Patricia Woodlock was a leading figure in the suffragette movement in the early years of the 20th century. Imprisoned no less than seven times, she served the longest suffragette prison sentence, three months in solitary confinement. Her harsh sentence caused outrage and in itself inspired many women to join the protests.
She was born in Liverpool on 25th October 1873, christened Mary Winifred but seemingly always known as Patricia. Her father, David, was an assistant in a draper’s shop at the time of her birth but later records show his occupation as ‘artist’. He had been born in Tipperary, Ireland, her Mother, Marie, was Liverpool-born.
David Woodlock was an ardent socialist and encouraged Patricia to take an active role in politics. She was a founder member of the Liverpool branch of the Women’s Social and Political Union, becoming the Liverpool organiser in 1909. She worked relentlessly to carry the suffragette message to women of all classes in Liverpool, notably organising street meetings for women working at businesses like Crawfords biscuits and Cope’s tobacco. Open air meetings attracted up to 1000 attendees. She was arrested for obstruction offences during a protest at the Prime Minister Asquith’s visit to Birmingham. As a ‘persistent offender’ she was sentenced to three months solitary confinement at Winson Green prison in Birmingham. Going on hunger strike she was subjected to forced feeding. When she was released Christabel Pankhurst wrote an article on Woodlock for the WSPU newspaper ‘Votes for Women’, the front cover of which showed her depicted as a battleship dreadnought. Despite her ordeal it was not long before she was back in prison, this time sentenced for throwing roof tiles at the Prime Minister. She continued to work in the suffragette movement but no longer took part in militant protests.
At the time of the 1911 census Patricia Woodlock was living in her parents’ household at 46 Nicander Road L18. She continued to live in the city until the 1950s, her addresses included 32 Greenbank Road L18 (her parents’ home c.1919), 140 Wellington Road L8 (1932-36), 11 Sandown Terrace, Sandown Lane L15 (c.1937) 6 Victoria Park L15 (1938-39) and 9 Nelson Street L15 (1949 to early 1950s). The Wellington Road and Nelson Street homes have been demolished,
She died in Wandsworth, London. There is doubt about the date of death, some sources quoting 1951, but most 1961.
The Woodlock family home c.1911
The Woodlock family home c.1919
Patricia Woodlock was living here wih her sister and brother-in-law at the start of the war in 1939.
© Liverpool Footprints