Olive Wharry (alias Joyce Locke)

Image of Olive Wharry, alias Joyce Locke
© Museum of London

On 29th November 1912 a group of women were found near the stage of the Music Hall, Aberdeen, at the end of a Liberal women's meeting. Being unable to give a good reason why they were there, they were searched; Police found a bundle of clothing in a pay box which turned out to be two women in hiding. They were forcibly removed and were found to possess explosive caps like the kind used in toy pistols. No pistol was found.

The following day the newspapers released the story. Some thought that the caps were being planned to fire at and scare the crowds at the evening public meeting that The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Lloyd George, was to speak at. The Aberdeen Journal said 'a panic would inevitably have taken place, and in all probability many lives would have been lost. The militant Suffragist campaign has, therefore, developed into one which amounts to murder.'

Joyce Locke, a student from London, was one of three women arrested (alongside Fanny Parker who was said to speak 'with a Glasgow accent' and Marion Pollock who refused to give any information about herself.) At court, the magistrate adjourned the case for two days and Joyce threw her shoes at him in defiance. They were found guilty of breach of the peace and sentenced to 5 days' imprisonment amid cries of 'shame!' from supporters in the court. The women objected to the sentence and said they would do everything in their power to resist it in prison. Joyce served her full 5 day sentence and was released on 7th December 1912.

Joyce's case can be examined in a file held by National Records of Scotland.