of the Daily Mail.
 DPP 1/23
 HO 144/1119/203651 DPP 1/23
In 191During the First World War, she campaigned for fair treatment of women and respect for soldiers’ wives, continuing her support for women’s suffrage. In 1918 Maud was the first women to be offered a parliamentary seat to contest, reluctantly she declined. In her later years, she became a supporter of anti-vivisection. She died aged seventy-four in Sussex.
Evelyn Arton was arrested in March 1912. The entry reads Evelyn B B Arton (Mrs), and it is believed that this is Eveleen Boyle Anna Arton nee McCarthy. Eveleen was born in Ireland in 1887 and married Frederick Richard Alston Arton in 1909. Eveleen and Frederick went into partnership together trading as film dealers and exporters. Her address is given as 24 Kensington Gate.
She was arrested for smashing five windows in the West End of London along with Mrs Alice Green, the damage amounting to £165. Found guilty Evelyn was sentenced to four months imprisonment. In April the files note that Evelyn had a ‘frail physique’ and was ‘of an unstable mental condition’. The files notes continue recording that Evelyn promised not to break windows or do other damage for eighteen months and her husband agreed to stand surety for her good behaviour for two years. It appears that Evelyn was then released. Her condition on release was described as fair.
It appears that her marriage was short-lived and certainly during October 1913 the partnership between them was dissolved. Two years later Eveleen went bankrupt. She continued to live in London, dying in Wandsworth in 1970.
Lily Asquith was arrested on 9 October 1909. Lily along with Violet Bryant, Ellen Pitfield and Dorothy Shellard smashed windows, to bring attention to the cause during a visit to Newcastle by Lloyd George, at the Liberal Club. The cost of the damage being said to be in excess of £3. All four pleaded guilty and were imprisoned for fourteen days with hard labour. Before their trial eleven women, all arrested for offences connected with Lloyd George’s visit wrote a letter to The Times avowing their intent to ‘carry on our protest in our prison cells’. By hunger striking they proposed four alternative solutions: early release; force-feeding; their death or the granting of the vote to women.
On their arrival at Newcastle gaol, all four broke windows in the reception. Violet and Lily were admitted to the cells, having promised not to break any more windows. Ellen and Dorothy refused to give such an undertaking and were kept in the reception cells with ‘extra blankets’. Two of them declared they would refuse food; two that they would only accept food from a feeding cup. Violet, it is noted, was six-foot-two weighing fourteen stone and in consequence the authorities did not have a skirt to fit her. She, therefore, remained in bed ‘while one was made’.
The four were joined by other suffragettes amongst them was Lady Constance Lytton who had thrown stones at the car of Sir Walter Runciman, a local Liberal politician. Reports on the condition of seven suffragette prisoners in Newcastle Gaol making for uncomfortable reading. A report dated 13 October notes that all the women ‘are quiet and orderly and given no trouble except refusing to take food’. A further report states that Lily ‘has much improved’ taking three pints of milk ‘by an officer feeding her’. A day later, Lily is noted as having taken from an officer ‘two pints of milk, 1 egg, and one pint of beef tea’. Her condition was described as ‘favourable’. Keir Hardie wrote to the Home Secretary asking if it was true that two pints of milk were force-fed to the women at one time. His letter was referred to the prison authorities accompanied by a note asking, ‘whether it was desirable to give so much’. The quantities continued with Lily being fed by a cup ‘two pints of egg and milk’, ‘a pint of beef tea’ and ‘custard’. Her condition is described as ‘doing well’.
Constance Lytton was released early as medical examination revealed she was suffering from a cardiac condition. The WSPU promptly exploited her release implying it was on the grounds of class passing a resolution calling for the release of a working woman, Mary Leigh. One of the prisoner governor’s reports notes that it had come to his attention that the women had surveyed the prison before their offences and once they had ascertained the levels of staffing had decided to ensure their arrested numbers were sufficiently high to cause the authorities as much trouble as possible. Intelligence indicated that the women intended to repeat their actions but on an even larger scale. Their theory being that larger numbers of prisoners would prevent the authorities from having enough staff to impose force-feeding.
On their release, they were admitted to a nursing home for rest. Interviewed by the press, Lily stated she had been force-fed by tube and by cup, tempting food had been placed in her sight, and she was regularly informed that the others had abandoned their hunger strike.
Although an approximate year of birth has been located several persons of the same name were born around the same time, and it is not possible to narrow it down any further.
Selgarde Atheling was arrested in Liverpool on 9 December 1909 and November 1911 in London. This is a name that perhaps not surprisingly does not appear anywhere. Researching newspapers for a report of the actions that led to the first arrest revealed that Selgarde Atheling is actually Lelgarde Acheling.
On 9 December 1909 Winston Churchill was in Liverpool, and Lelgarde travelled there with Violet Jones to protest. Lelegarde smashed a window at the Reform Club with a stone around which was wrapped a piece of paper with the words “deeds not words”. She was sentenced to five days hard labour. Her next arrest on 22 November 1911 was breaking three plate glass windows at the National Bank in the Strand. Again, she was acting with Violet Jones. The damage was said to amount to £30. When they were searched, more stones were found on them. They were committed for trial and released on bail provided by Mr Pethick Lawrence. At their trial in December they were found guilty and sentenced to two months imprisonment.
While this details her actions, it does not shed any further light on Lelegarde herself.
5/30/2023 11:27:55 am
Great blog I enjoyed reeading
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