Leeds Mercury (22/Mar/1907) - The Suffragette Martyrs: Fifty Women go to Prison

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.


Fifty Women Go to Prison.



The 76 persons arrested outside the Houses of Parliament on Wednesday night, during the serious disturbance, which lasted for several hours, were brought before Mr. Horace Smith at the Westminster Police-court, on charges of creating a disturbance, and penalties ranging from 30s., or 14 days' imprisonment, up to 40s., or a month, were imposed on them. In the course of the proceedings strong comments were made on the women's behaviour by the prosecuting counsel and also by the magistrate.

Mrs. Sproson, who has been previously convicted in connection with similar disturbances, said she did not dispute the officer’s statement, and was promptly fined 40s. or a month. Sentences of 40s. or a month were passed on Alice Milne and Mrs. Barrett, and of 20s. or 14 days on Miss Evans. Miss Crummey, Lizzie Price, Bessie Smith, Miss Saltonstall, Mrs. Donnelley, Miss L. A. Wilcox, Mrs. Lacon, Mrs. Hollowell, Annie Hawkins, and Mrs. Rawle.

Ellen Brooks (Huddersfield) asked the magistrate if walking quietly along the pavement was disorderly conduct. She said she was walking quietly when she was arrested. She entirely denied that there was disorderly conduct on her part, and desired to call two fellow-prisoners to give evidence on her behalf. After a consultation with Mr. Pethick Lawrence, she asked for an adjournment of the case until Monday. which was granted.

Kate Ford, the next prisoner, denied shouting, which a police-constable attributed to her. She was bound over in the sum of £5 to be of good behaviour for six months. Mrs. Bennett was fined £1 or 14 days.


Miss Julia Varley, of Bradford, who was convicted for taking part in the February demonstration, was fined 40s., or a month.

Miss Jane Lockwood (Sheffield) and Miss Alice Ibbotson (London) were fined 20s., or 14 days; while Mrs. Arncliffe-Sennett was bound over in the sum of £5 to be of good behaviour.

Mrs. Montgomery was fined 40s., or 14 days.

A similar fine was imposed in the cases of Mrs. Atkinson. Newcastle, Miss Margaret Sidley, and Miss Lizzie Berkeley.

In the case of Dora Thewlis, a young mill girl, of Huddersfield, who was in shawl and clogs, the magistrate said she appeared to be quite a child, and she ought not to have been brought up to London and turned adrift in the streets to face the police. She ought to be at school, and he asked her if she would go back.

The prisoner, a comely little lass, said she would not. She had come up to represent her mother and sisters, who could not come.

Mr. Smith: You ought to be with your mother.

He added that the way in which these women had been brought into London was disgraceful to anybody who had had an action in it. The prisoner would be remanded for a week, and he would communicate with her father and mother.

Miss King Townsend suggested that the constable who gave evidence against her was not a descendant of George Washington. Adjourned for a week. Mrs. Jenkins, in answer to Mr. Muskett, said she had been brought to London by Miss Pankhurst, who paid her expenses. She was fined 20s. or 14 days.

There was a similar decision in the cases of Miss Jessie Arnott, Miss Winifred Bray, Mrs. Lillingstone, Miss Cecilia Clifford, Miss Rozier, Miss Elizabeth Schofield (Rochdale), Miss Lilian Cobbe, and Nurse Alice Roberts. Miss F. Smith was bound over in the sum of £5 to be of good behaviour.

In the case of Patricia Woodlock, of Liverpool, who has been twice previously convicted, Mr. Smith said he would give everybody warning that if they were convicted in this manner on more than one occasion, they would share the fate of the present prisoner. She would have a month’s imprisonment with no option of a fine.

The following prisoners were then disposed of:— Miss Jackson (Preston), Miss Annie Hobson, Mrs. Sarah Pogson, Mrs. Hannah Mitchell. Mrs. J. Smith, and Miss Irene Mitchell — all fined 20s., with the alternative of fourteen days; and Miss Lena Marsdon, 40s. or a month. Mrs. Jessie Smith, of Glasgow, was bound over to be of good behaviour.


In the ease of Miss Annie Evelyn Armstrong, a buxom young woman from Blackpool, the magistrate said he would remand her for a week, she being only a child. She ought to be taken care of, and he hoped her father and mother were present in court to speak for her. The prisoners age was given as seventeen.

Miss Cimino, who was fined £1 or fourteen days, said she had come from Rome specially to attend the women’s meeting.

Mr. Muskett remarked that she had come very far for very little.

Mrs. Cooper, of Dewsbury, complained that she had been knocked about and hurt, but she did not know by whom. She knew it was a policeman, but she could not say which one it was. She was not disorderly ; she was too faint to move on when told to do so.

The Magistrate (to prisoner, who is a big woman): You don't look like a fainting woman. However, I will adjourn the case to Monday, if you think you have been affected by your fainting.

Prisoner did not think it wise to have the case adjourned, and she was fined 20s. or fourteen days.

The following were similarly dealt with:— Mrs. Emily Caroline Townsend, London ; Mrs. Ann Morrow, London ; Mrs. Alice Toyne, Inner Temple, London ; Miss Scawthorne ; Mrs. Mary Barrows, Preston ; Mrs. Sarah Ann Wilkinson, Rochdale ; Mrs. Sheard, Mrs. Impey, Miss Biggs, and Mrs. Clyde.


Miss Mary Lee, described as a waitress, of London, when asked if she had any questions to ask the constable who had given evidence against her, said it was not necessary, and at the same time she waved from the dock a banner bearing the words, "Votes for women."

The magistrate said he did not think it a decent thing to bring into a court of justice, and the woman was fined 40s. instead of 20s.

The following were the remainder of the sentences:— Madame A. Chatterton, Manchester, two previous convictions, one month without the option of a fine ; Miss F. Graves, Mrs. Margaret Clayton, Miss Nellie Kerwin, Miss Bessie New, Mrs. Pinnace, Dr. Mabel Hardie, Miss Ada Wright, Madame Naici Peters, and Miss V. Jerome, 20s. or fourteen days. Mrs. Marian Holmes, Croydon, bound over for six months.

The last case taken was that of Mr. Orage, who was described as a journalist, and who was the only man arrested. He said he was assisting a lady friend in the crowd when he was arrested. He called Mr. Jackson, a lace merchant, who admitted to Mr. Muskett that both be and the defendant were sympathisers with the women suffrage movement, but only in the abstract.

Mr. Muskett. by permission, withdrew the charge, and the proceedings, which had lasted nearly six hours, then ended,]]