Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Pinner Prisoners - Suffregetes


Pinner Prisoners

At the May 1912 meeting of the Pinner (Harrow) Women’s Social & Political Union (WSPU) it was reported that Pinner presently had two suffragette prisoners in jail.

The Pinner Prisoners were Mrs Janie Torrero and Madame de Roxe

Mrs Janie Terrero, Secretary of Pinner WSPU of Rockstone House, Pinner (who’s husband was at the Pinner WSPU meeting) had written from her Holloway prison cell a letter to the local WSPU branch detailing “the horrors of the hunger strikes and force feeding” in terms both dramatic and affecting according to the local newspaper.

At the same meeting the speaker Mrs Penn Gaskell stated

“The Clarion call of Christabel (Pankhurst) and others like it was in their ears and she hoped they were awakened and revolting at last”. The other speaker being Miss Wyley recently released from Aylesbury prison

At Uxbridge the WSPU organiser was Miss Clara Giveen

A meeting of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) was held at Hayes on Sunday 21st February 1912 at 3:00pm the speaker being Miss Phyllis Ayrton. At Hayes the leading suffragette was Marion Cunningham of Oakdene, Hayes, who’s house in 1912 was searched by police looking for Christabel Pankhurst.

A letter from Marion Cunningham to Mrs Pankhurst was found in the house of Miss Annie Kenney’s house was read out at during an Old Bailey case

“I applaud your courage and perfectly believe in militancy. Nothing else can succeed but many of your union cannot agree with you…..Isolated cases involve much agony to the perpetrators and little or no damage to the government. Whatever is done now must be something big, something done by all members, some careful night attack where all women get off scot free if possible. Why not a gigantic raid on pillar-boxes with specially made Indian rubber bags filled with staining acids – say sulphuric hydrogen, I am a volunteer for that

The WSPU also organised a huge suffragette meeting with Mrs Emmeline Pethwick Lawrence as speaker at Uxbridge town hall on Tuesday 27th February 1912 suffragette and president of Esperance girls club and Esperance co-operative dress making society

“It was not the Government who brought about great reforms. Neither the liberal or the conservative government would have given old age pensions or workmen’s compensation, unless the people had exacted it for themselves

they did not care for the few propertied women but they did care and were working for the great masses of women who were earning their own livings. Was it reasonable to suppose that they would spend their time, lives and money and make all the sacrifices they did for the sake of a few propertied women. No, their one great aim was to see that the women in the industrial world..."

Also active locally was the non violent National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS) headed by Miss Katherine Raleigh,

The Watling street section (one of six) of the great NUWSS , Women’s Suffrage Pilgrimage went through Uxbridge on the way to great demonstration on July 26th 1912 at 7pm on Thursday the 24th July.

A local branch of the Womens Tax Resistance League (linked to the WSPU on the principle of "No vote - No tax"). was established with Miss Katherine Raleigh and, Mrs Budding, Mrs Parkes and Miss Lees, who’s meeting at West Drayton village green in 1912 was attacked by thugs as was another Suffragette meeting at Harefield.

Michael Walker