GLASGOW'S RADICAL WOMEN: JANE HAMILTON PATRICK, 1884-1971.
Jenny Patrick, as she was known, was born in Glasgow in February 1884. Her father had a “Ladies Costumier” shop in Sauchiehall Street, the family lived in nearby Garnethill. Jenny’s mother died in childbirth, and her father married almost immediately. Her stepmother did not treat Jenny the same as her own, she would dress her own in finery and Jenny in cast-offs. Jenny left Garnethill School at 14 and started work with a printer in St. Vincent Street Glasgow, as a copy-holder. At 16 she became a typesetter and later was employed as a printer by a footwear company. Jenny joined the Glasgow Anarchist Group, in 1914, and became secretary in 1916. After the 1914/18 war the Glasgow Anarchists, Jenny with them, joined with the Communists of Guy Aldred’s group and in 1920 the group was renamed the Glasgow Communist Group. This group had three branches in Glasgow, Central, Springburn and Shettleston, there was also an association with other groups in Lanarkshire. In 1921 these groups were coming together to form an Anti-Parliamentary Federation which would have its own new newspaper called “The Red Commune”, Jenny Patrick would be the secretary. The new paper appeared on the 1st. of February this was before the new group had been formally finalised. The Anti-parliamentary Communist Federation came into being at Easter 1921 and Jenny was a founded member.
ARREST AND PRISON.
On the 2nd of March, Guy Aldred was arrested in London and a police raid on Bakunin House in Glasgow saw Jenny Patrick arrested with Douglas McLeish, a group member and a printer named Andrew Fleming. All four made a formal appearance before the Sheriff on the 7th of March 1921 and were remanded in custody for a fortnight before appearing before the Lord Justice Clark. Andrew Fleming was released on £200 bail, Jenny Patrick and Douglas McLeish on bail of £150 each and Guy Aldred was remanded in custody. until the case against them came up for a hearing on Tuesday the 21st of June, 1921, at the Glasgow High Court. The indictment covered eight pages and involved charges of urging anti-parliamentary action, employing a Sinn Fein tactic and conspiracy to cause disaffection among the populace. The trial lasted two days and received wide publicity in the press. The jury took a only a few minutes to return a verdict of “Guilty”. Lord Skerrington passed sentences of Guy Aldred one year, Douglas McLeish, three months, Jenny Patrick, three months, Andrew Fleming, three months and a fine of £50 or another three months. Aldred and McLeish were taken to Barlinnie Prison, Fleming and Jenny Patrick were taken to Duke Street Prison.
When Jenny came out of prison her family disowned her and she moved into Bakunin House. When Guy Aldred was released from prison there had been a split between himself and his partner for a number of years, Rose Witcop. Rose returned to London to continue with her family planning campaign while Guy remained at Bakunin House in Glasgow. Rose Witcop died in 1932 aged forty two. Jenny and Guy moved into a tenement flat in Baliol Street Glasgow, became partners and remained so until his death in 1963. Although Jenny Patrick did not approve of Guy’s Parliamentary Election tactics she continued to support him in all his campaigns.
SPANISH CIVIL WAR.
July 1936 saw the start of the Spanish Civil War and an upsurge in political activity among the socialist groups in support of the Spanish workers and their struggle. The Glasgow Anarchists were asked to send a representative to Barcelona, but in fact sent two. Ethel MacDonald went as the Glasgow Anarchist representative and Jenny Patrick as the representative of the Anti-Parliamentary Communist Federation. Both women, with very little money, left for Spain on the 20th. of October 1936. they reached Paris with one franc between them. Jenny and Ethel with no papers and only the help of comrades, hitch-hiked across France and eventually reach Spain. Ethel was sent to Barcelona, Jenny to Madrid to the Ministry of Information, where she served with the CNT-FAI’s Comite de Defense, editing the English edition of their paper Frente Libertario, there she experienced the siege of Madrid. In 1937 she moved to Barcelona in charge of CNT’s English radio bulletin.. While there Jenny and Ethel experienced the momentous May Days. Her eye-witness accounts of the Communist Party counter revolutionary conspiracy against the Anarchists were rushed into print in Glasgow by Guy Aldred in a special Barcelona Bulletin. Both Jenny and Ethel, while in Barcelona, helped to fill the soldiers clips with bullets and gather information . She returned to Glasgow on May the 20th. 1937, Ethel remained until November 1937.
After returning from Spain, Jenny joined with Guy Aldred, Ethel McDonald and John Caldwell in setting up the Strickland Press in 1939 at 104-106 George Street Glasgow. Her experience as a printer was invaluable, among other jobs she set up the headlines, something she had done since her days as a young woman. For 25 years Jenny with others worked long wageless hours, printing socialist and anarchist literature, notably the USM’s The Word, In 1945 due to a dispute with the Scottish Typographical Association the work could not be contracted out, Jenny and Ethel did the typesetting themselves.
Jenny a small woman, she was respected for her dynamic personality and persistent and courageous character. She never sought the limelight, but endured poverty and hardship for the sake of her anarchist principles. A few years after Guy’s death she became ill and very frail and was nursed at her home in Baliol Street by John Taylor Caldwell, a comrade of long standing. Eventually she had to be moved to hospital where she died a few days later, Jane Hamilton Patrick was cremated at Maryhill Crematorium where John Taylor Caldwell said the tribute, sadly only a handful of mourners were present.
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