In 1909 the women of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) who had been imprisoned for damaging property went on hunger strike when their request to be treated as political prisoners was refused. The first hunger strikers were released but subsequent hunger strikers were force-fed. When released they wrote about their treatment and a demonstration was planned for October 9th 1909 in Newcastle when Lloyd George was due to speak at the Palace Theatre in the Haymarket. Tickets for this meeting were marked “Not to be sold to a woman”. Twelve women were chosen to take part.
The day before, Friday 8 October, Christabel Pankhurst spoke in the Drill Hall (St George’s) on St Mary’s Place. The meeting was described as “rowdy”.
And just after midnight four women broke windows in Alderman Fenwick’s house, Pilgrim Street, then the Liberal Club. They were, Miss Violet Bryant, Miss Ellen Pitfield, Miss Lily Asquith and Miss Dorothy Shallard.
The Drill Hall is no longer extant.