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Source 2: A call for a public enquiry

Mr Leonard Gow submitted his account of events to Glasgow Town Council in support of local demand for a public enquiry into the treatment of Mrs Pankhurst and her supporters. He believed that the behaviour of the police had undermined the rule of law and simply encouraged more women to take up the suffragettes’ cause.

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Link to background information on suffragettes in Scotland

Page from statement made by Mr Leonard Gow on behalf of witnesses to the arrest of Emmeline Pankhurst

Extract from a call for a public enquiry following on from the arrest of Emmeline Pankhurst at St Andrew's Hall, Glasgow in 1914 (National Records of Scotland reference: HH55/336/1)


As Mrs Pankhurst had reached the platform, I maintain it showed the greatest lack of tact and common-sense, nay the greatest stupidity, not to allow her to speak before arresting her. But from the fact that bodies of police were secreted in the lavatories and throughout the building long before the Meeting began, it is evident that these police had orders from the first to wait until Mrs Pankhurst had begun her speech, although the Authorities must have known that the result of such a sensational and savage arrest in full view of the audience might have produced a stampede among the audience which would almost certainly have resulted in fatal injuries to innocent citizens, for which, as I have already said, the Authorities alone could have been held to blame. From where I was sitting I could not see myself, but am informed she was dragged down stairs head first - was much bruised, and her shins broken. I am also told that a woman who saw how she was being treated protested with the police saying "For God sake don't use her so." For this she (I understand her name is Mrs Nixon) was felled by a policeman's baton, and then kicked down the remainder of the stairs by the police and trampled on as they dragged Mrs Pankhurst out. This, together with other cases of police brutality eye-witnesses are prepared to swear to.

(National Records of Scotland reference HH55/336/1)

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