Edith Marion Begbie was born c 1866, the daughter of John and Marion McFarlane in Leith, Scotland. By the 1881 census, the family had moved to Edinburgh. Her father worked in the wire cloth industry. In 1856 he joined a family run business which made wire related products and later branched out into paper milling. The census return records twelve children of which Edith is the eldest daughter. The second daughter Florence was also to become an active part of the suffrage movement. Between the census in 1881 and the end of 1882 Marion had two more children. The last Noel was born during Christmas time 1882, only weeks later Marion died in January 1883.
John borrowed heavily to buy other family members out of the business and, by the 1891 census, the family fortunes had significantly changed for the better. His son, Arthur, began to work in the company which was now very profitable and John, with more time on his hands, founded a liberal newspaper. By 1901 Florence, along with two of her younger sisters, is running a women’s hospital in Edinburgh. In 1888 Edith married John Begbie, an East India merchant. The couple settled in Stanmore, Middlesex and had four children, three boys and a girl. John, her husband, died in 1907.
Edith was first arrested on Black Friday. Later the charges were withdrawn. A few days later she was arrested for wilful damage at the Home Secretary’s home in Eccleston Square. Edith was sentenced to fourteen days imprisonment in the Second Division. On the 1911 census return, Ethel merely entered her name and left all the other squares blank.
Arrested in March 1912 Edith was charged with smashing windows in the Strand with something she had concealed in a muff. According to a witness, Edith systematically walked down the Strand smashing one window after another. The manager of one shop stated the damage amounted to £10, another £15. At her first appearance in court, Edith said: “I stand here as the mother of four children….that my children should have equal rights and protection, daughters and sons, and as I cannot appeal to men’s reason I must use their own language, which is violence.”. Sentenced to four months imprisonment Edith was taken to Winson Green prison in Birmingham due to a lack of space in Holloway gaol. Edith went on hunger strike alongside her sister Florence who was sentenced a few days later. Both were far from well on their release. Florence continued with her militant activities, but Edith was not arrested again although she continued to be active in the WSPU.
She died in 1932.
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 Suffragette 12 December 1913
A K A Behenna arrested in July 1909 is recorded as a married woman. The only other reference is to a Miss Behenna in the Suffragette dated 13 March 1914 who organised an event at the Town Hall in Tredegar, Wales.
B Beldon was arrested for her part in Black Friday. I am grateful to Jennie Kiff who got in touch to say that this is Bertha Beldon whose daughters Mary and Kathleen were also suffragettes. Bertha was born in 1863 to George, a Registrar of births and deaths, and Phoebe. When Bertha was seventeen, the family were living in Calverley, West Yorkshire where she was a pupil-teacher at the Board school. At the beginning of 1887, Bertha married Albert Beldon, a Bradford solicitor. The couple settled in the city and went on to have six children: Howard 1887; Mary 1889; Kathleen 1891; Eric 1893; Edgar and Eileen, twins born in 1901. Eileen would go on to be a well-known actress.
Bertha was an active campaigner in Yorkshire. In 1910 she joined Emmeline Pethick Lawrence on the platform in Ilkley. Only a few weeks later she was arrested in London for breaking windows at a Cabinet minister’s home. Votes for Women reported that when Bertha arrived at the police station with her fellow suffragette from Bradford, Jessie Stephenson, the latter called Bertha ‘Countess’ at which point the police released her. Neither Bertha, Mary nor Kathleen appear on the 1911 census return.
By 1912 it appears Bertha and Albert had separated, and she moved south to Hendon. There Bertha continued her suffragette activities as a member of the local WSPU. She died aged one hundred and one in 1964.
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 Suffragette 13 March 1914
 Wharfdale and Airedale Observer 7 October 1910 Votes for Women 25 November 1910
Mary Beldon was arrested in November 1911, one of two hundred and twenty- three arrested in connection with the window-smashing campaign. With two exceptions, all were tried at Bow Street Magistrates Court. One hundred and fourteen were charged with wilful damage, of the rest, some were charged with obstructing the police in the exercise of their duty, assault or damage. Most women and the few men involved defended themselves in court. A crowd of over three hundred stood outside the court while others swelled the court ranks to capacity. The prosecution opened with a general speech condemning the actions of the accused; “the disgraceful and discreditable scenes of organised disorder”. The proceedings went on over several days. Mary’s case was heard on 28 November when she was charged with obstructing the police by holding on to a horse’s bridle. Mary informed the court that she had been trying to get through the cordon and on telling the police she was not going to be moved; she was arrested. She was fined 5 shillings but was imprisoned for five days on her refusal to pay. In 1918 Mary married Alexander Donald and, they went on to have two children. The couple later divorced. Mary died in 1974.
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Annie Bell, who also used the aliases Elizabeth Bell, Hannah Bell or Hannah Booth, is the most prolific offender in the record so far. Annie was arrested numerous times in a period spanning June 1909 to the amnesty granted on the outbreak of the First World War. Annie, whose full name was Elizabeth Anne, was the youngest child of George and Elizabeth Bell. George served in the Royal Navy as an engineer.
Annie’s first arrest was in June 1909. A number of suffragettes approached the House of Commons to petition the Prime Minister, Herbert Asquith, who arranged for a letter to be given the women explaining why he could not meet with them. The police attempted to move the women on, but they resisted, a number were then arrested. The Daily Telegraph described the scene at court. The supporters ‘transformed the entrance hall into a sort of camping ground, …well-dressed women were to be seen sitting in groups on the floor eating hard-boiled eggs and sandwiches… Many of the ladies who had been arrested…formed another picnic party in the station-yard. Here, surrounded by a ring of policemen, they appeared to enjoying themselves immensely.’ Emmeline Pankhurst and the Hon Mrs Haverfield were viewed as the ringleaders and fined £5 with an alternative of one month in prison. The cases against over a hundred other women were dropped.
