Daily Mail (27/Mar/1907) - Exceptional Treatment of Miss Thewlis

The following is a transcription of a historic newspaper article and may contain occasional errors.

IN PRISON UNIFORM.

EXCEPTIONAL TREATMENT OF MISS THEWLIS.

A corespondent who has seen Miss Thewlis in prison writes:

I was conducted into a courtyard, together with some ether dozen visitors, holding in their hands squares of black wood, on which were inscribed the numbers of the prisoners they wished to see.
After preliminaries lasting about half an hour, I was led into a room, where I was told I should see Miss Thewlis. This room was divided from another by a thin iron grating, each compartment being provided with a wooden table. I was given a chair, and after I had. waited some three minutes Miss Thewlis entered.
She was in prison dress.
She wore a blue bodice and skirt, a white check apron, and a simple kerchief depending from the neck of the bodice, the material of which being coarse would otherwise have imitated the skin. A thick pair of shoes and a white cap completed her attire. In every respect her dress conformed to the prison uniform, even down to the yellow cardboard disc on her breast, with the number E. 4. 21.
I was surprised to find her in prison attire, since I had always understood, add in this supposition I have since been confirmed, that other prisoners when on remand, such as Millie Marsh, and a Frenchwoman named Emilie Foucault, had been allowed to retain their ordinary attire. There was one exception, Miss Annie Kenney; but the fact that she wore prison attire when in gaol was due to her own choice, as she determined to go through the thing altogether.
So astonished was I to find Miss Thewlis in prison attire, that I asked her why she was dressed in that manner. She replied, "I don't know. Look at me. Don't I look funny? How do you like me? I feel 'that' tired. These clothes are so heavy."
Then a wardress locked the door of the compartment in which Miss Thewlis was standing, and another wardress came into my room and stood by the door listening to all our conversation. During the week she had been in prison little Dora had undergone a great change. She was thin and wan. and had lost all her girlish gaiety.
Little Dora looked indescribably sad on hearing that it was time for me to leave, and looked apprehensively at the wardress, who opened the door of her room with a large bunch of keys.
"Well, come and see me at the court tomorrow," she said, and then, accompanied by the wardress, she disappeared.
As I left Holloway Gaol I could not help but feel pity for this child, whose previous militant ideas seemed somewhat foreign to her charming, simple, and graceful nature.
Later in the day Mrs. Pethick Lawrence saw her, and the pleasure of little Dora was indescribable.

It is contrary to law (writes a legal I correspondent) to require prisoners under remand to wear prison clothes. A remand implies that the case has not been decided; in other words, there has been no conviction. Until conviction the prisoner is regarded in the eyes, of the law as innocent, and innocent persons are not called upon by law to wear garments solely intended to mark conviction. Of course, it is possible that Mr. Smith convicted this young Suffragette, and merely put her back to communicate with her parents.

Daily Mail (27/Mar/1907) - Exceptional Treatment of Miss Thewlis

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This page was last modified on 6 February 2018 and has been edited by Dave Pattern.

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