Friends of Alice Wheeldon; Sheila Rowbotham
This play re-enacts the 1917 trial and imprisonment of Alice Wheeldon, the renowned suffragist, for her alleged role in plotting to assassinate the Prime Minister Lloyd George. It is prefaced by an extended essay 'Rebel Networks in the First World War'.
With claustrophobia and anger, the play recounts how Wheeldon's involvement in socialism, suffragism and the anti-war movement did not endear her to the establishment, and in times of growing class antagonism and war how the government needed to create a traitor.
The controversial trial became something of a cause celebre - a show trial at the height of the First World War - based on fabricated evidence from the criminally insane fantasist 'Alex Gordon'. It was a travesty of justice.
First published nearly thirty years ago, this edition points readers to subsequent research into the case and the ongoing campaign to clear the name of Alice Wheeldon.