Kate Bard and Others
Kate Bard was arrested twice: November 1911 and March 1912. The first offence was breaking a window in the Local Government Board offices; refusing to pay the fine she was imprisoned for five days. The only information she gave to the court was her address at the WSPU headquarters, Clement’s Inn. In March 1912 Kate was charged with maliciously damaging eleven windows valued at £110 at Gorringe's department store. Kate was sentenced to four months in prison.
Kate Bard and K Bardsley appear on the Roll of Honour of Suffragette Prisoners. However, only Kate Bard is included in the arrest records. The Suffragette Handkerchief at the Priest House, West Hoathly, signed by imprisoned suffragettes following the window breaking of March 1912, is autographed by Kathleen Bardsley. My hunch was that the two names were the same person. A search through the online collection at the Museum of London confirms that this is correct. They hold a card with a photograph of a woman with the signature Kathleen Bardsley underneath in brackets “Kate Bard”. [see above image]
 DPP 1/23
 DPP 1/19
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.
 TS 27/19
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.
Leave a Reply.