Monday, March 21, 2016

Post 1916 Rising Leaflets - Part III: "Strike in Lewes Jail" #1916 #286

Public meetings in the aftermath of the Easter Rising in 1916 seemed to have been a very popular way to arouse anger against the British over the treatment of prisoners involved in the 1916 Rising. The leaflet below calls for a meeting at Beresford Place (where the Custom House is located) on 10th June, 1917. The leaflet tugs at a lot of different sentiments from the hunger strike, to prisoners being treatment as lunatics (not POWs), and possibly worst of all for the time - prisoners being "Prevented from going to Mass". This leaflet is one of the four from the Eileen Ryan Collection published on this site. There are a few different versions of this leaflet - see Trinity College's digital collection here for a different version.

Please do not download or reuse this image without permission.

A photograph of the protest meeting at Beresford Place,
and the arrest of Count Plunkett. June 1917.
Image source:
According to Come Here To Me! Dublin Life and Culture website, "On 10 June 1917, Cathal Brugha and Count Plunkett led a group of around 2,000 Sinn Féin supporters into Beresford Place for a meeting called to protest against the detention and treatment of Easter Rising volunteers in Lewes Jail in East Essex, England". At this meeting Brugha and Plunkett were arrested by the Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP). As they were being led away to Store Street Station a crowd tried to free the two men - in the scuffles that broke out Inspector John Mills was hit over the head with a hurley stick and died. He death was the first crown forces' fatality since the Rising. His killer got away and was never caught. Inspector Mills was originally from Westmeath and had been a policeman for 30 years. Photographs of DMP members from that time show them wearing helmets rather like those now worn by English "bobbies" - presumably Inspector Mills lost his during the scuffle. Had he been wearing his helmet he would have survived a blow to the head from a hurley. In what have must been a very difficult time to be a policeman, it's sad to think that the leaflet above called for a meeting that led to his death. 

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