Posts Tagged ‘Holloway’

Friday 16th July

July 16, 2009

I slept well but was aroused by someone ringing the bell. The Doctor was sent for. I did not know who it was. I am getting weaker. I’ve applied for the Chaplain. The wardress said to me this morning,” Get your clothes and we shall want to take your bed out.”  I wonder if they will. Miss Carwin didn’t have hers all yesterday. Part of the process seems to be to degrade us by not allowing us to wash properly. Last night I had only my drinking can of water to wash in. My wash tin leaked violently. I asked the wardress if we were not supposed to wash at night and she said, “In this part of the prison you are only supposed to wash in the morning.”

In the morning we had had about a quart of water and a little scrap of soap which was taken away. This morning I have only had my drinking can of water to wash in again and no soap. May Herbert Gladstone’s downfall be speedy. I asked the Doctor yesterday for my ointment and bandage out of my bag and they brought me my bag and let me take it out. I also took out my toothbrush and face flannel with the wardress’s permission as the Doctor said I could have any bits of linen or things of that sort which I needed for the eczema.

Yesterday he also sent me a box of ointment which I did not keep as I was having my own. Yesterday I read morning and evening prayers, lessons etc. They understand refined torture in Holloway. I do not like the Governor and should not trust him. I wish I could faint or something of that sort. How long I wonder can I live without food and without air. The Chaplain has been and says he can’t get us library books. The Doctor has been also. He seems much amused and tries to persuade us to desist. A nice fat old wardress who I take to be the Matron of the Hospital and who can smile always comes with him which is a comfort. He is going to get me some soap and water and something to sit on as they have removed my mattress and bedding.

I have just had a good wash with about a quart of hot water and soap which was brought. They brought me my mattress, pillow and rug late this afternoon. I am waiting for my sheets and blanket now and then I shall go to bed. I have read nearly all the Book of Job. I saw through the peephole which was accidentally left open, Mrs Holt White Simmons go out of the cell opposite looking ghastly. I wonder if I look likewise 4 days without food.  Miss Carwin has got 10 days close confinement. The Governor and Matron came this afternoon but to no purpose. God help me to hold out. I feel so chokey when I think of the outside world.

July 12-1909

July 12, 2009

“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

July 11th 2009

July 11, 2009

Today, while sorting some of my late Father’s papers, I came across an envelope marked Suffragette’s Diary and I began to read. Serendipity indeed – the entries begin on July 12th 1909, one hundred years ago come tomorrow.

What follows is a transcript of the Diary, written by an unknown Suffragette, who was imprisoned in Holloway , along with a number of other window breakers.

I have used only initials for the other prisoners though they are in the Diary in full. The only name we don’t know is that of the author.

As my Great Grandmother was a Suffragette, also imprisoned in Holloway, I have a particular interest and intend to read, transcribe and publish each day so don’t yet know how the story will unfold.