Annie’s second arrest was in July 1909. As described in an earlier blog, Lloyd George was to give a speech in Limehouse, London. Suffragettes attempted to enter the hall where the address was to be delivered but were not permitted entry. The women were arrested and charged with obstruction. All were given a choice to be bound over to keep the peace and each refused. Mrs Baker [see earlier blog], was charged, for her part in defending Emily Davison, alongside Annie who was sentenced to fourteen days.
The government did not recognise political prisoners. The reports of the court cases concerning suffragettes often refer to the division in which they were to serve their sentence, the most frequently cited being the second division. Each division, one, two or three, came with different privileges and rights. The decision as to which division the punishment should be served was at the court’s discretion. If the offence was minor and the sentence did not include hard labour, the categorisation was either a first or second division. Sedition or seditious libel was specifically a first division sentence. Thus in effect, a classification for political prisoners was created for those whose actions were not per se criminal. Often, when being sentenced for the type of offences, many suffragettes committed an option to pay a fine rather than serve a prison sentence was offered. Frequently the women refused to pay. Non-payment of a fine was left to the courts to rule which division the convicted should be allocated.
Being sentenced to the second division meant the wearing of prison clothes, the eating of prison food, solitary confinement for all but one hour of the day, access to the prison provided books only, no contact with other prisoners and if the sentence was for a month or less no visitors. In July 1909 Marian Wallace Dunlop went on hunger strike in protest at being sentenced to the second division rather than being treated as a political prisoner and sentenced to the first division. Such sentencing was justified by the government on the basis that the offences the suffragettes were convicted of were violent and, the courts could not be seen to condone their behaviour and, in any event, the decision as to sentence was not a government one.
Marian was released after ninety- one hours without food. The Limehouse women, twelve in total and including Annie, followed her into Holloway prison. On their arrival the women stated their case not to be treated as second division prisoners, the prison governor denied their claim offering one concession the retention of their own clothes but adding the additional penalty of no exercise and no chapel visits. In addition, if they did not withdraw their claim, the women would be charged with insubordination. The women refused to accept these terms. Female prison officers tried to force some of the women into prison dress by forcibly stripping them; others were marched off to cells where they proceeded to break the windows. Some of them were then placed in punishment cells which were unlit, damp and icy cold with one tiny high up window. The wooden planked bed was only inches from the ground with a thin mattress and pillow which lay on the cold ground during the day outside the cell only being allocated at night time. Other than the floor, there was nowhere else to sit. The prison visiting committee was requested by the prison governor to consider what action should be taken against the rebellious women. As a result, Annie, amongst others, was put in ‘close confinement’ in a cell for a week. The women then refused to eat; each was released having served part of their sentence. Annie was freed on 5 August; it was decided that the women should be released in tranches: ‘they should not all be discharged in one lot. Those who are suffering ‘very markedly’ should be discharged first.’
On 18 November 1910, Annie was arrested for breaking eight panes of glass at Black Rod’s residence, at the House of Lords, valued at 14 shillings. The charges were dropped. The files contain an interesting exchange of memos between various departments including that of the First Commissioner of Works, the newly appointed Earl Beauchamp. His office issued a memo stating that prosecutions would not be pursued for damage to Government Buildings.
Annie’s next arrest was on Black Friday when all the charges were subsequently dropped by the government. A few days later she was part of a delegation to number 10 Downing Street, the home of the Prime Minister. About one hundred women surged towards Downing Street from Caxton Hall; the police caught unawares hastily sent policemen on bicycles to get reinforcements. Seconds before the women reached the bottom of Downing Street; seventy policemen took their place barricading their path. The women pushed against the police and where they broke through the cordon a woman would run towards the door of the Prime Minister’s residence only to be pushed back into the melee. The protestors had the upper hand as they outnumbered the police and managed to force their way up Downing Street but as they did so more police reinforcements arrived. The women were now outnumbered and, police pushed them back towards Parliament Square. Many including, Annie were arrested.
When Annie appeared in court, it was stated that she had smashed a window at the Home Office where two one-pound weights had been found. After her arrest, Annie was taken to the police station where she broke the windows in the Inspector’s office with a hammer she had in her pocket. Annie was then searched and, more means of breaking windows were found. The case was adjourned. Annie declared that she refused to recognise any government or obey any law until women received justice. The next day the hearing reconvened. Annie was found guilty and was fined £5 plus £4 and 10 shillings damages. Annie refused to pay and was sent to prison for one month.
By the time Annie was imprisoned some concessions had been made towards the women prisoners. Although still not categorised as first division, the women were not forced to wear prison clothes or eat prison food; during their exercise, they were allowed to converse although the remainder of the day was spent on their own. For the first two weeks, visitors were prohibited although they were permitted to receive: reading material so long as it did not relate to suffrage activities, fruit and flowers.
Annie’s next arrest was in April 1912 for breaking a window at the medical officer’s house at Aylesbury prison with a stone around which was wrapped a piece of paper “A protest against forcible feeding.” In court, Annie stated she was employed as a housekeeper at Clement’s Inn, the headquarters of the WSPU. Her actions were in protest at the condition of the suffragettes who had been imprisoned in Aylesbury prison. The inconsistent approach on sentencing between the courts, second division with or without certain privileges such as books, angered the women as their identical actions to women sentenced elsewhere received sentences without privileges. They protested. When that fell on deaf ears, they went on hunger and liquid strike. Force-feeding followed. Seventeen suffragette prisoners released early from Aylesbury. On their release, the women were all, said to be, in a weak state.
