WOMEN AND MEN PROTESTORS
vy Bon was arrested in May and June 1914. Her first arrest was for breaking windows in Grosvenor Square, found guilty she was sentenced to two months imprisonment. Force-fed she was released under the Cat and Mouse Act.
Only just released from prison, Ivy was arrested for attacking two pictures at the Dore Galleries: Love Wounded by Bartolozzi and a drawing of the Grand Canal in Venice by John Chapland. The manager grabbed her to prevent any further damage, but Ivy put up a struggle until the police arrived. In court, Ivy refused to give her address. In evidence, a letter was produced which Ivy had left at the Galleries. In the missive, Ivy vowed that she was prepared to die for the cause, which was now a war. The case was adjourned. At her trial Ivy continuously screamed ‘Torturers, murderers! I will do it again and again until we get justice’. She was sentenced to six months in prison. With the outbreak of the First World War Ivy would have been released under the government pardon. Nothing else has been found out as to Ivy’s identity. The name appears to be an alias; next to her entry in the amnesty record it says ‘unknown’.
The next two entries are Richard and Alfred Bond arrested in October 1908. The event at which they were arrested had been well advertised beforehand. The WSPU hired a steam launch decorating it with banners and flags announcing the planned demonstration; for a whole afternoon, it sailed up and down the Thames eventually arriving at Putney during a well-attended sculling competition. Handbills were handed out on numerous street corners. The event, in question, was the intention of a delegation to obtain access to the Houses of Parliament. Its high-profile advertising meant that the authorities were aware of the women’s intention giving them plenty of time to prepare a response. Mrs Pankhurst was invited to discuss the situation with the authorities but instead hosted a meeting to rally support further.
On the evening of 18 October, the streets between Trafalgar Square and the Houses of Parliament were heaving with police, some mounted. The numbers differ from each newspaper report, but the police admitted to five thousand men. A cordon was placed around Parliament, and the crowds were swept back at every attempt to move closer. At Trafalgar Square, where many had gathered the mounted police climbed the steps preventing the masses from progressing towards their intended destination. A deputation left from Caxton Hall, but they too were turned back. May Billington was one of those arrested alongside Richard and Alfred.While the Votes for Women newspaper, dated 19 October 1908, gives small biographies on most of the women arrested at the end it simply states, “and twelve men”. Both men were charged with obstruction, found guilty they were bound over to keep the peace and fined £5. No biographical information is given, which would shed some light on their motives. It seems though from the press coverage that the event was also attended by people with other gripes such as unemployment which might explain their involvement.
The next entry is also a man called James Booty arrested on 27 July 1913. Sylvia Pankhurst, who was on licence released from prison under the Cat and Mouse Act, was invited to speak at a Free Speech Committee rally in Trafalgar Square. The day before, in the East End of London, Sylvia addressed a gathering explaining that the invitation was conditional on her refraining from attempting to enter Downing Street to present a petition. Such an undertaking ‘would curtail my freedom of speech, for I implicitly believe that the argument of sticks and stones from the East End, will bring about a general revolt that will win for women the vote…our motto in future must be ‘Deeds not words.’ Sylvia intended to attend the rally and at its close march to Downing Street confident that she could ‘rely on your protection to prevent my being re-arrested’.As planned, Sylvia led over a thousand people towards Whitehall and Downing Street. A line of police officers stood firm across Whitehall. Many of the crowd attempted to burst through. Twelve women, including Sylvia and eleven men, one of whom was James, were arrested. James was alleged to have grabbed a policeman by the throat and struck another. He was fined 40 shillings or a month imprisonment. His response when arrested was “I must have gone mad”. The magistrate observed that many respectable people appeared to have been swept up in the moment. Nothing else has been found out about James.
Lilian Borovikovsky, known as Lilly, was arrested in February 1909. She was born Lilian Bertha Dora Prust on 30 August 1880 to Christopher and Louisa. Her father, a vaccination officer, died in 1882, leaving her widowed mother with two daughters aged one and three. Louisa remarried in 1902, Charles Teague, a Cheltenham musician who played the organ at the local family church and was a well-renowned cellist. Lilian’s sister Emily married and moved to Finland although she returned to live in Cheltenham in the early 1920s. Lilian married Sergi Alexandrovitch Borovikovsky in June 1902; the groom was described as of the Russian Finance Office in Petersburg. Lilian met Sergi through her cousin Helen who was, first, married to a Russian called Chrouschoff. Just before the ceremony, Lilian was baptised into the Church of England. A Russian service followed the nuptials at the Russian Embassy in London. Two years later Lilian gave birth to a son Sergei. In 1905 her husband was appointed to a commission on press censoring by the Czar, embroiled in the Russian crisis Lilian returned to Cheltenham and never returned.
As a child, Lilian appears to have attended Cheltenham Ladies College and later their annual reunions. She became a member of the Women’s Freedom League. She was elected to the committee in January 1909 at a meeting held at the Cheltenham Vegetarian Hotel.
Lilian was part of a delegation led by Charlotte Despard. The latter attempted to deliver a petition to the Houses of Parliament. They were met by a considerable police presence including some on horseback. She was arrested and charged with obstruction. Found guilty she was sentenced to one month’s imprisonment of which she served two weeks; released due to failing health.
After her release, the Women’s Freedom League hosted a reception to welcome her home themed as an American Tea Party and sale. Lilian was clear that she would be more than happy to take part in another demonstration as she now felt more “suffragettish”, on this basis, she encouraged all at the gathering to accompany her next time. Lilian was presented with the Holloway badge given to all women who served time in the prison and a copy of the Awakening of Women by Mrs Swiney. All the proceeds were donated to the Despard Prisoners Fund.
Lilian continued to be involved with the Women’s Freedom League becoming the Cheltenham Branch Honorary Secretary. During the First World War Lilian trained with the Red Cross. Lilian died on 25 May 1926, a patient of Gloucester Mental Hospital.
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