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Ellen Isabel Jones

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ellen Isabel Jones (born Ellen Isabel Cotton probably 1870s Penkridge, Staffordshire, died 1946) was an English Suffragette.

Ellen Isabel Jones (undated, probably 1920s)
Ellen Isabel Jones (undated, probably 1920s)

Ellen, known as "Nell", was a close associate of Emmeline Pankhurst and Christabel Pankhurst, leaders of the Suffragette movement. She was also an acquaintance of Madame Yevonde, a photographer associated with the Suffragettes and who shared a building with them in Victoria, London.

Her husband, Dr. Ernest Williams Jones, was a strong supporter of her cause and made speeches in its favour [1] - unusual in a time where men could be sacked for showing support for women's rights.

Suffragette

In 1914, Emmeline Pankhurst invited her to Belgravia to throw stones at the windows of the grand houses of the powerful, ruling class, who were opposed to the demands for women's suffrage. She knew in advance that she was likely to be arrested and even force-fed.

She was duly arrested and, as she wrote in her letter from prison, "had never been so relieved to be fall into the arms of a man when the Bobby arrested me". She was hauled off to the Bow Street Magistrates' Court where she was found guilty and sentenced to a term in prison.

In Holloway jail, she did five days of "hunger and thirst" strike in protest at the inequities of women not being allowed to vote. Many suffragettes, including Mrs Pankhurst, were force fed. There is no evidence of Ellen being force fed but in the face of many women responding to their incarceration with this dramatic protest, to avoid the embarrassment of 'gentle women' dying for their cause, they were released.

Details of these events are held in an archive of her papers at The Women's Library in London.[1]

Ellen Isabel Jones' Hunger Strike Medal, awarded 21 May 1914
Ellen Isabel Jones' Hunger Strike Medal, awarded 21 May 1914

This collection is now owned by the London School of Economics, which stands on the site formerly occupied by the WSPU [2] [3].

Personal life

Ellen was married to Dr Ernest Williams Jones, M.D. of Aldridge, Staffordshire, the first General Practitioner to receive the M.D. degree.,[2] with whom she had four boys.

In World War I, vast numbers of soldiers, wounded in the Somme, Passchendale, Ypres or other devastating battles, were brought back to England in need of medical aid. Dr Jones and Ellen, a nurse, gave their house over to become the Aldridge Auxiliary Hospital to care for convalescent soldiers recovering from their wounds.

Dr Jones was an early disciple of Freudian psychoanalysis and, by chance, a great friend of his namesake, Freud's biographer, another Ernest Jones. He died in 1922 from pneumonia, whereafter she moved to The Spinney, Rottingdean to raise her boys on the South Coast with help from income from Paying Guests. With antisemitism common in the 1930s, the house became known for welcoming Jewish guests and had many guests from Vienna, Austria.

Ellen's father, Thomas Cotton (of Penkridge), was a lock-keeper.

Publicity

On 6 February 2018, her story was for the first time made public. Locally an event was organised by Aldridge School on the Centenary of Women's Suffrage [4], consisting of a visit to her resting place and a speech given by local historians.

This was televised by BBC News twice on the same day.

Ellen Isabel Jones as a young woman (undated, probably 1890's)
Ellen Isabel Jones as a young woman (undated, probably 1890's)
Ellen Isabel Jones sitting front in darker clothing, next to her husband Dr Ernest Williams Jones.  The Manor, Aldridge which served as a hospital during WW1.
Ellen Isabel Jones sitting front in darker clothing, next to her husband Dr Ernest Williams Jones. The Manor, Aldridge which served as a hospital during WW1.
Poster of the first public talk on Ellen Isabel Jones' life, naming her "The Aldridge Suffragette".
Poster of the first public talk on Ellen Isabel Jones' life, naming her "The Aldridge Suffragette".
Ellen Isabel Jones' resting place on 8 Feb 2018.
Ellen Isabel Jones' resting place on 8 Feb 2018.

Links

References

This page was last edited on 3 May 2018, at 14:36
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