The value of the window Annie broke was stated to be 1shilling and 6 pence. As the spotlight was on Aylesbury prison, the case was well reported and well attended. At the hearing to decide if Annie should be bailed or sent to gaol on remand, several witnesses were called. The two who had apprehended Annie and handed her over to the police were keen to play up their role and implied their detention of her was a laudable act. Annie, defending herself, enquired if she had resisted; the witness retorted that she had. With that, she was remanded until the next hearing. Annie pointed out that as she stated she was guilty, why, could she not be sentenced there and then. Her protestation was ignored and, she was sent to Oxford Prison. On her return to court, Annie was clear why she had taken the action she had pointing out she had only thrown a stone at the window with the blind down so no one inside could be hurt. She was fined £5. Refusing to pay Annie was sent to Aylesbury Prison for two months. Annie on hearing this said she wished she had broken every window. Annie refused food and was force-fed. A pencil scrawl notes next to her sentence ‘eye trouble. Danger of blindness’ appears to be an opinion of her medical state following force-feeding, which was the reason given for her early release.
A report records that one hundred and two prisoners across four prisons were force-fed during 1912, twenty-four at Aylesbury. A subsequent report has the figure one hundred and two crossed out in pen and replaced, so it reads fifty-seven. Whatever the true number the total arrested and imprisoned during 1912 was two hundred and forty, and the percentage is high in either case. Eighty-four prisoners were released before they had served their full term. Some, the reports notes, was due to a pre-existing health condition which was exacerbated by refusing food. The report continues that thirty-five were released due to the consequences of force-feeding; a few agreed either to give an undertaking not to re-offend or such a promise was proffered by a relative and a couple on compassionate grounds.
In April 1913 Annie was arrested for obstructing the police outside Holloway prison while waiting for Mrs Pankhurst to be released. Annie refused to be moved on by the police shouting that if anyone tried to make her, she had a loaded revolver. When Annie was searched, it was found she had a gun and a licence. Perhaps surprisingly Annie was released on bail with a surety of £20 and an undertaking not to attend any rallies. Annie gave her occupation as Braille copyist and that she lived in Laurence Street, Chelsea. At her trial, Annie claimed the revolver was purely for protection. The prosecution stated they had doubts as to Annie’s sanity and she was remanded in custody for a week for medical reports. Brought before the court again presumably with satisfactory medical reports she was fined £5 or twenty- one days imprisonment. The magistrate remarked that it would be much better to keep to the needle and drop revolvers.
Annie was involved in July, of the same year, in a confrontation with the police over the rearrest of Annie Kenney under the Cat and Mouse Act. Annie was charged with assault and obstruction of the police. Evidence was presented to the court that Annie had struck a police officer. She was fined £2 or twenty days in prison. She declined to pay. Votes for Women, dated 1 August 1913, reports that Annie was in jail but in the same issue it records Hannah Bell, one of Annie’s aliases, was convicted at Westminster Magistrates Court of breaking windows at the Home Secretary’s home. She was fined forty shillings, twenty shillings damages or twenty- one days in prison.
It seems likely that Annie committed the second offence in July while out on licence under the Cat and Mouse Act. Indeed, her next arrest was following her release on 2 August on licence for that offence. She attempted to evade being taken back to prison by dressing as a man. Dressed in a Norfolk suit and a straw hat she was spotted by an eagle-eyed policeman entering St Pancras Station. Annie was returned to Holloway Prison.
Rereleased on 13 September Annie, on the same day, broke a window at the Home Office in protest at the prison authorities failure to return her clothes. The window was valued at £2. Annie claimed her clothes were worth £3 demanding the magistrate righted the wrong. Her protest failed. Annie was sentenced to two months hard labour, to which Annie responded that she would not do it. She was released after a week of refusing food under the Cat and Mouse Act.
Annie remained out on licence. In July 1914 she was arrested again. Annie had entered St John’s Church, Westminster, during evening service. She placed a tin with a lighted candle attached to act as a fuse in the church. She was apprehended on her way out. The tin was put in a fire bucket and extinguished. In court, Annie was clear that she had intended to blow up the church. At her first appearance in court Annie, who continuously insulted the magistrate, lay full length along the seat in the dock and asked the warder to get her up when it was over. She was remanded in prison.
A week later, Annie was brought before the court again. To the charge relating to the church was added one of attempting to blow up the Metropolitan Tabernacle on 10 May. Annie addressed the court throughout the proceedings. Blowing up a church was nothing to the destruction of a woman. The magistrate was talking drivel. She boasted that although imprisoned on many occasions, she had yet to serve a full sentence. She was taken back to prison to await trial on both charges. Several newspapers report that Annie appeared demented. The case never seems to have come to trial. In August 1914 the WSPU wrote to the Home Office asking what the position was in respect of Annie as she still remained a prisoner and while she was not a member she was imprisoned for suffragette activities.
In fact, when the amnesty was prepared, Annie was the only suffragette in prison awaiting trial. An order of no prosecution was entered towards the end of September 1914 following correspondence from Members of Parliament and Mabel Tuke of the WSPU.
No further trace of Annie has been found.
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Annie Batchelor, recorded as a married woman, was arrested in February 1908. As the London Daily News, February 12th 1908, wrote many women tried to enter the “Parliament of Men”. One attempt involved two vans on the tailgate of which sat men looking like typical delivery men. As they neared the Houses of Parliament, they jumped down opening the back doors and out tumbled suffragettes who made straight for St Stephen’s entrance. They were quickly stopped by a line of hastily assembled police. The melee continued in Parliament Square with Annie Kenney and Christabel Pankhurst directing operations from hansom cabs. Other women drove through the square using megaphones stating their protest. Annie had travelled down from Yorkshire to participate. In the reports of the court case, her occupation is given as “idle”. Charged with obstruction, she was found guilty and sentenced to six weeks in prison.The file holds correspondence concerning allocation of two of the prisoners to the Third Division. No order was made at court as to which division they should be allocated to and therefore by regulation both had to be included in the Third Division. A letter refers to a circular that had been sent in 1906, which mentioned to the class of prisoner who should be in Division Two. In the author’s view, the two prisoners of whom he was writing, which were not Annie, had ‘antecedents [which were] respectable’ and of a generally good character. The letter continues that the request to move the two prisoners was because ‘they belong to class for whom the Second Division was intended, and ought not to be sent to associate with ordinary criminals in the Third Division.’ Such description, it was felt, clearly did not apply to Annie. No further trace of Annie has been located.
