Daily Mail (27/Mar/1907) - Girl Suffragette: Dora Thewlis in Prison Dress

The following is a transcription of a historic newspaper article and may contain occasional errors. If the article was published prior to 1 June 1957, then the text is likely in the Public Domain.




Miss Dora Thewlis, the sixteen-year-old Suffragette for whose case Mr. Horace Smith, the magistrate, showed so much concern, is still in Holloway Prison, and although she is under remand she is wearing a prison number.

She herself and her parents at Huddersfield, to whom Mr. Horace Smith wrote a solicitous letter offering to send her home, scorned the idea that she was too young to be a Suffragette raider and martyr, but now solitary confinement has broken the girl's spirit, and she wants to go home.

A representative of the London "Evening News," who visited Miss Thewlis at Holloway yesterday, states that she was wearing a yellow cardboard disc, on which was inscribed "E.4.21." Her cheeks were pallid, and she appeared pathetically pleased at being visited.

"Oh, I am glad to see you," she cried. "I feel so lonely here. I want to go back home. I have had enough of prison. The food is awful, and I have eaten practically nothing since I have been here; and look at me in these horrid clothes! They are so heavy, and they tire me. I am ashamed of myself.

"Since I have been here nobody has been to see me or written to me; everybody has forgotten me. It is too bad. My only comfort has been derived from letters which, I have received from home. Look what my mother has written to me:

Dear Child, — I am very proud of the way you have acted, so keep your spirits up and he cheerful. You ought to have told the magistrate when he said you were too young and ought to have been at school: "What about working at Huddersfield at a loom for ten hours at a stretch?" You know what you went to London for, and what you are doing. You are a member of the Women’s Social and Political Union, who are looking after you, so do your duty to the W.S.P.U.

"In fact, they are all very proud of me at present, but I do not think they will be after to-morrow, for I intend asking the magistrate if I can go home. I do think it is impertinent of Mr. Horace Smith to say he will pay my fare out of the poor-box. My father has the money to pay for it if I go back, and I also have a little money of my own.

"I expect I shall incur the displeasure of my sister Suffragettes for not remaining in prison, but I am determined on that point. I shall not stay here. I am too. young.

"Let those older than myself come to prison.

"When the magistrate asked me if I would go to prison I said 'Yes,' just to do like the rest; but, as I said before, I have regretted it ever since."

Miss Thewlis complains that she is suffering from ulcerated tonsils and that she is feeling very unwell.

Miss Christabel Pankhurst yesterday afternoon stated: "We have had people from the Women's Social and Political Union seeing our prisoners every day, but the permits are very difficult to get. It would have been better if Miss Thewlis had been put with others of our prisoners. Owing to her being isolated it is not sur prising she has got low-spirited.

"The magistrate refused our bail most unkindly from the girl’s point of view. If she wants to go home her wishes will have to he respected."