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ReferenceTitleDate
HH16Criminal case files1874-1980
Country code GB
Repository code 234
Repository National Records of Scotland
Reference HH16/46
Title Criminal case file: Frances Gordon, Emily Wilding Davison alias Mary Brown (Suffragette prisoners)
Dates 1912-1914
Access status Restricted
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 Emily Wilding Davison, alias Mary Brown: convicted of Breach of the Peace at Aberdeen Police Court, 5 Dec 1912 and sentenced to a fine of 40s or 10 days imprisonment. [Emily Davison died on 8 Jun 1913 after being struck by King George V's horse 'Anmer' during the Epsom Derby, 4 Jun 1913.]

Frances Gordon: convicted of Housebreaking with intent to set fire at the High Court in Glasgow, 23 Jun 1914 and sentenced to 12 months imprisonment. Prison no. 266/14, H.M. Prison Perth.

The file contains the following documents:

newspaper cutting from 'The Aberdeen Free Press', 6 Dec 1912. Describes the events of Mary Brown's trial, including details of the offence.

Report from the Governor of Aberdeen Prison to the Prison Commissioners, Edinburgh, 6 Dec 1912. States that Mary Brown is being treated as a civil prisoner pending the approval of the Secretary for Scotland. Newspaper cutting from 'The Scotsman' attached.

Copy Scottish Office minutes of communication, 7-12 Dec 1912. Discussion of whether Mary Brown should be treated as a civil prisoner, and noting her release. Annotated "Deceased 4th June 1913 - Knocked over by King's horse at Derby."

Newspaper cutting from 'The Times' letter page relating to forcible feeding, 6 July 1914.

Daily reports from Dr H. Ferguson Watson, Medical Officer at Perth Prison, 25 Jun-2 Jul 1914. Describe artificial feeding of Frances Gordon by tube and enema, with observations of her temperature, pulse, sleeping patterns and general condition.

Minutes of communication between D Crombie, Secretary, and the Medical Adviser to the Prison Commission, 26 Jun-3 Jul 1914. Discussion of the reports of Frances Gordon's artificial feeding at Perth Prison. The Secretary's minute dated 3 Jul 1914 notes that Frances Gordon's condition is such as to make discharge desirable, and that her liberation on licence has been authorised.

Copy minutes of communication between J. Grant, Governor of Perth Prison, and the Prison Commissioners, 29 Jun 1914. Seeking advice about letters (not included) sent to the prison for Frances Gordon and another prisoner, Arabella Scott. The Secretary advises that the letters not be given to the prisoners.

Letter from Mr Thomson of the Criminal Record Office, New Scotland Yard to the Prison Commissioners, 3 Jul 1914. States that photograph of Frances Gordon not recognised by officers and requests another set of fingerprints as the first set were badly blurred.

Report from the Medical Officer at Perth Prison, 3 Jul 1914. Provides account of artificial feeding of Frances Gordon and states that her condition now causing alarm. "I am strongly of opinion that this case was not suitable for forcible feeding, but I was unable to give that information before a careful trial had been given."

Draft notice of temporary discharge of Frances Gordon under the Prisoners (Temporary Discharge for Ill-Health) Act 1913, July 1914. Date for return to Duke Street Prison in Glasgow given as 10 Jul 1914.

Report from the Governor of Perth Prison to the Prison Commissioners, 4 Jul 1914. States that Frances Gordon was released the day before and that the Chief Constable, Glasgow has been sent a copy of the licence authorising her liberation and the address of the nursing home to which she has been sent.

Minutes of communication between the Governor and Medical Officer of Perth Prison and D. Crombie, Secretary, Prison Commission, 30 Jun-6 Jul 1914. Describes the difficulty photographing and fingerprinting Frances Gordon due to her struggling and distorting her face, with request for advice on whether to try again. The Medical Officer suggests she be photographed and fingerprinted while asleep. The Secretary of the Prison Commission does not recommend this, but suggests that a snapshot photograph should be taken on her discharge.

Minutes of communication between the Governor of Perth Prison and D. Crombie, Secretary, Prison Commission concerning Frances Gordon's discharge from prison, 3-10 Jul 1914.

Copy Scottish Office minutes of communication, 4-9 Jul 1914. Relates to arrangements for issue of licence for Frances Gordon's discharge from prison.

Letter from Mr Thomson of the Criminal Record Office, New Scotland Yard to the Prison Commissioners, 6 Jul 1914. Requests physical description of Frances Gordon. Annotated with minutes of communication between the Prison Commission and Perth Prison concerning the request, and noting that the snapshot photograph taken on her release was unsuccessful. 2 copies of 'Form X' providing conviction details and physical description. "A small, thin faced, diminutive looking person, nose slightly pug."

Letter from the Chief Constable, City of Glasgow Police to the Governor of Perth Prison, 9 Jul 1914. Reports that it is suspected that Frances Gordon has left the Central Nursing Home in Glasgow for a private house in Milngavie without informing the police.

Report from A.D. Drysdale, Governor of Duke Street Prison, Glasgow to the Prison Commissioners, 10 July 1914. States that Frances Gordon has not returned to Duke Street Prison contrary to the conditions of her discharge from Perth Prison.

Newspaper cutting from the 'Edinburgh Evening News', 10 Jul 1914.

Scottish Office minutes of communication, 24-25 Jul 1914. Discussion of answer to Parliamentary Question (PQ) by Timothy Michael Healy M.P. about methods of forcibly feeding Frances Gordon.

