Suffragette arson attempt at Shandon

Dear blog reader

I’ve chosen to include the details of all the suffragette arson attempts reported at the same time to give an idea of what was happening.

Best wishes




Saturday 13 December 1913




Kelly House, Wemyss Bay, Fifth of Clyde, was completely gutted by fire on Friday morning. The mansion was one of the finest on the Clyde coast, and cost £25,000 to build. An examination of the grounds by the police gave evidence of the fire being the work of Suffragettes. Papers were found bearing the words, “Retaliation for the ‘Cat and Mouse’ Bill”.


At the end of last week an attempt was made to burn down the mansion-house of Ardgare, near Shandon. The house has been in the market for some time, and has been unoccupied since the death of Miss Kerr nearly three years ago. Entrance had been effected by smashing a plate-glass window. Paraffin had been sprinkled on the woodwork casing of the stair, and the fire started. A part of the flooring of the hall where the fire started was also burned. It was only when a couple of suffragist cards were found outside the house that the outrage was put down to suffragists.

The house, which belonged to the late Mr John Kerr, was purchased by him many years ago for about £10,000, and he effected many improvements on it. At the death of the life-renter, Miss Kerr, his sister, the property fell to the United Free Church of Scotland.

Following on the burning of the Scottish mansion three more fire outrages were reported on Saturday. The most serious was at Rusholme, Manchester, where a large exhibition building was destroyed by fire, the damage being estimated at about £12,000. Suffragette literature, marks of women’s boots, and a note to Mr Asquith, bearing the words, “This is your welcome to Oldham and Manchester” were found. The building burned fiercely, and for a time a neighbouring Church was in danger.

There were two outrages at Liverpool. Serious damage was done at the scenic railway at the exhibition.

An attempt to burn down the county stand at Aintree Racecourse was discovered before any damage was done.

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