Ivy Constance Beach was arrested in March 1912. Born in Southampton in 1881 it is not known who her parents were. By the age of nine, she was at boarding school in Cheltenham and, ten years later in 1901, she was an apprentice draper’s assistant living over the shop in the Isle of Wight. When she appeared before the court in 1912, Ivy was stated to be from Brighton with no occupation. Ivy was charged with malicious damage to five windows in Edgeware Road, the property of the Postmaster-General to a value of £25. Ivy was charged alongside Catherine Green, Marie Brown and Mabel North. Bail was set at £100 and, all four women elected to await trial on remand in prison.Ivy pleaded not guilty and was acquitted of the charges. Ivy died in 1931.
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Olive Beamish, full name Agnes Olive, was born in 1890 in Cork, Ireland. Her father Ferdinand who described himself as a gentleman on his marriage certificate and her mother Frances had five children: four boys followed by Olive. The family moved from Ireland to England for the boys to be educated at Clifton College. She was sent to the local girl’s school joining, the Women’s Social and Political Union at the age of sixteen. After school, she went to Girton College, Cambridge studying mathematics with economics but was like all women at the time unable to graduate.
After university, she moved to London and started working for the WSPU. All of her entries in the arrest record is under the name Phyliss Brady, the alias she always gave to the police. Olive was first arrested in April 1913 for being found with combustible material with the intention to commit a felony; a railway carriage had been damaged by an explosion and, the police believed the railway stations were to become a target. Olive and Millicent Dean with whom she was arrested, were considered to be suspects. A policeman saw them walking in Croydon at 1.45 am, each carrying a leather travelling case. When questioned as to why they were out so late they replied they were returning from their holidays. Followed by the policeman for some distance, they dropped the cases and ran. According to the newspaper reports, the retrieved cases contained tins of paraffin paper saturated with oil, candles, matches, cotton wool and firelighters. There was also a piece of paper on which had been written “Beware of how you treat Mrs Pankhurst.”
When the two women appeared in court, they requested an adjournment to prepare their defence. This was agreed to, bail being agreed at £50. Olive continued to use her false name and gave an invalid address. Olive was remanded in custody where she immediately went on hunger strike and was in due course force-fed. At her trial, she was sentenced to six weeks.
Olive continued to refuse food, and the authorities continued to respond by force-feeding. On April 25th 1913, the Prisoners (Temporary Discharge for Ill Health) Act 1913 came into force, commonly known as the Cat and Mouse Act. This legislation allowed prisoners who were in danger of dying to be released and then taken back into prison when they had sufficiently recovered. Olive was released three days after the Act came into force, 28 April, but failed to return to prison.
Her details were circulated “late of Albany Street, Regents Park, twenty-three years, 5ft 6in, complexion swarthy, hair dark, eyes dark, medium build.” The reason for the reference to ‘late of’ is that the authorities had believed that on release the prisoner would ‘give the address to which she intended to proceed, and also of any intention to remove from that address to another.’ Not unsurprisingly Olive did not notify them when she left Albany Street.
Surveillance was mounted around King Henry’s road in Hampstead. When Olive left one of the houses on the road, she was followed to Chalk Farm tube station where she caught a bus. Olive got off at Holborn. There she was arrested taken to Cannon Row police station and from there conveyed to Holloway. Olive refused to be examined, to drink water or take food. A memo noted that Olive was ‘a dangerous woman who has probably been guilty …of arson since her release.’ In the writer’s opinion, Olive should be held ‘as long as possible whether she is committed for trial on the fresh trial or not.’ She should not be released ‘merely because she is refusing food.’ The recommendation was that force-feeding should commence on 17 January which, it was noted, had successfully been endured the last time she was in prison. When Olive was informed of the intention to force-feed her, she informed them she suffered from appendicitis. An examination proved otherwise. It was noted that Olive had ‘considerable physical strength.’ After Olive was force-fed, she protested by breaking the panes of glass in her cell.
Two days later she was charged with setting fire to a house in Englefield Green, Surrey. Olive’s response was “I am almost certain not to appear.” While at court it was noted Olive ate and drank ‘two egg sandwiches, two cups of tea and a teaspoonful of Brands Essence.’ Back in prison awaiting trial Olive refused food. Concerns were expressed and, in response, the Bishop of London paid a surprise visit to Holloway. He reported that he found Olive well “and kindly and considerately treated by the prison officials.” He was not permitted to witness the force-feeding but had been assured the only side effects were indigestion and sickness. Another prisoner he had interviewed only screamed, he wrote, as a protest at what was about to happen. His report angered the WSPU who felt it was a whitewash as he had failed to witness the force-feeding. Olive issued a statement in which she stated that she had informed the Bishop that force-feeding was very painful and she was frail. The Bishop; had assured her that her fellow prisoner only screamed through protest. When Olive put this to the prisoner, she was clear that she had told the Bishop that she screamed as a means of relieving her feelings as she knew that what was about to happen was so awful, if she did not scream she would go mad.
A doctor examined Olive noting that she was fed using an oesophageal tube as Olive could expel the nasal one. Each time she was force-fed Olive ‘violently resists.’ In the doctor’s opinion, Olive was anaemic with low blood pressure. Overall he viewed Olive’s condition as ‘fairly good’ and, there was ‘no indication that her health [was] suffering to any marked extent.’ He had been assured she had not lost any weight, but this was a visual conclusion as Olive refused to be weighed. He expressed concern that Olive’s violent resistance to being force-fed might injure her health.
An application for bail was made to the court to allow Olive to prepare her defence. Dr Flora Murray appeared to support the application informing the court that Olive was too ill to prepare her defence. She offered to undertake to have Olive living with her. The application was denied as Olive had been released before and disappeared, she had also avowed when charged not to appear again. However, a further application was successful as Olive had by then survived the balance of her first sentence. She was released on 12 February.