Copy of answer from the Secretary for Scotland to Timothy Michael Healy M.P., 27 Jul 1914.

Newspaper cutting from 'The Scotsman', 28 Jul 1914. Provides text of PQ by Timothy Michael Healy M.P. with answer from the Secretary for Scotland.

Note stating that the Secretary for Scotland decided not to rearrest Frances Gordon on breach of conditions of her licence, 12 Aug 1914.

Newspaper cutting from 'The Scotsman', 17 Jul 1914. Gives text of PQs about Frances Gordon's forcible feeding and medical condition on release, with answers from the Secretary for Scotland. Attached copy of answers, 16 Jul 1914.

Newspaper cutting from the 'Glasgow Evening Times', 23 Jun 1914. Provides an account of Frances Gordon's trial at the High Court in Glasgow.

Report from W.B. Buglass, Governor of Duke Street Prison Glasgow, to the Prison Commissioners, 4 Apr 1914. States that Frances Gordon was admitted as an untried prisoner yesterday evening , and released on payment of bail this morning. The charge was House Breaking with intent to set fire to house.

Report from A.D. Drysdale, Governor of Duke Street Prison Glasgow, to the Prison Commissioners, 23 Jun 1914. States that Frances Gordon has this day been moved from the High Court buildings in Glasgow direct to Perth Prison.

Telegram from the Assistant Under Secretary for Scotland to the Prison Commissioners, 24 Jun 1914. States Secretary for Scotland's approval for Prison Commissioners proposals for Frances Gordon.

Scottish Office minutes of communication, 24-26 Jun 1914. Discussion of Prison Commission proposals to commence forcible feeding of Frances Gordon. Approval of Secretary for Scotland noted.

Prison Commission minutes of communication, 27 Jun 1914. Notes telephone call from the Governor of Perth Prison asking for instructions relating to visitors to Frances Gordon, with decision that all visitors must be approved by the Commissioners. Includes note of telephone conversation between Dr Devon, Prison Commission, and Mr Angus MacKenzie WS, communicating refusal of the Commissioners permission to see Frances Gordon to make her will. Attached copy of telegram from Mr MacKenzie applying for permission to see Frances Gordon.

Report from J. Grant, Governor of Perth Prison to the Prison Commissioners, 27 Jun 1914. States that Mr MacKenzie has arrived at the prison and wishes to visit Frances Gordon but that the visit has been refused on medical grounds, and requests instructions from the Prison Commissioners.

Copy minutes of communication between the Governor of Perth Prison and D. Crombie, Secretary, Prison Commission, 27-30 Jun 1914. The Governor requests instructions regarding letters for Arabella Scott and Frances Gordon, which have not yet been given to them on advice of the prison Medical Officer. The Prison Commissioners instruct the Governor to retain the letters and not give them to the prisoners. Attached note concerning fingerprinting of Frances Gordon for Scotland Yard.

Scottish Office minutes of communication, 10-13 Jul 1914. Discussion of answer to PQ by Lord Hugh Cecil about forcible feeding in Perth Prison.

Copy statement by Miss L. Mabel Jones, M.D., undated. Provides an account of Frances Gordon's medical condition on her release from Perth Prison, with her account of the treatment there, 22 Jun-3 Jul.

Copy letter from H.J. Gillespie, 9 Jul 1914. Expresses horror at content of statement [by Mabel Jones] and asks that forcible feeding of suffragettes is ceased. "I do not wish to enter into the question of any justification for the acts which this woman and others have committed but rather to acquaint you of the fact that there is a steadily rising tide of indignation throughout the country against this horrible practice of forcible feeding."

Scottish Office minutes of communication, 9-13 Jul 1914. Discussion of issues raised by questions relating to the statement by Mabel Jones.

Report by Dr H. Ferguson Watson, Medical Officer at Perth Prison, 12 Jul 1914. Provides detailed account of Frances Gordon's treatment and condition in Perth Prison from 23 Jun-3 Jul 1914, arguing that most of the statements in the report by Mabel Jones are incorrect. Includes the opinion that Frances Gordon had undergone a course of systematic drugging before entering the prison.

Minutes of communication between the Prison Commission and Perth Prison, 11-12 Jul 1914. Notes request of Prison Commission for a report by the Medical Officer into the treatment of Frances Gordon, for observations on the statement by Mabel Jones, and for the Medical Officer's opinion as to the likelihood of the prisoner having taken drugs before entering the prison.

Letter from John Lamb, Scottish Office relating to Frances Gordon, undated (front page missing). "With regard to her sickness, I suppose it is certain she was not drugging herself. They told me at Scotland Yard that they had got wind of a plan for securing a supply of emetics - & it was that the buttons of the clothes sh[oul]d be made of specially prepared 'tabloids'! Perhaps Frances Gordon may have practised some dodge of the kind."

2 Letters from John Lamb, Scottish Office to the Master of Polwarth, [Chairman of the Prison Commission], 9 and 14 Jul 1914. Brief discussion of Frances Gordon case.

Letter by Janie Allan to Dr Devon, [Prison Commission], 14 Jul 1914. Expresses concern about the cases of the suffragettes Helen Crawford [Helen Crawfurd], Janet Arthur and Arabella Scott.

Printed statement by Mabel Jones, MD, entitled "Disgraceful Treatment In Perth Prison", undated.
Level File
Related record JC26/1914/54
Departmental cipher Unregistered
 

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