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ReferenceTitleDate
HH16Criminal case files1874-1980
Country code GB
Repository code 234
Repository National Records of Scotland
Reference HH16/44
Title Criminal case file: Arabella Charlotte Scott, Edith Hudson, Elizabeth Thomson, Agnes Colquhoun Thomson (Suffragettes)
Dates 1913-1914
Access status Open
Access conditions This record has been digitally imaged and will not be produced for readers. The digital images may be seen in the NRS Search Rooms on the 'Virtual Volumes' system.
Location Off site
Description Arabella Charlotte Scott and Edith Hudson: convicted of Attempted Fire-raising at Jedburgh Sheriff Jury Court, 19 May 1913 and sentenced to 9 months imprisonment.
Elizabeth Thomson: convicted of Attempted Fire-raising at Jedburgh Sheriff Jury Court, 19 May 1913 and sentenced to 3 months imprisonment.
Agnes Colquhoun Thomson: tried on charges of Attempted Fire-raising at Jedburgh Sheriff Jury Court, 19 May 1913. The charges were found not proven.

There are 8 parts to the file. Pt 1 contains reports, correspondence and press cuttings and includes the following documents:

newspaper cutting from 'The Scotsman', 20 May 1913. Article entitled 'Suffragist Outrages. The Attempt To Burn Kelso Grand Stand' describes the proceedings in the trial of Arabella Charlotte Scott, Edith Hudson, Elizabeth Thomson, Agnes Colquhoun Thomson and Donald McEwan at Jedburgh Sheriff Court on 19 May 1913.

Prison Commission memoranda, 21-22 May 1913. Includes note that the 3 female suffragette prisoners have not taken food since their admission to Edinburgh Prison.

Copy minutes of communication between [the Scottish Office] and the Prison Commissioners, 21-24 May 1913. Discussion of treatment of Arabella Scott under the special rule for suffragette prisoners.

Notices of temporary discharge from prison for Elizabeth Thomson, Arabella Charlotte Scott and Edith Hudson under the Prisoners (Temporary Discharge for Ill-Health) Act 1913, 23-26 May 1913.

Copy minutes of communication between the Scottish Office and the Prison Commission, 6-13 Jun 1913. Discussion of action to be taken in event that the suffragette prisoners do not return to prison on expiry of licence. Includes minute by D. Crombie, [Secretary, Prison Commission] noting that Arabella Scott was rearrested on 7 Jun 1913 but that the whereabouts of Elizabeth Thomson and Edith Hudson are unknown to the Police.

Notes recording the Secretary for Scotland's decisions not to rearrest Elizabeth Thomson and Edith Hudson, 12 Aug 1914.

Pt 2 contains reports, correspondence and press cuttings and includes the following documents:

report from W. Stewart, Governor of Edinburgh Prison to the Prison Commissioners, 13 Jun 1913. States that Arabella Scott was reapprehended and committed to prison the day before, and that she refuses food.

Notice of temporary discharge from prison for Arabella Charlotte Scott under the Prisoners (Temporary Discharge for Ill-Health) Act 1913, undated.
Copy Order of the Secretary for Scotland for temporary discharge of Arabella Scott, 16 Jun 1913.

Letter from A. Moyes, Edinburgh City Police to the Secretary of the Prison Commission, 19 Jun 1913. States that Arabella Scott has not informed the police of her place of residence as required by the conditions of her discharge.

Report from J[?] Ross, H[ea]d W[arde]r to the Governor of Edinburgh Prison, 27 Jun 1913. States that Arabella Scott has not returned to prison on expiry of her licence.

Copy letter from A. Ross, Chief Constable, [Edinburgh City Police] to the Secretary of the Prison Commission, 1 Jul 1913. States that the whereabouts of Arabella Scott are unknown, and reports on police efforts to reapprehend her and other suffragette prisoners.

Report from the Governor of Edinburgh Prison to the Prison Commissioners, 26 Aug 1913. States that Arabella Scott was reapprehended in London on the 24 Aug, was readmitted to Edinburgh Prison on the 26 Aug and has not partaken of food since her reapprehension.

Reports from the Medical Officer and Governor of Edinburgh Prison, 28-29 Aug 1913. Notes that Arabella Scott was released from prison due to her condition on 28 Aug but that she refused to leave and was ejected by force.

Report from the Governor of Edinburgh Prison to the Prison Commissioners, 11 Sep 1913. States that Arabella Scott has not returned to prison on expiry of her licence.

Minutes of communication between the Prison Commissioners and Edinburgh Prison, 4-7 May 1914. Notes that Arabella Scott was rearrested in Brighton on 2 May, admitted to Edinburgh Prison on 4 May and has not partaken of any food since her arrest.

Letter from the Governor of Edinburgh Prison to D. Crombie, Secretary, Prison Commission, 3 May 1914. Reports on arrangements to receive Arabella Weir and requests instructions about her treatment. Expresses the opinion that the question of artificial feeding be decided immediately. "What a nuisance she is why does she not keep away & hide herself."

Telegram from Scottish Office to the Prison Commission, 6 May 1914. States that the Secretary for Scotland approves of the temporary discharge of Arabella Scott under the usual conditions, and that artificial feeding is not to be used.

Report by Robert Laing, Detective Inspector of Midlothian Constabulary, 5th May 1914. Describes the arrest of Arabella Weir in Brighton and her transfer to Edinburgh Prison.

Pt 3 contains reports and correspondence and includes the following document:

Notice of temporary discharge from prison for Arabella Charlotte Scott under the Prisoners (Temporary Discharge for Ill-Health) Act 1913, 8 May 1914.

