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Discrete CollectionsPolitics, economics and social science collections
TitleArrowsmith; Pat (1930-); pacifist, poet and artist
Ref NoARROWSMITH
LevelCollection
Date[late 19th century-2016]
Extent5.5 shelves
Admin Biographical HistoryPat Arrowsmith was born on 2 March 1930.

Her parents were Margaret Vera Arrowsmith (nee Kingham), who died on 18 September 1978 aged 75 and the Rev G E Arrowsmith, who died in February 1978. Pat had two brothers, Peter and Keith.

The family moved to Torquay in 1939, and Pat's main secondary education was at Stover School (near Newton Abbot), Devon. She then attended Cheltenham Ladies' College (from September 1944) and Newnham College, University of Cambridge (1948-51). Her pacifist campaigning began whilst she was a student at Newnham College, when she joined the Crusade for World Government.

In 1945-46, Pat wrote her first novel, "Those happiest days", which was semi-autobiographical and about her schooldays. She wrote "Multicolour" in 1948, a "somewhat autobiographical" series of sketches of members of a vicarage household. Extracts from both were published in her autobiographical account of her childhood, "I should have been a Hornby train" (published in 1995).

From 1951-53, Pat was in the USA, first studying social psychology and human relations at Ohio University; then getting a job as a community organiser in Chicago, a role which included efforts to improve race relations in the city. At this time she also campaigned against racial discrimination.

In 1953, Pat returned to the UK and studied social science at Liverpool University. During the mid-1950s, she had a number of short-term jobs, including working for the Family Service Unit, Liverpool and for the Children's Department, Plymouth. In 1956-57, she was a part-time nurse in a psychiatric hospital.

Pat started her work as a prominent anti-nuclear campaigner in 1957, when she volunteered to join a protest organised by Harold Steele against H-bomb tests in the Pacific (by sailing to Christmas Island), but this project was abandoned. In that year also, she joined the Direct Action Committee Against Nuclear War (DAC). She became the group's Organising Secretary for the first Aldermaston march (4-7 April 1958).

In 1959, Pat was imprisoned for not signing recognizances to keep the peace following a protest (December 1958) in Norfolk against Thor missiles.

In 1960, she was an original signatory to the Committee of 100 and was imprisoned following a demonstration in Northamptonshire.

In 1961, Pat spent nine weeks in Greenock prison for breaching the peace during anti-Polaris demonstrations at Holy Loch. She spent 10 days on hunger strike and was forcibly fed.

In 1962, she became Organising Secretary to Merseyside CND Trade Union Committee (which aimed to bring about a strike against the bomb, particularly among dockers who handled bomb materials and workers who manufactured them). In May, she was convicted of obstructing the highway at Bootle (her appeal was dismissed in March 1963, and she was imprisoned for not paying the fine and costs in December 1963).

In the spring and summer of 1963, Pat and her partner, Wendy Butlin, toured European ports and made contact with dockers interested in the struggle against nuclear weapons.

In April 1964, Pat was jailed for 6 months following a demonstration at the United States Air Force base at Ruislip on 28 March.

In 1965, she worked as a Peace News reporter; "Jericho", her novel about early peace camps, was published this year.

From 1966-68, Pat worked as a gardener for Camden Council.

In 1966, she stood as a Radical Alliance candidate in Fulham during the general election.

Pat was also a prominent opponent of the Vietnam war, and was a member of Non-Violent Action in Vietnam (NVAV, launched in 1967). In January-March 1968, she was part of a NVAV group who went to Cambodia and Thailand. In February-March, Pat was imprisoned in Bangkok for taking part in a demonstration against a US air base.

In 1968, she fasted against the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. In November, Pat was imprisoned for six months following a sit-down protest outside Elliott Automation (a NVAV protest). She was declared by Amnesty International, Britain's first "Prisoner of Conscience".

From 1969-71, Pat worked as a researcher for the Society of Friends Race Relations Committee.

In 1970, she stood as a candidate in Fulham during the general election. "Somewhere like this" was published this year: a novel written in and about Holloway Prison ("a love story between a butch young burglar ["Lorry"] and a fluffy first offender ["Mavis"]").

From 1971, Pat began her major involvement in the campaign for the removal of British troops from Northern Ireland.

From 1971-94, she worked at Amnesty International, originally as a secretary and later as Assistant Editor of their newsletter.

