Olive Clapton or Clapson
Olive Clapton or Clapson was charged in March 1913, alongside Jane Cooper, with breaking windows at Schomburg House and the Oxford and Cambridge Club. Refusing to pay a fine they were both imprisoned for ten days. Olive appeared for a second time in the courts the following month, charged, alongside Helen Clarke, with causing an obstruction when selling Votes for Women. Found guilty, they were both fined ten shillings and sixpence.
Olive May Bartlett Clapson was born in 1892 in Tunbridge Wells, Kent. She had two elder sisters, Violet and Clarissa. Her father, Edmund, was an auctioneer’s clerk, and her mother, on the 1891 census, is recorded as a hotel proprietor to which the word pub has been added. Five years after Olive’s birth her father died. Alice and her three daughters moved to Brighton. By 1911 Olive is living near Regent’s Park employed as a children’s nurse.
In February 1912 she joined the Kensington Branch of the WSPU volunteering to sell the newspaper, Votes for Women. Following her release from prison, Olive who was now living in Finchley, north London, placed an advertisement in the Suffragette seeking a position looking after a child; it seems likely that her prison sentence left her unemployed.
Sylvia Pankhurst, who opposed the arson attacks, fell out with her mother, Emmeline, and sister, Christabel, turning her support to the Labour Party and the East London Workers Socialist Federation. Like many, particularly after the outbreak of World War I, Olive supported the Federation. At one fundraising gathering where one of the speakers was Charlotte Despard, Olive ran the fancy goods stall.
For many years, Olive continued to live in north London. She died in 1975 in Staffordshire.
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