“On August 27 1981, 36 women and four men, aged between 25 and 80, and a few children left Cardiff to walk the 120 miles to Greenham Common - it took them 10 days. They had produced a leaflet: "Why are we walking 120 miles from a nuclear weapons factory in Cardiff to a site for Cruise missiles in Berkshire?" The other side showed a picture of a dead baby, deformed by radiation, in Hiroshima.” Women’s Peace Movement that grew up in protest against the siting of American Cruise missiles at RAF Greenham Common to a stage where 35,000 Women surrounded the base. Women were dragged along tarmac roads and thrown into ditches as they tried to stop preparations for the missiles to be brought along the roads and through the gates into the base. The women began to sing 'You can't kill the spirit' as they were dragged away and flung into the mud at the side of the banks They organised a sit-down in the central lobby of Parliament and sang protest songs against Cruise. They produced arguments against a law of 1362 being used to evict them from the camp, climbed up on top of Holloway prison in support of those imprisoned inside, and managed to get their case against the Greenham Cruise missiles brought before the Federal Court in the US. Amongst those arrested and imprisoned in Holloway wereNelly Logan, 72, the oldest of the jailed women peace campaigners, A number of Greenham Common protesters were jailed for two weeks including Lynette Edwell, Susan Lamb, Denise Brinkworth, and Lynne Fortte. Susan Cox and Dinah John snowball campaigners, who refused to pay the fine after cutting the fence at Sculthorpe RAF were sentenced to Holloway for 14 days, and self published a pamphlet entitled ‘Holloway for Beginners
01 Mar 1983 friends and supporter waited outside the prison for the campaigners to be released.
“Greenham acted as a powerful catalyst for a range of issues. Women's networks had spread -to campaigning against the destruction of the Pacific Islands, the growth of militarism, the food mountains, and they were taking action against corporations which supported apartheid and the commercial exploitation of pornography. Women from Greenham went to Zimbabwe and Nicaragua, to the US and the Soviet Union and linked up with other women. They had supported the miners during the strike of 1984 and striking miners had visited Greenham.”
Lyn Barlow, a member of the Greenham peace camp, regularly smuggled out letters and stories from prisoners ‘desperate to have the conditions they were experiencing brought to the attention of the media and campaign groups.’ Helen John, who was jailed at Holloway twice for breach of the peace, came to believe that ‘it almost should be a responsibility of well educated people to go to prison, then they can see for themselves what it is that's wrong with the system and come out and do something about it.’ This is what, she says, the women from Greenham did, by revealing the ‘horrors of psychologically disturbed prisoners’ on C1 who were ‘heavily tranquilized and ridiculed.’ ‘I felt I related more to other women prisoners than to my Greenham “compatriots”. I had spent most of my childhood in care and realised that, if I had trodden a different path other than Greenham, I would have probably ended up in prison anyway ‘
the Guardian. (2017). The Greenham Common peace camp and its legacy. [online] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2006/sep/05/greenham5 [Accessed 7 Jun. 2017].
Maydayrooms.org. (2017). MayDay Rooms » Greenham Common Women’s Peace Movement. [online] Available at: http://maydayrooms.org/archives/greenham-common-womens-peace-movement/ [Accessed 7 Jun. 2017].
The Guardian. (2017). The Greenham Common peace camp and its legacy. [online] Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2006/sep/05/greenham5 [Accessed 7 Jun. 2017].
Davies, Caitlin – Personal Correspondence – book on history of Holloway pending publication
Barlow, L. (2015). How I met Chris. In Women in Prison Magazine, Ready, Steady Go [online] Available at: http://www.womeninprison.org.uk/perch/resources/lyn-barlow-84-87.pdf [Accessed 7 Jun. 2017]