HC Deb 12 July 1906 vol 160 cc1061-2
DR. COOPER (Southwark, Bermondsey)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will refer the case of the apprehension and detention of Miss Alice Louisa Chesshire, on December 14th, 1905, as a suspected lunatic, to the Metropolitan Police Commission of Inquiry now sitting to investigate and report upon.


The police in the execution of their duty apprehended this lady who was found by them wandering in the streets unable to give any account of herself. She was subsequently certified to be insane and removed to Cane Hill Asylum. The case does not appear to come within the scope of the inquiry by the Royal Commission.


I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether his attention has been directed to the case of Miss Alice Louisa Chesshire, who, on the night of December 14th, 1905, was taken by the police to the St. Giles' Workhouse as a suspected lunatic, and on admission was searched by the workhouse porter; and whether he will consider the advisability of issuing an instructional order to boards of guardians requiring that in all cases where it is necessary that women should be searched it shall be done by a woman and not by a man.


I have made inquiry on this subject, and am informed that upon the admission of the patient to the workhouse her pockets were searched by the matron of the Tottenham Court Road Police Station, by whom she was accompanied, and that she was taken at once to the Female Lunatic Ward. I am further informed that in no instance has the workhouse porter searched a female lunatic or other female on admission. It devolves on the matron of the workhouse to cause females to be searched on admission, and I understand that at the St. Giles' Workhouse this duty is performed by a female officer under the matron's supervision.