When the case came to court Olive, appeared wearing a long coat to which she had pinned bunches of violets. The prosecution evidence centred on suffragette literature found in the garden and the identification by a police officer at Holloway who had picked them out from thirteen women. Fifteen witnesses were called twelve of whom put the women at different places on the evening in question and, few were confident that these were, in fact, the two involved. The house had been empty for three years and, no one could say with any certainty how leaflets got into the garden. Olive’s barrister, George Rivers Blanco White, proffered no defence stating that the evidence was too flimsy on which to convict and thus Olive never spoke or gave an alibi. The judge was clear when he was speaking to the jury, after the conclusion of the evidence, that Olive had not said where she had been that night.
In less than fifteen minutes, she was found guilty with the jury recommending clemency as she had been led astray by older women. Her barrister pointed out her health was frail which the judge dismissed stating it was her own fault as she refused food. She was sentenced to eighteen months, the judge’s only clemency being not to impose hard labour as he was entitled to do.
Tests were carried out on suffragettes on their release for the presence of bromide which relaxed the body, making force-feeding easier to administer. Its presence was detected when Olive was tested. Waldorf Astor, MP for Plymouth, alarmed at these revelations asked Reginald McKenna, Home Secretary if there was any truth in these reports. Mckenna was clear no administration of bromide had taken place.
On 21 March 1914 one of Olive’s brothers, Gerald, visited her in prison, a report of which was taken by the authorities. Gerald was only granted permission to visit her as he had written stating that he wished to do so ‘with the object of persuading her to give an undertaking to abstain from militancy in the future.’ The reply made it clear that her sentence would only be remitted if she undertook to ‘abstain for the future crime or incitement.’ Gerald requested a visit after 5 pm. A note on the file suggests a time of 6 pm as Olive was force-fed at 4 pm and would be sufficiently recovered by then for a meeting.
Her brother urged her to give the undertaking pointing out to Olive their mother’s serious illness. The report states that Olive was reluctant to give the undertaking as she feared reprisals from the WSPU. At Olive’s request, her brother spoke with WSPU leaders who make it clear it was Olive’s decision to make. They were sympathetic to her position and assured her there would be no comeback if she gave the undertaking.
On the file are reports which were completed after each session of force-feeding from the day her sentence commenced on 24 February. On admission, Olive refused food, water and to be examined. The report the following notes that Olive is ‘a little anaemic’ with ‘some acne spots on her face.’ On 26 February, after only one day of no food, force-feeding commenced by nasal tube. A report dated 5 March notes that Olive ‘refuses to go to exercise. Is sullen and refuses to answer questions.’ One dated two days before her release records that to encourage her to eat ‘appetising food’ had been proffered. This failed so in the morning; Olive was fed by a nasal tube and in the evening by oesophageal tube. Each report from the start of her sentence notes that Olive was ‘very resistive’. Only on her last day when Olive knew she was going to be released did she agree to take food herself.
On March 25th 1914, Olive was released from prison having undertaken to stop her political activities. Her undertaking reads ‘On condition that the whole of the remaining portion of my sentence be remitted and I am otherwise released absolutely unconditionally, I undertake in the future not to violate the present existing Criminal law, or to incite or others to do same. In this, I make no admission as to any act in the past.’ Having served one month of her eighteen-month sentence, Olive was released. She was sent by taxi to Dr Flora Murray’s residence at Bedford Gardens, Campden Hill, London. The file contains a letter from her mother dated 27 March thanking the authorities for releasing Olive, and a file note observing that her mother’s handwriting was the same as on two anonymous letters which had been received.
In the Suffragette, she wrote that this had been a reluctant decision only made due to the state of her mother’s health. Whatever the truth of the statement at the time her mother lived until 1929. In a later letter, Olive explained it was a combination of her mother’s health and the long term effect on her own health. She needed to earn a living, and if she were too weak, she would not be able to do so. Olive was tested again for bromide, and again it was found to be present. This was also found to be the case when tests were carried out on another suffragette. Dr Flora Murray outlined in a report supported by Dr Frank Moxon the consequences of the administration of bromide or ‘any other hypnotic drug’ which could include long term mental impairment. Olive was, according to a WSPU speech, found by a doctor to be ‘weak and very anaemic. She had a rash on her face, and in reply to questions described her sensations and symptoms, which led me to form the conclusion that she had been given large doses of bromide.’ The files note that the only drug administered was, when necessary, an aperient which would have been used to relieve constipation. It was a serious allegation in particular in light of the Home Secretary’s adamant denial, but the gathering clouds of war seem to have averted the press attention.
After the First World War Olive founded a secretarial business in London joining the Clerical and Administrative Workers Union. Eventually moving to Suffolk, she became a leading member of the Sudbury and Woodbridge Labour Party. She died in 1978.
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Ellen Barnwell was arrested in September 1909 in Birmingham for taking part in the protests connected with Herbert Asquith’s, the Prime Minister visit to the city. In consequence of other disturbances Asquith was by now being accompanied by a team of bodyguards. When he arrived at Euston Station for his journey to Birmingham, he was so closely guarded that his own sister had difficulty in joining the party. Anticipating trouble, the city of Birmingham was heavily policed, and barricades were placed to prevent any protestors reaching Asquith who was to speak at Bingley Hall. Most of his journey to the venue was conducted through underground passageways and even when he was travelling by car mounted police heavily flanked him. The roads around Bingley Hall were closed and barricaded, the windows of the building padded and barred. The attendees at the meeting were escorted along a passageway lined with mounted police and in front of them another row of policemen.
