Suffragettes February 1 1913




The campaign of those militant Suffragists represented by the members of the Women’s Social and Political Union has now degenerated into a series of petty annoyances. So far they may be divided into three classes – the breaking of windows, the destruction of letters in pillar-boxes, and – the latest – the mutilation of golf greens.

Two further attacks on letter-boxes were made in Battersea on Thursday night. Just before midnight the postman clearing the box at Lavender-hill Branch Post Office discovered a brown paper parcel in flames. The package was addressed, “The Right Honourable John Burns, 39, Lavender-gardens,” and on it was written , “Something to go on with. Better in store.” The parcel contained a bottle of inflammable fluid. A number of letters were damaged.

During the past few days a number of the pillar letter-boxes in the Chelsea and South Kensington districts have also received attention. At The Grove, The Boltons, the postman, on making his usual collections, found that a black liquid had been poured to the letters, several being damaged. At Egerton-gardens, Hollywood-road, and Cathcart-road he discovered phosphorus, and when emptying his bag on one occasion at the sorting-office the substance by some means became ignited, and great difficulty was experienced in saving a number of the letters from destruction. Altogether some fifty letters have been more or less damaged. Despite close watching by the police the offenders have not yet been detected.

Several attacks on letter-boxes are reported from Cheltenham. The postal authorities admit the fact but refuse information as to the nature and extent of the damage. It is stated that in a least one case liquid gum was poured into a pillar-box, so that the postal packets all adhered to each other when collected.

A young woman last evening smashed with a hammer two heavy plate-glass doors at the Labour Exchange in Catherine-street, Drury-lane. Dropping the hammer she ran away, and was lost in the crowd.

The greens at four popular Birmingham golf courses were yesterday found to have been damaged by Suffragist, who had printed in the turf, by means of some sharp implement followed by the application of a corrosive fluid the words “Votes for Women” in large letters. The Walmley Course at Erdington has suffered most six severely, greens having been damaged in this way. At Kings Norton three greens are reported to be ruined, the acid having burnt the turf to such an extent that it will require to be renewed. The Edgbaston Club at Harborne has sustained considerable damage, and the Robin Hood Club at Hall Green has one green spoilt.

Nurse Huntingdon, who was sentenced at Bow-street to fourteen days` imprisonment in default of paying a fine of 40s. and costs, for taking part in the Suffragist disturbances, was released from Holloway Prison on Thursday night, her fine having been paid.

At a meeting of the Liverpool Library Committee yesterday it was decided not to grant an application by the Women’s Social and Political Union for the use of the Picton Lecture Hall on a date this month for the purpose of a demonstration. It was proposed said the Chairman, that the demonstration should take the form of a limelight lecture illustrative of the methods of militancy, and the question was whether the Committee should allow the use of a public building for such a purpose.

At Westminster Police Court yesterday Jackydawra Melford, twenty-four, described as an actress of Sedgeford-road, Shepherd’s-bush, was charged with discharging leaden bullets from a catapult to the common danger at Victoria-street, Westminster.

Mr. H. Muskett, for the prosecution, and defendant had been detected in an extremely wicked act which might have had the most serious consequences. On Thursday night, from a seat on the top of a motor-bus, she was seen by a constable to fire a missile from a powerful catapult. It was afterwards found that leaden bullets, weighing nearly 1½ oz., were being used. It was to be regretted that the penalty under the Police Act was so small.

Constable Cheshire, bearing our Mr. Muskett`s statement, deposed that the missile which defendant discharged from the motor-bus struck the Westminster Palace Hotel with resounding force, and then dropped into the basement area. It was found to be a heavy leaden bullet, with “Votes for Women” moulded on it. When defendant was removed from the top of the `bus she had a catapult in her lap, and apparently she dropped other bullets, for they were found in the roadway where she stood.

Divisional Inspector Shipper said another woman, who had been on the `bus accompanied defendant to the station. When Miss Melford was being taken to the cells a second catapult was discovered on the seat she had occupied in the charge room.

Mr. Mark Melford, actor, father of the defendant said one of the catapults belonged to him. He had a gipsy caravan at Sheppey Island, and he used the catapult for shooting rabbits. (Laughter.) Proceeding, Mr Melford said: “My daughter – an enthusiastic Suffragette through no fault of mine – (Laughter.) – I don’t blame her; it is her business – must have borrows my catapult.”
Mr. Horace Smith – But you don’t have bullets for rabbits with “Votes for Women” on them?
Mr. Melford – Well of course, I known nothing about that. This bullet – a specimen of the one I use – is enough to kill a rabbit.
Mr Muskett – The ones we have are quite enough to kill men, if only it hits them.
Mr. Melford – I have no control over my daughter.
Mr. Muskett – I ought to say that this new warfare has taken place in different parts of the Metropolis for several days.
Mr. Horace Smith imposed the full penalty under the Police Act of 40s., or a month’s imprisonment.

Mr Melford at once paid the fine.



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