Catherine Isabel Ida Vans Agnew or Corbett
On 19th October 1909 in Dundee Police Court Catherine Isabel Ida Vans Agnew or Corbett was charged with having conducted herself in a disorderly manner and breach of the peace. She had led a large crowd down Reform Street, flourishing a ribbon and shouting 'Follow me. Force the barricades. Votes for women.' Catherine encouraged the crowds to force barricades while Winston Churchill was holding a meeting, and was arrested. She stated that her actions were for a political reason in a political agitation and stressed that she would hunger strike if imprisoned and would strongly resist force feeding.
Catherine publicly thanked the police for their kind behaviour to her and the people of Dundee 'for the very splendid way in which they stood up for the women, showing that they were entirely in sympathy with them, and not with the Government of Mr Churchill.'
Bailie Johnston stated that 'although this charge is one of breach of the peace, it comes very near something like incitement to riot. Had it not been for the admirable arrangements of the police it might have culminated into something much worse. The sentence is 40s, or ten days’ imprisonment. As for the consequences of the sentence, that is a matter for the prison authorities.’ (The Courier, Thursday 21st October 1909). Catherine served 4 days in prison and was released on hunger strike.
Catherine was drawn to the suffrage movement after 'witnessing the dignity and courage' of Mrs. Pankhurst when she was arrested in March 1908. She was born on 12th May 1869 in Ootacamund, India, the daughter of George Vans Agnew who served in the Madras Civil Service, and Rosa Coppard Wilson. She married Frank Corbett on 22nd October 1895.
Catherine's case can be examined in a file held by National Records of Scotland.