To ensure that they were not barricaded out several suffragettes had taken lodgings in the road behind and in front of Bingley Hall. Two women threw stones from the lodging room breaking a window in the Hall, the police charged into the building and arrested them. Two others climbed onto a roof behind the Hall and with the help of an axe dislodged some roof tiles which they threw onto the roof and Asquith’s car. At this the police turned hoses onto them to dislodge the women. Soaked to the skin the women stayed put even though the police were now throwing stones at them. They were eventually removed by officers who climbed behind them onto the roof. Wet and in one case bleeding from a head wound the women were marched to the police station in their stockinged feet. Another pair locked themselves into a room and continuously operated a car horn until the door was broken down and the horn removed. Many of the crowd had come to support the suffragettes who repeatedly attempted to break through the barricades. Anyone who objected in the Hall was forcibly ejected. Even during Asquith’s carefully planned departure to the station Ellen and Hilda Burkett managed to throw stones at his train’s window breaking one.
The women were refused bail, the right to talk to Mrs Pethick Lawrence or Christabel Pankhurst who had arrived from London to discuss their defence, or dry clothes. Ellen was sentenced to one month in prison. On her arrival at Winson Green she immediately went on hunger strike and was force fed. Two of her fellow prisoners, Laura Ainsworth and Mrs Leigh launched actions in the courts regarding their treatment and being force-fed. This garnered considerable press coverage and many of the press cuttings are included in the official files. Clearly the authorities were concerned at the public perception of the treatment of suffragette prisoners.Various medical reports are included in the files. One dated 10 October notes that Ellen was being forcibly fed by cup ‘the compulsion required to make her drink …is of the slightest’. The following day it is noted that she ‘is regaining her strength’. On 15 October Ellen successfully refused food presented by means of a cup or teaspoon. Therefore, in the evening the nasal tube was used. Ellen, it was reported, did not resist; her hands being held by two wardresses. Ellen stated that her throat was sore the following morning, but an examination did not substantiate this and therefore the nasal tube was again used. Ellen declared that ‘she was quite well’. The following report noted that Ellen was ‘progressing favourably’.Ellen and five others complained to the prison authorities about their treatment. A meeting of the prison visiting committee was convened to hear their complaints. Ellen objected to being allotted to the Second Division, ‘treated as a common criminal’ and being force-fed. She had no complaints against the prison staff whom she said had treated her kindly. The testimony of the other five women sheds light on the treatment metered out to all of them. One described being fed by a nasal tube while ‘wrapped in blankets with hands tied down’.The day before her release Ellen was examined by two doctors who noted to be ‘in good health and free from injury’. Ellen was released on 16 October. A report notes that Ellen stated, ‘she felt quite well but not very strong’.
Ellen was born in Birmingham in 1881 to George, an electroplate worker and his wife, Sarah. In 1908 she married John Beamish Barnwell, a school attendance officer. They do not appear to have had any children and this one skirmish appears to have been the end of Ellen’s suffragette activities. She died in Birmingham in 1943.
Henrietta Barwell was part of the deputation that headed the protest which became known as Black Friday. They arrived at St Stephen’s entrance to the Houses of Parliament at about 1.30 in the afternoon where they stood for two hours corralled by the police helplessly watching as proceedings unfurled. Then Mrs Pankhurst, Mrs Garrett Anderson and Mrs Ayrton were shown into the Prime Minister’s room and were informed by his secretary that the Prime Minister would not see them. The three women were then shown back to the St Stephen’s entrance where they remained until six in the evening when the House of Commons rose.
William Barwell Browne Barwell married Elise Victorine, Countess Leiningen Westerbourg in 1873 in Budapest, Hungary. The couple had three children, Lilian born 1877, Henrietta born 1878 and Richard born 1879. By 1894 Lilian had died. Nine or ten years after the birth of Richard the marriage ran into difficulties. In her petition for divorce Elise stated that William was cruel to her. When Lilian was ill with TB contrary to doctor’s orders, he insisted on her travelling abroad where she tragically died. Following Lilian’s funeral William then blamed Elise for their daughter’s death and prevented her having any contact with either Henrietta or Richard.
When Elise was permitted to return to the marital home William instructed the servants not to take any orders from her and regularly spat at her feet in contempt. Elise discovered that William was present in Henrietta’s room when she was bathing. She locked the door to prevent him whereupon he attacked her. Elise was not given any money by William and was driven to pawn her jewellery to raise funds. William’s cruelty escalated; in one incident he wrenched her hair out with a button hook. William had several mistresses; some of whom he brought back to the marital home. The affidavit of Elise makes for sad reading. Her petition was granted with maintenance of £300 per annum being awarded. Elise had custody of Henrietta; William could see her at the weekends but only at the home of a nominated person. Unusually for the time Richard could apply to the court himself for a discussion regarding his custody arrangements.
Like many suffragettes of any class or background personal tragedy influenced Henrietta’s support of women’s suffrage and rights. Following the divorce, which was considered socially unacceptable at the time whatever the reason, Elise, Henrietta and Richard are recorded as residing in a lodging house in Paddington. For appearances Elise states she is widowed. Ten years later, Elise is living alone but although she petitioned for the divorce and William has remarried, she this time states she has been married for thirty-seven years. Like so many suffragettes Henrietta is not included in the 1911 census return.
Henrietta was arrested twice in November 1910. On the first occasion the charges were dropped. On the second occasion she was charged with breaking windows at the War Office along with two others. Although the previous charge had been dropped it was taken into account when sentence was passed. All three strenuously objected which fell on deaf ears. Henrietta was sentenced to two months in prison.
In 1920 Henrietta married Leonard Whibley, a Greek scholar and confirmed bachelor aged fifty-seven. Leonard died in 1940 and Henrietta in 1949.
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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 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.
 HO 144/1193/220196-1to233
 DPP 1/19
 DPP 1/23
 HO 45/12915
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.
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.
