Alice Wheeldon (nee Marshall) was born in Derby in 1867 and was an early socialist, feminist and suffragette and a member of the Socialist Labour Party (SLP).
Alice Wheeldon (nee Marshall) was born in Derby in 1867 and was an early socialist, feminist and suffragette and a member of the Socialist Labour Party (SLP). She was a pacifist and anti-war campaigner and at the outbreak of the First World War she joined the Women’s Peace Army that had been established by Sylvia Pankhurst and Charlotte Despard to demand a negotiated peace. Alice and two of her daughters, Hettie and Winnie, also joined the No-Conscription Fellowship (NCF).
Alice was sent to prison in 1917 with other family members accused of being involved in a conspiracy against Lloyd George. While in prison, she engaged in a campaign of non-cooperation and intermittent hunger strikes. Her daughter, Winnie and son-in-law Alf Mason had been imprisoned at the same time. Alice was released two years later. The experience in prison severely affected Alice’s health from which she never recovered and she died in 1919.
Alice came from a working class background and although without family money or connections to assist in her activities, she achieved great visibility. There is currently an on-going campaign involving two of Alice’s granddaughters to clear her name of all the charges brought at her trial in 1917.
Alice has inspired women in her own family to work and fight for justice as well as those beyond Derby and Derbyshire to strive for justice and equality. She also inspired the setting up of Women's Voices (activist organisation and platform) in 2009 and the founding of a project to examine women's social and political activism in Derbyshire.
Alice was awarded a blue plaque in 2013.