Pt 4 contains reports, correspondence and press cuttings and includes the following documents:

report by Edward Jefferies, Inspector, Leith Police, 19 May 1914. Describes Arabella Weir's departure the previous evening from Waverley Station by train to London accompanied by a large crowd of supporters.

Report from the Governor of Edinburgh Prison to the Prison Commissioners, 22 May 1914. States that Arabella Scott has not returned to prison on expiry of her licence.

Copy minutes of communication between the Scottish Office and the Prison Commission, 23-30 May 1914. Notes that no special steps are to be taken to rearrest Arabella Scott.

Letter from B. A[?] Thomson, Assistant Commissioner of Police, New Scotland Yard to the Secretary, the Prison Commission, 27 June 1914. Notes that Arabella Scott was rearrested on 18 Jun in Paddington and conveyed to Perth Prison on the 20 Jun.

Copy letter from Harriet Scott to [Thomas] McKinnon Wood, Secretary for Scotland, 30 Jun 1914. States that her daughter Arabella Scott has been on hunger strike since 17 Jun, and that no information about her medical condition is available. Asks if forcible feeding is being used and requests her immediate release.

Minutes of communication between the Scottish Office and the Prison Commission, 30 Jun-3 Jul 1914. Includes information about medical condition of Arabella Weir and that she is being regularly fed.

Report from J. Grant, Governor of Perth Prison to the Prison Commissioners, 18 Jul 1914. Describes numbers of warders required to watch Arabella Scott, and notes the amount of leave due to officers for extra time on duty since suffragette prisoners were sent to the prison.

Pt 5 contains reports, correspondence and press cuttings and includes the following documents:

Copy letter from Arabella [Scott] to [her sister] Muriel [Scott], 21 July 1914. Reassures her and her mother about her condition. "I am specially desirous that no one connected with this prison staff should be personally attacked, and should like you to use all the influence you can to prevent it."

Minutes of communication between the Scottish Office and the Prison Commission concerning Parliamentary Question (PQ) about the treatment of Arabella Scott in Perth Prison, 24-25 Jul 1914.

Newspaper cutting from the 'Dundee Courier', 27 Jul 1914. Article entitled 'Suffragette In Perth Prison Is Released After "Doing" Four Weeks' describes the release of Arabella Scott on the previous day.

Pt 6 contains daily reports by H. Ferguson Watson, Medical Officer at Perth Prison, concerning the artificial feeding of Arabella Weir and her medical condition, 21 Jun-5 Jul 1914. Also contains reports from the Governor of Perth Prison to the Prison Commissioners, and correspondence.

Pt 7 contains daily reports by H. Ferguson Watson, Medical Officer at Perth Prison, concerning the artificial feeding of Arabella Weir and her medical condition, 6-25 Jul 1914. Also contains minutes, memoranda and other documents, including the following:

letter from W. G. Scott [Chairman of the Prison Commission] to Mr Lamb, [Scottish Office], 23 Jul 1914. Recommends liberation of Arabella Scott on licence due to the pressure on resources. "The Governor was on point of resignation, the Medical Officer did resign. The Matron and female staff much strained and all nervous and irritable. I do not think it is worthwhile and as I hope I have now got them settled a bit I recommend early liberation."

Memoranda by the Medical Officer and Governor of Perth Prison, 23-24 Jul 1914. Notes Medical Officer's opinion that Arabella Scott should not be artificially fed for a period longer than 6 weeks. "She does not appear to be any the worse for her treatment; at the same time it seems desirable that some cases should not be fed in this way over too long a period."

Report from the Governor of Perth Prison to the Prison Commission, 26 July 1914. States that Arabella Scott was that morning liberated on licence until 7 Sep 1914.

Scottish Office minutes concerning amnesty for Arabella Scott due to the outbreak of war, 11 Aug 1914. Notes that Arabella Weir will receive a remission of her sentence in due course.

Pt 8 contains reports, correspondence and newspaper cuttings and includes the following documents:

report by Alexander Ross, Leith Police, 21 Jun 1914. Describes transfer of Arabella Scott from London to Perth Prison. "She would not walk a step and did all she could to impede the progress of those who carried her by placing her feet against doorways, catching hold of any fixture within reach, and holding on as long as she could. She even tried to bang her head against any hard substance."

Letter from John Lamb, Scottish Office to Mr Crombie, [Secretary, Prison Commission], 19 Jun 1914. States that it might be desirable to begin forcible feeding of Arabella Scott immediately, and that the Secretary for Scotland will make a decision in due course. Warns that the prisoner should be carefully searched in case she has emetic drugs concealed upon her.

Letter from B. A[?] Thomson, Metropolitan Police to [W.G.] Scott, [Chairman of the Prison Commission], 20 Jun 1914. Describes circumstances of apprehension of Arabella Scott in London and expresses regret for troubling the Prison Commissioners.

Letter from Ethel Moorhead to the Governor [of Perth Prison], undated [received 26 Jun 1914]. Urges the Governor not to allow forcible feeding of Arabella Scott, or to be present as a witness should this take place.

Minutes of communication between the Scottish Office and the Prison Commission, 11 May-15 Jun 1914. Discussion of policy for commencement of forcible feeding of suffragette prisoners.

Letter from H. Ferguson Watson, [Medical Officer at Perth Prison] to Mr Crombie, [Secretary, Prison Commission], 28 Jul 1914. Expresses thanks for extra leave and states opinion that Arabella Scott will return to militancy. "There is little doubt but she is about to do something desperate - she is practically an anarchist & further she believes that every act of destruction draws public attention to their cause. Should anything very serious happen you may feel certain it has been done by the hands of Arabella Scott."
Level File
Departmental cipher Unregistered
 

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