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Mary Sophia Allen

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

Sitter in 1 portrait
The accomplishments of Mary in women's rights and the inclusion of women in the police force are somewhat overshadowed by her involvement with the British Union of Fascists and as a Nazi sympathizer. Mary joined the Women’s Social and Political Union in 1909. After being arrested for smashing windows and experiencing force feeding, she began to consider provisions for female prisoners. After the outbreak of the First World War, she joined the Women Police Volunteers (WPS) in Edinburgh. After the War, Scotland Yard saw less value in the WPS, as men returned from their service and the Metropolitan police set up their own women’s division. Mary traveled the world, offering training and advice to other police women.

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

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

by Mrs Albert Broom (Christina Livingston)
bromide print, 1916
On display in Room 33 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG x6075


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