Letter from Constance Lytton to Annie Kenney, 1910
Constance Lytton was a prominent suffragette, women's rights activist, and campaigner for prison reform. She was imprisoned on a number of occasions, but felt she was not given the same treatment as other suffragette inmates due to her aristocratic background. To test her theory, she gave a fake name - Jane Warton - after being taken to Walton Gaol, Liverpool. As Jane Warton, she adopted the hunger strike and was force-fed - an experience which disturbed her health for the rest of her life. She documented the experience in her 1914 memoir Prisons and Prisoners. [Transcript of letter is available below]
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[Transcript by Zoe Kelly]
RAIL.KNEBWORTH.G.N.R TELEGRAMS. KNEBWORTH
April 12. 1910
It is dreadful to have to refuse you especially as I believe to be alongside of you would do me an immense amount of good just now. But my body is still on strike, gets exhausted (& the brain too) with the smallest exertion. I am
concentrating my power on the Glasgow Exhibition- I am booked to open it on the 2? Day/. April 28th. The [Dr][&] my people think that a [m]ad idea & I expect I shall have to do it in the face of their contrary advice. If that [answers] –if I do
the job creditably & do not break from it, then I shall go on & make other engagements but I daren’t book myself for such a long journey immediately after Glasgow. I have been struggling for a week with an article for Votes. My
brain simply won’t work & the vain effort makes me fearfully deprest [depressed] I daren’t undertake [r]eal meeting speeches while like this.
Of course I don’t really feel deprest [depressed]: it is only a passing thing.
Good luck [for] all [your] special weeks.
Your always loving
Don’t [trouble ] to answer this.