Suffragettes February 2 1914




Mrs. Dacre Fox, writing from Lincoln’s Inn House, the headquarters of the Women’s Social and Political Union, has replied to the Bishop of London’s letter to Mrs. Diplock, the leader of the Union’s deputation which waited upon him on Monday last regarding the health and treatment of Rachel Peace, a militant Suffragist, at present imprisoned at Holloway. After declaring the dissatisfaction of the Union with the result of Dr. Winnington-Imgram’s visit, “erroneously characterised as an ‘investigation,'” Mrs. Dacre Fox adds: “The whole truth of the matter is that, like others, you have allowed the Government and the prison officials to hoodwink you. It is obviously their business so to do. The Home Office agrees to an investigation, and at the same time makes it of no avail, by putting blinkers on the investigators. A whitewash brush, my Lord Bishop, has been placed in your hand by the authorities, in order that the public shall still remain in ignorance of the diabolical methods used by the Government in their desire to terrorise the militant women. The deputation which waited upon you on Monday was earnest in urging you to insist upon seeing for yourself the operation of forcible feeding. We are of opinion that had you strongly persisted you could have wrung from them the permission to be present. Obviously, in the circumstances, your investigation of the horrors of forcible feeding was no investigation at all.”

The letter concludes: “Finally, you state in your letter to Mrs. Diplock that Mr. McKenna was prepared to release Miss Peace immediately if she would give an undertaking not to commit militance, such as burning houses. We would ask you, my Lord Bishop, what this offer, conveyed by you from the Home Secretary to Miss Peace, had to do with the investigation you had to make? We consider that by holding out this temptation to Miss Peace to sin against her conscience in forswearing what she believes to be right you were acting as an ally of the Government, and in this issue between it and us. The fact that the Home Secretary made such an offer is a proof that ordinary prisoners such an idea would never be entertained, nor would the offer be made. It is clear, the, that in the case of the Suffragists the Home Secretary is not punishing them for what they have done, but is inflicting, or threatens to inflict, this torture upon them to prevent them doing in the future what they believe to be their duty. An endeavour to force a recantation of principle is, and always has been, the essence of torture.”

The following letter has been addressed to the Bishop of London by Mrs. Diplock:

The Limes, Putney Park-avenue, Jan. 31.

My Lord Bishop, – I have to thank you for your letter of the 29th inst., which I have forwarded to the organiser of the Women’s Social and Political Union, and to inform you that I am much dissatisfied with the contents thereof. It is much to be regretted that you allowed yourself to be side-tracked by the officials of Holloway Prison so that no investigation of forcible feeding took place, which was the purport of your visit. It is true that the letter you wrote me to take to the chaplain was to inquire into Miss Peace’s present condition, but the object of your promise to the deputation to visit the prison yourself was for the express purpose of investigating the process of forcible feeding. It was the intention of the prison officials to side-track you as they did; such being the case I suggest that you again visit Holloway and leave no stone unturned to get to the bottom of the matter. If they had nothing to conceal, the demand for thorough investigation would have come from the prison officials themselves. Those who shun exposure have generally something to conceal.

As to the Home Secretary’s terms of release offered to Miss Peace, it is as if the martyrs of old were shown the furnace so as to make them recant. This I consider additional needless torture. A copy of this letter has been sent to the Press and to the Home Secretary. – Awaiting your reply, yours faithfully,


A Service, at which the Bishop of London consecrated the new church of St. Michael, Golfer’s Green, yesterday, was interrupted by Suffragists. After the Bishop had consecrated the altar at the Lady Chapel one of them called out: “I protest, my Lord Bishop, against your version of the forcible feeding that is going on in our prisons,” and another shouted, “Why did you not watch the operation for yourself?” Half a dozen women were conducted out of the building.

THE MORNING POST JANUARY 31 1914 ……… Militants and Forcible Feeding – Bishop of London’s visit to Holloway – Fears not borne out by facts

THE MORNING POST JANUARY 31 1914 ……… View of the Bishop’s visit to Holloway by the Morning Post

THE MORNING POST FEBRUARY 10 1914 …….. Bishop of London’s second visit to Holloway – The Screams Explained

THE MORNING POST FEBRUARY 11 1914 …….. The Bishop of London in Disfavour



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