July 12-1909

“We arrived at Bow Street at 10 o’clock this morning and were tried and sentenced. I got one month second division as did all the others except Miss C****. C*****, B**** and Mrs H********* S****** who had six weeks as the windows they broke were plate glass and more valuable. We left Bow Street at about 4.30 Miss M** and Mrs L**** stayed to the last teaching us songs. There were 18 of us in Black Maria, the atmosphere and jolting indescribable. A regalia floating from the end of an umbrella was held through a hole in the roof all the way.

On arriving at Holloway we were all taken into the corridor outside the reception cells. Our names were called and we answered. Miss W***** then asked to see the Governor. The wardress who had tow coloured hair and was very disagreeable, fetched the matron who wanted us to answer to our names again. We refused and asked again to see the Governor. At last he was sent for. “What’s this,” he said, “a mutiny?” He refused to see us all together. He wasn’t in the habit of addressing public meetings, he said. He went into his room and we decided that Miss W***** should go in and see him alone.

After hearing from Miss W***** that we intended to rebel against all second division rules, the Governor said he would let us keep our own clothing and bags until he communicated with the Home Secretary if we went quietly to our cells and on the understanding that we were not allowed to go to Chapel or Exercise. He refused to see us collectively in the morning but would see us separately. We agreed to go to the cells.

I was taken over with K******* B**** and was put in a cell next to her. I discovered that Miss S***** was on the other side.

A little brown loaf, absolutely uneatable and a pint of cocoa were brought. I ate an apple and some sandwiches I had left from lunch, made up my bed and  read Votes. The bed consists of a wooden platform raised about 4 inches from the ground and which can be placed on end when not in use, a mattress, a pillow stuffed with horse hair, two sheets, a blanket which appeared to be made of woven string and a rug. It began to get dusk so I prepared for sleep.

When sitting on my bed in my nightgown combing my hair the door was flung open and the wardress announced the doctor. He says, “I understand you do not wish to be medically examined.”

I say “No.”

He departs. I am in bed, which is not so bad, and it’s about 8.30. Delighted to be able to rest at last.

Page 1 Diary


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9 Responses to “July 12-1909”

  1. kat Says:

    this is so interesting, I can’t believe you found it 100 years after it was written. What happens next? The only thing is, I wondered why you have put the names of her friends as ‘Mrs W***’? Is that how she has written it? Maybe she didn’t think they would want to be written about. I wonder who they all are??

  2. goldenboots Says:

    The anonymous Suffragette did use full names so in response to the comment from Kat, I have now used full names – much more interesting I agree. Perhaps I was being oversensitve.

  3. Cecilia Rossey Says:

    As an artist I’ve become interested in recreating “posters” from the suffragette movement to reawaken today’s young, women especially, to what people suffered in order to give them the right to vote. Today we take it casually but courageous women suffered and died for the right. Suffragettes are romanticized, but few realize they were spit upon, harassed, kicked, jailed and tortured just to receive the right to vote. We are sympathetic to the injustices done, based on race, but the woman’s fight to gain rights is overlooked and under appreciated. We need to shout women’s history to enliven the future.

    • mybeautfulthings Says:

      Im so sorry I didn’t see this! Don’t know what happened to Notifications.
      Thank you for your interest. I’d be very interested to see what you’ve produced
      All the best 🙂

  4. MadamJMo Says:

    Hi there. I’ve only just found your blog after Persephone linked to it recently. This is so fascinating. Thank you so much for posting this here and sharing it with people. The Suffragettes were an awe-inspiring collection of women, and (as a staunch contemporary feminist activist) I am continually impressed by and indebted to them. Would you be willing to share more about your own grandmother’s experiences as a Suffragette? In sisterhood, Jane.

    • mybeautfulthings Says:

      I’m so sorry I didn’t see this! Don’t know what happened to Notifications.
      Unfortunately we don’t know much about our Great Granny, only that she, too, was imprisoned for her actions and we have the Holloway brooch in the family, sadly for me it went down the female line so my cousin has it and she has daughters!
      My father, a novelist, wrote a book for teenagers based on the life of a Suffragette. He used what he knew in there and di lots of research – which is how he came to have the Diary.
      Thank you so much for your interest -I hope this reply reaches you.
      In sisterhood, Sally

  5. WordsFallFromMyEyes Says:

    Utterly fascinating. And why medically examined??

    Bless these wonderful “wild” women.

    • goldenboots Says:

      Medically examined to be humiliated and frightened I think! Weren’t they amazing women? Knew you’d love this story – and all in just her own words, not a story but a truth, just as your writing is.

      Thank you for reading and commenting.

      All the best:)

    • goldenboots Says:

      I hope you’ll be able to find time to read the rest of the entries – you’ll find them compelling indeed. 🙂

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