Saturday 21 January 2012

Derby, a Quiet Little Backwater.

The local paper, The Derby Evening Telegraph included an article this week concerning Mrs Alice Wheeldon. There is no doubt she was 'set up' by government agents. (MI5). (See article from Wed 27th August 2008). There are moves afoot to clear her name. Governments are 'all powerful' and I view the attempts to clear her name with interest.  

Deja Vu, Coincidence, Take your Pick. Article dated 27th August 2008.

On January 29th, 1917, the police arrested Mrs Alice Wheeldon, her daughters Hettie and Winifred and Winifred's husband Alfred Mason. The charge, plotting the assassination of the Prime Minister, Lloyd George, using a poisoned dart whilst he was out walking on a Surrey golf course. It was a far fetched almost unbelievable scheme but Mrs Wheeldon, was a known anarchist involved with women's suffrage and her son Willie was a conscientious objector. Though much of the evidence was gained by the use of government agent provocateurs, William Rickards and Herbert Booth, Mrs Wheeldon and her fellow conspirators were sent for trial. Mrs Wheeldon was sentenced to ten years in jail, Mason to seven and Winifred to five; Hettie was acquitted. (Mrs Wheeldon was released after only a few months in prison, Rickards was committed to a mental asylum.)
Mrs Wheeldon ran a second hand clothes shop and lived over the premises in Pear Tree Road, Normanton, a poor area in the town of Derby.
Today's local newspaper headline concerns the arrest of a man in Derby on Tuesday. The fourth arrest in connection with a plot to kill the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown. Mrs Margaret Beckett local MP was quoted as saying, "I would be sorry that anyone from the city is being considered as having been involved in something so serious." But she would, wouldn't she and of any case she's not originally from Derby so as we say in Derby, "She knows nowt!" Oh, I forgot to mention, the arrest took place in Moore Street, Derby just another street in Normanton, over ninety years on still a poor suburb of Derby. Some things never change.

(I was particularly interested in the case concerning Gordon Brown. The man arrested was an Albanian. He received a sentence of seven years imprisonment at Preston Crown Court in November 2009. Evidently he is to serve half his sentence and then be deported. The charges related to items found in his Moore Street house. Items including: 71.8 litres of petrol, The Bomb Book, a video titled Mobile Detonators. The Hezbollah Military Intruders Manuals and a document titled Ragnars Detonators. Life in Derby in the 21st century?)

I hope justice is achieved for Mrs Wheeldon. But so much concerning these cases astound me. Two Prime Ministers, separated by many, many years. But apparently hated to such an extent that people wished them dead. Life goes on, for better or worse. Just another story in a newspaper, todays news, tomorrow's history. Derby, my home town seldom attracts more than a passing glance. I think I prefer it that way. What do you think?


cheshire wife said...

I think that unless we live in London we are always surprised when our home town makes the national news.

CWMartin said...

I always remember in a comic book where the vilain gains immense power and as he tries to kill the hero, the hero says, Go ahead, kill me. in a few years it won't matter, you acquired your power just to watch it fade with the dregs of your youth. Soon you'll be just another name scarring the pages of history." Llyod George, Brown, Obama. They none of them will be here long enough to be worth killing.

carmilevy said...

There's something to be said for living in a place that exists below the radar of the rest of the world. The bright light of global attention can often be blinding, after all.

Your blog, by the way, is an absolute delight to read.

Mike and Poppy said...

Hi Ken.

If anyone, I always thought it would be Thatcher who would be bumped off. However, her cronies did for her in the end. Such is the cut throat life in politics.

Now there is a battle of sorts between the dark side and the forces for evil. The battle is about Yes or No to having a state funeral for Thatcher.

Last week we went to the flicks - The Iron Lady with Meryl Streep was one film - I could not bring myself to view even though I admire Streep.

Take care - more power to the pen.


Nota Bene said...

Bring back Brian Clough, then Derby would always be in the news.

When I was at the Iraq Inquiry watching Tony Blair I wanted to throw my shoe at him. I'm quite a moderate sort of person, so I can easily see how a leader could inspire the sort of hatred that would get them assassinated.

rhymeswithplague said...

I am married to an Albanian. I'm sure there have been times when she wanted to kill me.