In January 1972, Pat was arrested in Belfast for distributing the War Resisters International leaflet, "To British soldiers from British citizens".

In 1972, "To Asia in Peace: the story of a non-violent action mission to Indo-China", edited by Pat, was published. Her report, "The colour of six schools" was also published this year (this considered the way six London secondary schools dealt with race relations).

Pat was arrested several times in 1973 in relation to her protests against British troops in Northern Ireland. In August, she was arrested during a Campaign for British Withdrawal from Northern Ireland / Anti-Internment League protest at Colchester military tattoo. In September, she was arrested for distributing leaflets ("Some information for British soldiers", issued by British Withdrawal from Northern Ireland Campaign) to troops in Warminster, Wiltshire; the leaflets included information on how to avoid serving in Northern Ireland.

In January 1974, Pat jumped bail and went to Ireland, but she was re-arrested in March after returning to London. In May 1974, she was imprisoned for 18 months for distributing the leaflets to soldiers. In August, she escaped from Askham Open Prison, but she was arrested two weeks later at the offices of Peace News, London (soon after her appearance at an anti-National Front demonstration in Hyde Park, 7 September 1974). Pat was released on appeal in December.

In October 1975, she was arrested for distributing leaflets ("What kind of peace?) to civilians in Aldershot; the police later apologised, but Pat sued them (she was awarded £200 in November 1976).

In November 1975, she was arrested by Sheffield police on her way to a Troops Out of Ireland meeting.

In October 1976, she protested for "Troops out of Ireland" at the Women of the Year luncheon.

In 1977, Pat was detained in Belfast for her involvement with the Campaign Against British Brutality in Ireland (a group investigating allegations of army brutality in Turf Lodge Estate). In November, she was jailed for refusing to pay a fine for obstructing the highway outside Grunwick film processing plant (she was protesting in support of the strikers).

In 1979, she married for a day so she could qualify for an inheritance (from this, for example, she gave £100 each to Sappho and Gay Pride Week 79). She stood as an Independent Socialist against James Callaghan in that year's general election (Cardiff South East constituency); she was arrested twice during the campaign.

In 1982, "The Prisoner" was published, her short novel about a bedridden woman (Muriel) suffering through old age, poverty and ill-health.

In 1983, Pat was arrested for her part in a protest at the USAF base at Upper Heyford.

In July 1985, she was imprisoned for 14 days for refusing to pay a fine for criminal damage to fencing at Alconbury USAF base.

In 1990, Pat was arrested at Bentwaters air base during a protest against nuclear weapons and her book, "Nine lives: poems 1968-89", was published.

In 1990-91, Pat was involved in protests against the Gulf War, including being part of the Gulf Peace Camp situated on the border between Iraq and Saudi Arabia (December 1990-January 1991).

In 1994, she was arrested at Stratford after sitting in front of a nuclear waste train bound for Sellafield.

In 1995, "I should have been a Hornby train", Pat's autobiography of her childhood was published.

In 1999, "Many are called", a novel based on her time as a social worker in Liverpool in the 1950s was published by Onlywomen Press.

In 2000, "Drawing to extinction", a book of Pat's poems and drawings was published.

In 2001, she was arrested at Faslane naval base during a CND protest. She also protested at a Fulbright British Scholars Association party (to which she was invited) at the US Embassy, London.

In 2003, Pat was arrested at Northwood Joint Military HQ.

In 2005, she was arrested outside Aldermaston and her poetry book, "Going on", was published.

In 2009, "Dark light", a book of her poems set in north London was published.
Custodial HistoryThe bulk of the papers were initially transferred to CND's offices from Pat Arrowsmith's house and then brought to LSE Library in June 2017.
ARROWSMITH/51-53 were transferred to LSE Library in January 2018 (via Kate Hudson).
DescriptionThese are the personal papers of Pat Arrowsmith. They were collected by Kate Hudson of CND and are a sub-collection of CND's papers.

The documents include:

Papers on her campaigns, in particular on: nuclear issues; Vietnam war; British troops in Northern Ireland; Gulf War; and, feminist and lesbian issues.

Personal papers, including diaries, correspondence (including with her partner, Wendy Butlin), photographs and press cuttings. Many of the letters and cards are from Wendy Butlin ("Boxer").

Written works (much of which is autobiographical), including draft novels and poetry.

Artwork, including some colourful paintings done when she was a child and some sketches made during her time in Holloway prison.
Access StatusMainly open; some items closed
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