Sunday, 3 June 2012

‘I am awfully worried’: Beatrice’s prison letters

While she was imprisoned awaiting trial, at first in Cardiff and then in Birmingham, Beatrice Pace wrote several letters to her friends and family.

Some of these letters – all of which had been written to her friend Alice Sayes – have been retained in the Home Office files related to the case. (The reason why these particular letters have been retained relates to a complicated and fascinating post-trial series of events discussed in the book.)
Detail from one of Beatrice's prison letters.

Together, they give insight into Beatrice’s thoughts in the weeks before her trial.

Over the next few weeks I'll be reprinting brief excerpts from the letters (a few of which were quite long) on the dates on which they were written, 84 years ago.

For each excerpt, I have added notes to explain references that might not be clear.

Excerpt from a letter written from Cardiff Prison, 3 June 1928
Ask Les [1] if he has heard when I shall be coming home. Try and keep the papers for me. Give my love to all that ask you about me. I am writing to Mr. O’Donnell [2] this week. I have had two nice letters from him. He was all smiles in court.

Have you heard about the fund they have opened for me. Do you know how much they have got? I am awfully worried. My head is very bad. Well now dear write me a nice long letter. Tell me all the news. I should like the Guardian [3] paper if you could send it. So now I shall have to close and wish you all so long.

I remain your loving Friend Beattie.
Be sure and keep Baby [4]. I am longing to nurse her once more. Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

[1] Les Sayes, husband of Beatrice’s good friend Alice Sayes.
[2] Bernard O’Donnell, a journalist who wrote several articles about Beatrice’s case.
[3] The Dean Forest Guardian, one of the local papers in the Forest of Dean, where Beatrice lived.
[4] Alice Sayes was taking care of Beatrice’s youngest child, her sickly infant daughter Jean.

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