Letters from Katie Gliddon

Archive Unit
  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 106 7KGG/2/1
  • Dates of Creation
  • Physical Description
      1 volume

Scope and Content

Volume containing transcripts of letters written by Gliddon to her family, after her arrest and during her imprisonment.


* Letter to her mother, [4 Mar], 'Written on a newspaper wrapper in Marylebone Police Station', describes her arrest after smashing the window with Diana Boyle, and her detention at the police station. She says they 'are charged with £4.00 worth of damage between us. So we shall come off very easily. It really was about a 4ft window I should imagine. I expect we shall get about 5 days'. Describes the grapes, coffee and rolls they are eating in the cell. Asks for a rug to be sent to Holloway. The policeman who arrested her treated her well, and was worried he had stepped on her skirt. The letter is signed 'Katherine Gray', and she reminds her mother that her address will be Katherine Gray, Holloway Gaol, London.

* Postcard to her mother [undated, but probably 4 Mar], asks for eiderdown, handkerchiefs, rug, cushion, the book Middlemarch. Says 'I will write a book when I come out and illustrate it from recollections' and 'Fancy spending 2 months with 300 or 400 of the best women in the world'.

* Letter to her sister Gladys, written from Marylebone Police Station, describing smashing the window with Diana Boyle (calling herself 'Miss Sprott'), their arrest, and their cell-mates - Phyllis Keller (arrested for breaking Lord Cromer's window), Miss Boyle, Mrs Nesbit and Mrs Bennett (Irish Woman's Franchise League).

* Letter to Gladys [5 Mar], giving a verdict of two months' hard labour for her and nine other women who smashed post office windows. Says she and the others are 'resolved not to do the hunger strike even if all the others in Holloway do it'. Has not told Mother about the hard labour 'when she sees it in the papers tell her its nothing. It is only washing your cell and I would be delighted to wash mine.'

* Letter to her mother, written from Marylebone Police Station, [5 Mar], giving news of her sentence and reassuring her that the WSPU will appeal its length and that she will not hunger strike.

* Letter to 'Dearest Mother' signed 'Catherine Susan', undated, describing prison life including her fellow prisoner Constance Moore, and that the doctor has prescribed milk three times a day.

* Letter to 'Dearest Mother', Mar 1912, 'Sunday evening', describing prison life including her visits from the Chaplain and her fellow prisoner Mrs Lowy.

* Letter to her sister Gladys, Mar 24, stating that she cannot be frank in the letters that are smuggled out in case they are intercepted. Mentions the state of Mrs Pankhurst's health, prison food and agitating to be classed as political prisoners.

* At the back of the notebook is a defence of her support of the WSPU. Transcript:

'I am a sane adult human being and therefore responsible to myself and to society for all my actions. I broke a window on 4 Mar as a protest against the way the Government has treated the question of the enfranchisement of women. The first thing that made me interested at all in this agitation for votes for women was the fact that cultured women were sent to prison for doing practically nothing at all. So the Government by its policy of repression, is primarily responsible for the fact that I am today a militant suffragette and a political prisoner. It is absolutely impossible for me today to do nothing when I face the facts that little children of four and five are often outraged by grown men; that young girls are kidnapped & sold in the white slave traffic; that a husband has the right to say whether his wife or unborn child shall be saved if at birth it is a question of saving one or the other. That last fact made me a militant suffragette thirteen years ago. And that was some time before the WSPU was founded. I shall never forget the impression it made on me for I saw that a man could become the murderer of his wife and yet not have broken the law. So I broke a window - glass a thing of no real value in itself - to call attention to the evils which have always and which will always result from the subjection of women. We are fighting against evil not against mankind. We know we have the power in us to make this world a better place for the future generations to be born into. We do not become militants after we become members of the WSPU. We join the WSPU because we are already convinced that militant tactics are the way and the only way to success. Faith must lead to action or be worthless.'