Suffragettes February 3 1913





Many people who went to Kensington Palace, Hampton Court, and Kew yesterday, with the object of visiting the rooms in those Royal residences, which are usually open to the public, were disappointed. They found that, as a measure of precaution against threatened attacks from militant members of the Suffragist societies, and consequent on damage done at the Tower on Saturday by a woman visitor, the Office of Works had issued a general order closing the Palaces not only in London, but even Holyrood, in Edinburgh. The authorities have taken this step because it is feared that relics and other valuable objects which cannot be replaced might be destroyed by some mischievous and irresponsible advocate of the franchise for women. At Kensington Palace and Hampton Court the number of visitors yesterday was considerable, owing to the afternoon proving so very wet, and much annoyance was expressed by most of them when they found that the police had received instructions not to allow anyone to enter. In Kensington Gardens the coach-house was open, and many had to be content with viewing the interesting old vehicles therein contained.

The scene of outrage at the Tower was the Jewel House, where are kept the Crown Regalia and other extremely valuable articles, many of them of historic importance. The Regalia are always closely watched, and are exhibited in a specially constructed case, not only for the prevention of theft, but also to preclude any possibility of their being injured in any respect. The case is within steel bars, which make it impossible to be reached. On Saturday a woman received a ticket for the Jewel House in the ordinary way, and with other visitors was making the round of the several show cases. She had paid very close attention to that containing the Regalia, and then walked over to one which holds the Insignia of the Order of Merit, which was founded by Edward VII. While there she is alleged to have drawn a short iron rod from some part of her dress and proceeded to wreck the case. She was immediately seized by one of the warders of the Tower and taken to the police, who arrested her and conveyed her to Leman-street Police Station. She said her name was Leonora Cohen, aged thirty-nine, belonging to Leeds. Later she appeared before the Magistrate at the Thames Police Court, and was committed for trial on a charge of committing wilful damage.

A report on the matter was made to the authorities of the Tower, of whom Field-Marshal Sir Evelyn Wood as Constable is the principal, and it was decided temporarily to close the Jewel House to all strangers. The damage done was only to the case, and is not extensive.

Inquiries at the British and Natural History Museums and at the Guildhall elicited the information that it is not intended at present to close those, nor the National and other Galleries. These were open in the usual way yesterday, but extra precautions were taken in every case where the public were allowed admission, and this involved calling in many members of the staff who ordinarily have been enjoying their Sunday rest. The greatest care of the contents of the Museum will be taken during the week if it is decided to keep then open, but the probability is that they in turn will also be closed to the public.

As threats have been used with regard to the Royal Palaces, the regulations for their protection and that of their occupants will be of a more stringent character than is normally the case while their Majesties are in residence in London.

During Saturday night attempts on letter-boxes were made, and at the West Central district sorting office a bag which had been brought from one of the street collecting boxes was discovered to contain celluloid, a box of partly-burnt matches, and a damaged postcard. A slip of paper had the words “Votes for Women.” Three of the fine plate-glass windows of Messrs. Hampton’s establishment in Pall-mail East were broken by a woman who was arrested. They are in Whitcombe-street, opening off Pall-mail East, and in one of them was some high-class china, which was also damaged. A woman, who gave the name of Jane Short, but would not say where she lived, was detained.

Cardinal Bourne`s Pastoral was read from all the pulpits in the Archdiocese of Westminster yesterday. After dealing with some purely Roman Catholic matters, the Pastoral condemns “those act of violence which have disgraced” the Suffragist movement in the following terms: “Each new phase in the world’s activity brings with it opportunities of serving or of thwarting the interests of our Divine Master; and while His adversaries do not slumber, those who are His friends must be ever on the alert. The public life of England has for a considerable time been agitated by the discussion of the expediency of allowing to women the right of voting at Parliamentary elections. On the question in itself there is no call for us to speak. Catholics are free to take either view, to admit or to deny this expediency. Powerful arguments may be adduced, great and honoured name can be invoked, on either side. Nevertheless, it is one of the duties belonging to our pastoral office to warn our flock against excesses, and possible moral faults, which many easily be committed in the pursuit of an object in itself legitimate. And it is more necessary to do so when the leaders in that pursuit do not all accept the authority of the Catholic Church, or even the principles of Christianity. On this account we most earnestly beg the faithful committed to our care, who have convinced themselves of the equity and expediency of the object which they are seeking, to be ever on their guard against any participation, direct or indirect, in any methods which are contrary to the law of God. We refer especially to those acts of violence to persons or property which have disgraced this movement, and which are manifestly contrary to justice and charity.”



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.