Century old police ledger found in skip with mugshot of suffragette Alice Wheeldon sold at auction

The remarkable ledger was saved from a skip 40 years ago by a serving officer during a clear-out at an old station in St Mary's Gate Station. Credit: ITV News Central

A century-old police ledger featuring a mugshot of a suffragette from Derby, convicted of conspiring to kill the prime minister has been sold under the hammer today.

The ledger, featuring photographs of people who had been convicted between 1890-1920, was sold at auction for £10,500 - that's more than triple its expected sale.

The remarkable ledger was saved from a skip 40 years ago by a serving officer during a clear-out at an old station in St Mary's Gate Station.

Alice Wheeldon a well-known women's rights activist featured in the book. She was also an anti-war campaigner who opposed the First World War.

She's seen in the 500-page book alongside photographs of others convicted of a host of offences between 1890-1920.

Mrs Wheeldon was accused of plotting to kill David Lloyd George during the war in 1917, and was jailed for 10 years - based on the evidence of a British spy.

She was convicted in March 1917 alongside her daughter Winnie, a school teacher, and son-in-law Alfred Mason, a chemist, who are also recorded in the ledger.

The century-old ledger will going under the hammer at Hansons Auctioneers' library auction today. Credit: ITV News Central

Alice's family have since campaigned to clear her name, saying evidence at her trial was unreliable.

Having been a key supporter of the suffragette movement, Mrs Wheeldon was also a well-known pacifist and was opposed to wartime conscription, sending young men to the trenches.

She took in a man claiming to be a conscientious objector, going by the name Alex Gordon, who was in fact a British spy, and whose evidence about the supposed murder plot was presented in court - without cross-examination- during Mrs Wheeldon's trial.

Despite the convictions, the use of the spy saw the government question its methods in using an agent provocateur.

Just weeks after the trial, the intelligence department to which Gordon belonged was shut down, while the agent was sent abroad.

Having been found guilty at the Old Bailey, the record showed she was discharged from HMP Aylesbury just months later - at the end of 1917 - at the request of Lloyd George himself.

However, the spell in prison had taken its toll on her health, with a later note recorded under her mugshot in the ledger in bold red ink "Died 21.02.19".

After a recent campaign for justice by Mrs Wheeldon's relatives, the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) said although the bid to re-examine the case had merit, the case was too old to justify the expense.

However, in its decision, the CCRC said: "The submissions identified in the application may raise a real possibility that these convictions would be overturned".

After being rescued from a skip 40 years ago by a police officer, the ledger was put on auction by his son.

The ledger was saved from a skip 40 years ago by a serving officer and has been put on auction by his son. Credit: ITV News Central

The 53-year-old engineer from Staffordshire, whose father has since died, said: "In Derby, Alice Wheeldon is now viewed as a hero for her anti-war and suffragette stance and wrongful conviction.

"She's been honoured with a blue plaque and a star in the city's walk of fame.

"After decades in a cupboard, I've decided its time someone else had the opportunity to research this important historical record.

"As well as the Wheeldon family, there are nearly 500 other people with a story to tell"

Jim Spencer, of Hansons Auctioneers said: "Alice Wheeldon is a famous name, and its quite surreal to see the original 'mugshots' of her and her family members.

"For me, this makes the book of serious importance. I'm grateful the vendor's father rescued this valuable primary resource for historians.

Mr. Spencer added that images and details recorded for more than 500 other criminals within the ledger were an insight into society at the time

"The overwhelming feeling for me is quite tragic, with petty thefts being committed by desperate people living in poverty" he said,

"I just get the sense of some very difficult lives in this book".

The ledger went under the hammer at Hansons Auctioneers' library auction today (19 October). It was estimated to sell between £2,000-£3,000 but sold for £10,500.