Arabella Scott

Advocate for women's suffrage and active speaker in Scotland.

Arabella Charlotte Scott was born 7 May 1886 in Dunoon. Arabella gained an MA at the University of Edinburgh and went on to become a schoolteacher and lived with her sister, Muriel.

Both Arabella and Muriel were advocates for women's suffrage and were active speakers in Scotland for the cause and in 1909,  were both arrested on the charge of obstruction in London after they tried to hand a petition to the British Prime Minister  Asquith. They served 21 days at H M Prison Holloway. 


Arabella Scott - Suffragette
Arabella Scott - Suffragette

Arabella was arrested and released several times over the following years, under the Cat and Mouse Act, and Act put into place so that suffragettes could not kill themselves in prison due to hunger strikes, instead when they became too weak they were released and then re-arrested at a later time.

On the 19th of May 1913 Arabella was arrested for trying to set alight to Kelso racecourse with Agnes and Elizabeth Thomson, and Edith Hudson, they were all imprisoned at Calrton Jail and went on hunger strike together. Arabella was released under the Cat and Mouse Act on the 24th of May, her licence ran out and she never returned to Calton jail.

Arabella was caught on the 12th of June and rearrested, when she returned to Calton jail she went on hunger strike again. On the 16th of June she was assessed as too weak by a medical officer and was released on licence but did not return to the jail. Arabella was found in London  on the 24th of August and returned to Calton jail where she went on hunger and thirst strike. On the 28th of August the medical officer put her forward for immediate discharge due to her health, however she had to be removed from the jail by force as she did not want to be placed on leave under licence once more. The licence ran out on the 10th of September 1913, Arabella was not found until the following year.

Arabella worked as an organiser for Women's Social and Political Union in the Brighton branch under the name, 'Catherine Reid, she was found in May 1914 and resisted arrest. Scotland Yard and the Brighton Police both had to help the police that had come from Scotland to arrest Arabella, she refused to walk and had to be lifted and dragged onto trains.   Arabella started her hunger and thirst strike on the 2nd of May when she was arrested and by the 8th she was ill and allowed to leave the Calton jail under licence. On the 17th of May Arabella departed for London so that she could help the WSPU campaign against the liberal candidate in the Ipswich by-election. She was due to return to jail on the 22nd of May. She was found on the 19th of June during a raid at a suffragette house, Arabella was rearrested and forced to return to jail.

Arabella was taken to Perth prison, instead of Calton jail, and admitted on the 20th of June and was not released until the 26th of July and during this time was force fed]. Arabella was allowed no visitors or letters and was force-fed three times daily, then once more released under licence under the Cat and Mouse Act.

Two days after Arabella's release the First World War began, and The WSPU announced a truce on militant acts, the Secretary of State for Scotland announced on the 10th of August the mitigation of all suffragette sentences passed in Scottish courts including Arabella's.

Arabella died in 1980 aged 94.


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