VOTES FOR WOMEN
Sophie Albert was arrested on November 27th 1911. Research of the BMD records does not locate a person by this name. Suffragettes often used pseudonyms to disguise their identity from family. The arrest related to the activities of the suffragettes on November 22nd 1911, the date of November 27th may well relate to the date of her trial. A member of the WSPU like others she gave her address as Clement’s Inn the headquarters of the WSPU and home of the Pethick Lawrences. The giving of this address helped keep their identity hidden.
Ann Alice Alder was arrested on February 12th 1908 along with Violet Addis, mentioned in my first blog on the suffragettes, following an attack on the House of Commons. Ann, according to the newspaper report, was thirty years old, married and had travelled south from Honley, Yorkshire to attend the demonstration. Although both the newspaper reports and the suffragette record state her surname is Alder it is in fact Older.
Born Ann Alice Sykes on August 12th 1876, Slaithwaite, Yorkshire, she was the daughter of Joseph, a shoemaker and Rebecca Sykes. She grew up with her brother and sisters, the 1891 census return records Ann, 13 years old, working as a cotton piecer in the local mill. Ann married Charles William Older on April 14th 1900, she has no recorded occupation, Charles was a stoker. After their marriage they settled in Honley. They had on daughter, Murial, born in 1915.
Ann was a member of the Huddersfield WSPU alongside her aunts Ellen Beever and Annie Sykes who had first demonstrated in London in 1907 Ann was sentenced to six weeks imprison.
Ann died on February 16th 1958, Charles having died two years earlier.
Grace Alderman was arrested at the same demonstration on February 12th 1908. Like Ann Grace had travelled south this time from Preston. Grace was born in 1885, Crewe, the daughter of a solicitor. She was sentenced to six weeks imprisonment. Later she moved south to Witham in Essex. She died in December 1968.
Mary Ann Aldham was arrested an impressive five times on November 22nd 1911, March 7th 1912, March 19th 1912, November 17th 1913 and May 4th 1914. Born Mary Ann Mitchell Wood, the daughter of Robert and Mary Ann Wood, on September 28th 1858, Greenwich, her mother died less than two months after her birth. On October 10th 1883 Mary married Arthur Robert Aldham, a commercial clerk. Mary and Robert had two daughters Mary and Gertrude. Mary Ann’s life took a tragic turn when Arthur died in 1905 and Gertrude four years later in 1909.
Mary was arrested just over two years later on November 22nd 1911 for window breaking, one of 223. She was the first defendant in the dock at the trial attended by Christabel and Sylvia Pankhurst. Refusing to pay the imposed fine she was imprisoned for one month in Holloway. Mary often used her maiden name when she was arrested making it not a straight forward exercise to find her in newspaper reports. She was arrested twice in March 1912 and was imprisoned on the second occasion for six months. Mary went on hunger strike but was not force fed being released at the end of June. During her imprisonment she and her fellow inmates signed an handkerchief, a poignant memento. https://sussexpast.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Priest-House-suffragette-handkerchief.pdf
In November 1913 Mary along with three others protested at the Old Bailey during the trial of Rachel Peace who had been force fed whilst in prison awaiting trial. She was charged with breaking panes of glass in a screen at the back of the court worth 12 shillings. Asked her plea she replied “I did it.” She was sentenced to a month’s hard labour by then aged fifty five. Mary was released under the provisions of the Prisoners (Temporary Discharge for Ill-Health) Act 1913, the Cat and Mouse Act. This was enacted to allow the release of prisoners who were close to death through hunger strike. They were temporarily released to recover their health and reimprisoned when deemed fit often for the whole cycle to be repeated.
Mary’s last arrest was for the protest for which she is possibly most widely remembered. The Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy opened on May 4th 1914 attracting as always a high volume of visitor. During the early afternoon Mary attacked John Singer Sargent’s portrait of Henry James, breaking the glass and slashing the canvas with a meat cleaver. Imprisoned in Holloway pending her trail Mary was released under the Cat and Mouse Act and admitted to a nursing home.
By now her daughter Mary was married with children of her own. Mary returned to her family and her activities ceased with the outbreak of the First World War. Mary died in 1940. Her medals and other items from her time as a suffragette have recently been sold. http://www.the-saleroom.com/en-gb/auction-catalogues/lockdales/catalogue-id-lo10049/lot-6a4d7d24-8e8c-4e92-8a95-a4fb00a01ea2 .
7/29/2022 08:30:49 am
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