Jailed Derby suffragette Alice Wheeldon honoured with blue plaque

L-R Hetty Wheeldon, Winnie Mason, Alice Wheeldon Alice Wheeldon (right) was jailed for 10 years for her alleged part in the poison plot

Related Stories

A Derby suffragette, who was convicted of attempting to murder a prime minister, is being honoured with a blue plaque.

Shopkeeper Alice Wheeldon was found guilty of a poison plot against David Lloyd George in 1917.

Since her death in 1919, a campaign has emerged to clear her name.

Her former home at 12 Pear Tree Road, Normanton, is being marked with a plaque in a ceremony organised by Derby Civic Society and the city council.

Name 'vilified'

Keith Venables, from the Derby People's History group, which campaigned for justice for the family, said: "It's wonderful to celebrate the contribution of Alice Wheeldon and her family. Their name was vilified."

Mrs Wheeldon, a mother of four, supported the suffragette movement and was a conscientious objector to World War I.

Mr Venables believes she was framed by the authorities who were anxious about opposition to the war.

What are blue plaques?

  • Blue plaques were first erected in London in the 19th Century to commemorate locations associated with famous people
  • The London scheme is administered by English Heritage
  • The Derby scheme was launched in April
  • So far, brothers John and Thomas Lombe, who built the Silk Mill, and engineer George Sorocold have been honoured

The family claimed an MI5 agent, posing as an objector, embroiled Mrs Wheeldon in a plot to poison dogs guarding prisoners against the war.

However, the family were accused of plotting to murder the prime minister by shooting him with poisoned darts.

On 31 January 1917, Mrs Wheeldon, her daughters Hetty and Winnie and son-in-law Alfred Mason were arrested and charged.

Hunger strike

Mrs Wheeldon was sentenced to 10 years, Alfred seven years and Winnie five years. Hetty was acquitted.

Mrs Wheeldon went on a hunger strike and was released after nine months but died shortly afterwards.

Historian Dr Nicholas Hiley, who researched the family's story, said: "The whole thing was a travesty.

"The truth about Alice Wheeldon deserves to be publicised and the blue plaque is the beginning of that. The Wheeldons should be honoured and remembered for the stand they took during the war."

Mrs Wheeldon's descendents moved to Australia, but her great-granddaughters, Deirdre and Chloe Mason, are visiting Derby for the ceremony.

They hope to prepare a miscarriage of justice application to go before the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Derby

Weather

Derby

22 °C 15 °C

BBC Local Live

  1.  
    Hosepipe ban not needed 08:27: BBC Radio Derby

    Severn Trent has ruled out a hosepipe ban in Derbyshire, despite the hot weather.

    The firm says its reservoirs are more than 90% full and levels have been topped up by regular rain.

     
  2.  
    Community buses funding fear 08:18: BBC Radio Derby

    A service providing a "lifeline" for elderly and vulnerable people in rural parts of Derbyshire fears it could lose all its funding from the county council.

    Eight community transport schemes in the county have been warned the authority is struggling to afford the £1.46m it will cost to keep running over the next few years and their grants may be cut.

     
  3.  
    Silver for Peaty 08:07:

    Swimmer Adam Peaty, from Derby, claimed his second medal of the Commonwealth Games last night, winning silver in the 50m breaststroke.

    Adam Peaty

    The 19-year-old's success followed a remarkable afternoon in which Derbyshire competitors picked up four medals, in squash (two), shooting and table tennis.

     
  4.  
    Cloudy afternoon 08:03: Sara Blizzard BBC Weather

    A sunny morning but cloud will thicken during the afternoon with the odd light shower possible in places. Highs of 25C (77F).

     
  5.  
    Good morning 08:00: Gavin Bevis BBC Local Live

    I'll be bringing you all Tuesday's news, sport, travel and weather for Derbyshire and east Staffordshire.

    Email or tweet us if you'd like to contribute a picture, comment or question. You can also get involved on Facebook.

     

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.