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”. 12 women were chosen to take part.
There was a huge police presence in Newcastle and an area 50 yards wide was roped off around the Palace Theatre. Plain clothes policemen from London mixed with the crowd.
Winifred Jones broke a window in the door of the Palace Theatre.
Lady Constance Lytton and Emily Wilding Davison stood outside the Newcastle Brewery Offices in the Haymarket. Lady Lytton threw a stone at Sir Walter Runciman’s car. Emily Wilding Davison was arrested by a plain clothes policeman as she took a stone from her pocket.
Jane Brailsford took an axe from a bunch of flowers and attacked the barriers.
About 7pm, Dorothy Pethick and Kitty Marion entered the General Post Office (opposite the cathedral) checked there was no one near the windows then went outside and threw stones, breaking the window.
Miss Pitman broke a window in the Barass Bridge Post Office. Miss Kathleen Brown broke a window in the Pink Lane Post Office. When the women came to trial, E. W. Davison was released without charge. The others were sentenced and held in Carliol Street Prison. They all went on hunger strike. Lady Lytton was released when a doctor said she was unfit to remain. The others were all force fed whilst held in the prison. The last to be released was Kitty Marion on Nov 10th.