Lady Constance Lytton - suffragette

Hertfordshire Mercury, 29th January 1910

This is a report in the Hertfordshire Mercury, which shows the women’s suffrage movement were actively seeking political emancipation in 1909 and the struggle was taken up by women of all classes.

Lady Constance Lytton was a member of the Women’s Social and Political Union and was arrested and gaoled for her role in an attack on Lloyd George when he visited Newcastle.

Seemingly against her wishes, Constance was released when it was discovered that she was the daughter of a Peer of the Realm.

Constance was unhappy at being released and seemed to resent her privileged status in society; so she got herself re-arrested by stoning the windows of the residence of the Governor of Liverpool. This time Constance gave the false name of Jane Warton at the police charge desk.

The Hertfordshire Mercury report does not state how long a sentence Constance was given on this occasion but like many other women suffragettes, the daughter of Lord Lytton went on hunger strike and was physically force-fed by means of a tube being forced down into her stomach.

After a time and again, like many other women suffragettes, Constance was violently sick during this process; this supposedly so angered the prison doctor that, she claimed, he slapped her across her face.

When the prison doctor came to see Constance next, she claimed to have told him, “If it is not your prison duty, I would ask you not to slap me again in the way you did the last time.”

Constance claimed the doctor made no reply and from then onwards, she was force-fed twice a day.

NB Lady Constance Lytton later told of her prison experiences at the Women’s Social and Political Union, regaling to the eager audience, how she had managed to get into prison without her social status being discovered?

This page was added on 31/05/2016.

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