Bertha Bacon was arrested on 24 November 1911. Bertha was charged with malicious damage for smashing three windows of the dining room at the Westminster Palace Hotel valued at £5. She was charged alongside Beatrice Lee and Annie Thoy, but both were discharged due to lack of evidence. Evidence was given that Bertha had been seen with her arm raised and the witness had grabbed it lowering it to her side. Bertha responded: “It’s all right; I have done it, and I will stop here.” The Bishop of Gloucester was sitting next to the window adjacent to one which was smashed. The magistrate was clear that as people were in the dining room, this was a dangerous and malicious crime. Bertha objected to the use of the word malicious as she had not intended any malice to the hotel manager or anyone else. Feminine indignation compelled women across the country to do these things; it was her duty. She drew a comparison to male undergraduates who in high spirits smashed windows and yet were not charged with malicious damage. Bertha was fined £5 or twenty-one days imprisonment and £4 damages.The Roll of Honour of Suffragette Prisoners was compiled by suffragettes from their collective memories in the 1950s and is therefore not necessarily accurate. The only Bacon recorded is N Bacon, not Bertha. N is for Nelly Grace Bacon born 1867 who was arrested in May 1908 who was Bertha’s sister-in-law. Nelly, unlike Bertha, does not appear on the amnesty record. This may be because when the matter came to court Nelly, charged with obstructing the police by refusing to leave the steps of Downing Street, stated she was a journalist, there in that capacity with no affiliation to the suffragette movement. The reason for her arrest was that she had complained at being moved. She was bound over to keep the peace and fined 20 shillings or fourteen days in prison. A photograph of her arrest can be seen: https://www.bridgemanimages.co.uk/en/asset/422359/summary
The day after her trial her fine was paid, and Nelly was released from prison. As a journalist, not a suffragette, her criminal record would not be amongst the suffragette files.
Bertha Bacon was born Bertha Thurgood in 1866, Ongar, Essex to James and Marte. One of eight children, her father was a farmer. By the 1891 census, Bertha is employed as a governess to a family in Kensington. She married Ernest Bacon in 1900 in London who was the brother of Nelly, the journalist. Bertha and Ernest had two daughters, June and Olive. The 1911 census is interesting as Ernest correctly records he is married but puts lines through where his wife would usually be recorded. Clearly, she was part of the protest against the census. It would be interesting to know if the lines were in anger or support.
After her release, Bertha continued to campaign. She was a member of the Women’s Tax Resistance League. In April 1913 a gold ring set with a coral and two pearls were auctioned off to pay her tax bill. Members of the League attended the auction in Romford, borrowing a chair Mrs Kineton Parkes, secretary of the league, held a meeting outside the auction explaining that it was wrong to pay taxes if you did not have a voice through a vote. She also pointed out that it was wrong for women to be paid less than men as men, in consequence, were being displaced from their jobs for women who cost less to employ.Bertha died in 1922.
John Baines , according to the records, was arrested on 10 July 1913 and 17 November 1913 in Manchester. The record continues with entries for George Wilfred Baines and Sarah Jane Baines, also known as Jennie. Both Jennie, her husband George Wilfred, and their son George Wilfred were all arrested. There is no mention of a John Baines in either the newspaper reports or Votes for Women which record that Sarah Jane was arrested alongside her husband and son. It is clear that the record for John should actually read George Baines. Mother and son were arrested on 10 July 1913 and 17 November 1913. In addition, Jennie was arrested on 5 May 1913.
Sarah Jane [Jennie] Hunt was born in 1866 in Birmingham, the daughter of James and Sarah Hunt. George Baines was born in Stainton, Westmoreland. At eighteen he was a shoe maker’s apprentice. In September 1888 Jennie and George married. The couple settled in Newton Heath, Manchester and George worked as a boot and shoemaker. A year later their first child, Annie Louisa Hunter, was born. The couple went on to have four more children of which two survived to adulthood: George Wilford born in 1896 and James Granville born in 1899. The family moved quite frequently, in 1901 they are living in Burnley, Lancashire and ten years later they are living in Stockport. Jennie often worked to supplement the family income, at one time she was a sewing machinist.Jennie first went to work aged eleven in a gun factory. Through her parents, she became involved in the Salvation Army and through this the Temperance Movement and the Independent Labour Party. When Jennie was twenty, the Salvation Army sent her to work in a men’s mission in Bolton where her role was to accompany charged men to court to provide support. After marriage, she stood for election to serve on the Board of Guardians, served on the Unemployed Committee and the Feeding of School Children Committee. George was a staunch supporter and was himself a trade unionist and socialist.
Jennie suffragette activities are well recorded, but despite this, her actions will be discussed as they firstly shed light on her husband and son and secondly the entries for the family highlight the shortcomings of the amnesty record. It is often stated that Jennie was arrested at least fifteen times and yet the amnesty record state three dates only, all in 1913, a confusion caused by the aliases Jennie used.
She was an early member of the WSPU. The first arrest located in the national press is December 1906, one of eleven women arrested in connection with a protest outside the House of Commons coupled with the successful entry by eight or nine suffragettes into the lobby. Jennie was charged with obstructing the police. In court, each was fined twenty shillings or fourteen days in prison. Each choose to go to prison even though this meant they would be away from their families at Christmas.
Jennie was released on New Year’s Eve. The women gathered at the WSPU headquarters and then went to the Holborn Restaurant where many of them spoke about their time in prison particularly how icy cold it was. Within weeks Jennie had travelled to Hebden Bridge where Emmeline Pankhurst was giving a speech in support of the strike over pay and conditions which had been ongoing since August of the year before. She was charged with watching and besetting the house of one of the employers at the centre of the strike. This charge which in effect, means preventing someone from carrying on their regular business, has interestingly been used recently to charge anti-fracking protestors. The police claimed she had incited people to violence and she was fined two pounds or fourteen days in prison. Within days of her sentence, she was released from prison, the fine being paid by supporters, who felt she was needed for the cause. Jennie was shortly appointed an organiser of the WSPU which paid her a salary.
