In 1952 Pat Seares, a ‘housewife from London’, was jailed at Holloway Prison because she’d shouted protests after a showing of Rommel the Desert Fox at the Leicester Square Odeon. The film told the story of the Nazi general, and after it had been shown Pat stood up and cried, ‘Do not go to see this dreadful film. He killed our lads, and now they want to make him a hero.’
She was arrested under an Act that was centuries old – the Justices of the Peace Act of 1361 (which in an amended form still exists today). Pat refused to be bound over and was escorted from the court shouting, ‘peace is the only thing worth fighting for.’ She was then imprisoned at Holloway for two weeks.
In 1959, Pat was back in Holloway again after taking part in a demonstration at Swaffham air base in East Anglia. Peace campaigners were trying to stop the base being developed for ballistic missiles. ‘Our aims are to stop this nuclear war madness,’ Pat explained. She was a member of the Movement for Peace, as was her husband. ‘I have never believed in attacking another country,’ she told Peace News, ‘I will take no part in hating people because of their politics, religion, colour or shape of nose.’
Thank you to Pat’s niece, who attended a talk about Holloway at the Derby Book Festival and told me about her aunt. She then kindly provided these archive documents.