Losing the Plot: The Trial of Alice Wheeldon

John Jackson exhumes the extraordinary case of a middle-aged woman from Derby convicted of plotting to murder the Prime Minister.

January 1917. Left to right: A prison wardress, Hettie Wheeldon, Winnie Mason and Alice WheeldonAlice Wheeldon’s anti-war activities in 1916 caused her and her family to be targeted first by the secret service and then made an example of by an Attorney General who put the policies of the government before his duty to truth and justice. The shocking sequence of events and the tragic ending illustrate how the innocent can suffer if the Rule of Law has no champion and the state tramples on the rights of individuals in its anxiety to maintain national security.

On January 29th, 1917 an arrest warrant was issued in the County Borough of Derby in the following terms:

To each and all of the Constables of the said County Borough.

To read this article in full you need to be either a print + archive subscriber, or else have purchased access to the online archive.

If you are already a subscriber, please ensure you are logged in. 

Buy Subscription | Buy Online Access | Log In

If you are logged in and still cannot read the article, please email digital@historytoday.com.

Get Miscellanies, our free weekly long read, in your inbox every week