In October 1908 Jennie was arrested. Asquith had travelled to Leeds to speak, and Jennie is reported in the press to have been the organiser of the women protesting and attempting to speak to Asquith. Jennie was charged with unlawful assembly and disorderly conduct. At the initial hearing, Jennie was clear that matters had only gone the way it had as the spokesman for the unemployed had hijacked their position outside where Asquith was speaking. The magistrate referred the charges to the Assizes making Jennie’s case the first suffragette charges to be heard by a jury. Both Gladstone and Asquith were subpoenaed to give evidence by Jennie. This she did by telegram to which she did not receive a response. During her trial, she addressed the jury, and it is from this that much of Jennie’s background has been gleaned. She was found guilty and refusing to bound over to keep the peace was sentenced to six weeks imprisonment. An interesting footnote is the following year Winston Churchill was to visit Southport. Various bodies exchanged letters regarding his security. One from the Chief Constable refers to the visit by Asquith the previous year ‘Mrs Baines ….informed me that trainloads of women had intended coming from Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester and London, with the express purpose of smashing windows and damaging property, and that this scheme had only been abandoned owing to a message from Mrs Pankhurst, suspending operations.’When Jennie was released, she was feted in Leeds and London. The picture below shows Jennie on her way to Trafalgar Square in December 1908 where she had been conveyed in an open-top carriage accompanied by a brass band.
The following July Jennie was arrested again and found guilty of resisting the police. The sentence was fourteen days. Jennie went on hunger strike.
When the Pethick Lawrences, Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst were charged in 1911 one of charges was that they had conspired with several women including Jennie to break windows. Amongst the bundle of evidence is a letter from Jennie to Christabel. She writes ‘I am sorry to tell you I have failed in regards to Labour and Socialist Women. They seem worse than ever to convince.’ In her attempt to persuade Jennie ‘tramped miles.’ Her problem lay in the fact that while she had twenty-two women prepared to travel to London a peaceful deputation to Lewis Harcourt’s house, a Member of Parliament, who was a staunch anti-suffragist, they did not want to take part in any form of militant action. ‘On those conditions I refused them after using all persuasion possible.’ Jennie that she will let Christabel know ‘how many women I have got to join a real fighting band.’ Her tactics were to continue to lobby women all week that way ‘they won’t have much time to change their mind.’On 6 August 1912, Jennie was charged as Lizzie Baker with malicious damage in Dublin, Ireland. Sentenced to seven months in prison she was released on 19 August 1912. Lizzie Baker was arrested in Dublin, Ireland on August 7th 1912. This name is another used by Jennie Baines [see the previous blog]. She had travelled to Ireland to join in protests connected with Asquith’s visit to the country. During which a hatchet was thrown at his carriage, and a burning chair tossed over the balcony at the Theatre Royal. Arrested, a search of her lodgings revealed flammable liquid and gloves, but no direct connection with the crimes could be made. The charge was reduced to damaging property to which she pleaded guilty and was sentenced to seven months hard labour. As before she went on hunger strike but was freed after only a few days later when the doctors felt unable to force-feed her without damaging her already precarious health.
Although Jennie often went on hunger strike, she was not force-fed as she suffered from a medical condition that made it impossible to administer. On her release, she continued making speeches and organising rallies. Her arrest on 5 May 1913 was in consequence of an attempt to enter Hyde Park to hold a meeting. She was charged with obstructing and resisting the police. She was sentenced to one month imprisonment. Jennie was released under the Cat, and Mouse Act as her health was poor on 10 May to return to prison on 26 June. The files include a form which gave direction as to the process to be implemented under the Act. When the order for release was sent by post from the Secretary of State’s office the conditions of release were to be read to the prisoner and then when it had been signed and dated by the prison governor handed over to the releasee. When release occurred, the documentation had to be dated, and the hour of discharge noted. Slightly different procedures were to be implemented if the order for discharge was received by telephone or telegram. Once discharge had been settled upon the prison had to contact the local police to establish if they were to be present when the prisoner was to be released. Both the police district where the offence had been committed and the district responsible for the address to which the prisoner was travelling had to be notified and provided with a photograph. Fingerprints were to be taken by force if necessary. In Jennie’s case, the form notes that hers were already held by Scotland Yard. The prisoner’s medical condition was to be recorded ‘in case incorrect allegations on these points may be made by her friends afterwards.’ When the prisoner returned, similar details were to be recorded. If there was any question over identity fingerprints were to be taken to allow verification, again by force if necessary.
On 13 July Jennie, her husband and George Wilfred were arrested and charged with causing an explosion which damaged two railway carriages belonging to Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company. They were arrested at their home where the police were said to have found bomb-making materials, a loaded revolver, a pistol, and several masks amongst other things. Later that day Katie Wallwork, the secretary of the WSPU in Manchester, was arrested. They were all charged with malicious damage to which the charge of possession of an explosive substance was added. All were sent to prison to await trial. Jennie immediately went on hunger strike and was released due to her failing health. The newspapers reported that she had developed St Vitus Dance or Sydenham’s chorea which causes involuntary jerking movements of the hands, feet and face.
The case came to preliminary trial in August 1913. George during his evidence stated he had been in his shop all day. Jennie had been out and had returned wearing a white wig, for which disguise he gave no explanation. He provided various reasons for the seized items being in his house or shop: the masks belonged to Jennie, and she had had them for years, the gun was for starting running races. Due to a lack of evidence, the charges against Katie Wallwork were dropped, but it was held there was sufficient evidence to pursue the case against the other three. They were all released on bail, but Jennie was immediately arrested under the Cat and Mouse Act and returned to Holloway Prison.
When the matter came before the courts again in November, George and his son appeared, but Jennie did not. The police stated that she had been released under the Cat and Mouse Act giving an address in London. Since then, she had not been seen. The case against the two Georges continued in her absence. Both were acquitted. Jennie was in hiding, and shortly she and her family left for Australia. There she continued her political activities. In 1919 Jennie was arrested and charged with displaying a red flag. She was sentenced to six months but was released within weeks. Jennie continued to be a campaigner right up until her death in 1951.