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Mary Sophia Allen

(1878-1964), Founder and Commandant of Women Police in London

Sitter in 2 portraits
Allen was a suffragette who joined the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) in 1909. After being arrested for smashing windows and experiencing force feeding, she began to consider provisions for female prisoners. Following the outbreak of the First World War, she joined the Women Police Volunteers (WPS) in Edinburgh. After the War, with men returning from service, Scotland Yard saw less value in the WPS and the Metropolitan police set up their own women's division. Allen travelled the world, offering training and advice to other police women and later became involved with the British Union of Fascists.

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Mary Sophia Allen (centre) with four members of her force, by Christina Broom - NPG x6075

Mary Sophia Allen (centre) with four members of her force

by Christina Broom
bromide print, 1916
On display in Room 25 on Floor 2 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG x6075

Helen Bourn Tagart; Mary Sophia Allen, for ACME Newspictures, Inc. - NPG x194372

Helen Bourn Tagart; Mary Sophia Allen

for ACME Newspictures, Inc.
bromide press print, 29 January 1934
NPG x194372

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