Now then miss, let’s be having you.


The always rather wonderful Guardian Archives open up once again to reveal an episode of early British feminism.

Mrs. Pankhurst, who escaped from her flat in Westminster late on Saturday night by a ruse, was rearrested yesterday afternoon when she made her expected appearance at the W.S.P.U. meeting at the London Pavilion.

While the detectives detailed to watch her flat were busy on Saturday night with the veiled lady in the taxi who turned not to be Mrs. Pankhurst at all, the leader of the W.S.P.U. slipped out of the flat and drove away in a motor car that had been waiting in a side street.

Why do Edwardian press reports always sound like they come straight out of an Erskine Childers novel? And how come they always seem to end with order restored and tea and crumpets about to be served?

…and then, with a “Now, Mrs. Pankhurst,” the inspector entered the anteroom and reappeared with a grey-haired woman with troubled face and faltering steps – Mrs. Pankhurst, looking for once broken and dispirited.

I wonder if any present-day Guardian journalists are concious that their own reports are likely to look just as silly and reflect the attitude of their very class-based and provincial outlook to readers in the near future?