An explosive discovery
Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser 10 July 1913
England, 1913. A country in the grip of a social revolution and civil war. For the past 18 months, the suffragettes of the Women’s Social and Political Union have been waging a violent and terrifying campaign on the government of the United Kingdom, leaving bombs on trains, in post offices, blowing up railway stations and churches, cutting telegram and telephone wires, and burning down MPs’ houses.
By the summer, Newton Heath had suffered a serious attack on the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway and the police were on the hunt for its perpetrators. They finally arrested Jennie Baines, a well-known and prominent suffragette, and her husband George as well as their son, George Wilfrid, for “wilfully and maliciously” committing the attack. At their home, 762 Oldham Road, Newton Heath, the police found yet another bomb, “a quantity of gunpowder, a revolver loaded in three chambers, a pistol unloaded, wire cutting implements, a hammer, five black masks for the face, and a quantity of suffragist emblems, literature and letters”. It was clear they had been planning another attack. They were not alone in their actions, as hundreds of women were arrested for carrying out dangerous attacks in the fight for the vote.
News story sourced from britishnewspaperarchive. co.uk and rediscovered by Fern Riddell. Fern regularly appears on BBC Radio 3’s Free Thinking