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The Littlehampton LibelsA Miscarriage of Justice and a Mystery about Words in 1920s England$
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Christopher Hilliard

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198799658

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198799658.001.0001

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Keeping Observation

Keeping Observation

(p.105) 7 Keeping Observation
The Littlehampton Libels

Christopher Hilliard

Oxford University Press

Horatio Bottomley’s muckraking newspaper John Bull took an interest in the Littlehampton case and Edith Swan corresponded with the paper. Swan acquired new neighbours on the other side from the Goodings—Violet and George May, who began to receive obscene letters. Unbeknownst to Swan, the West Sussex police were keeping her under surveillance. The surveillance work was largely undertaken by Gladys Moss, a former governess who joined the West Sussex police at the end of the war. Moss was seconded from Worthing, where (as the police station logs show) she was marginalized in much the same way as other pioneering women officers in provincial police forces. Moss ‘kept observation’ for several weeks and eventually witnessed Edith Swan surreptitiously delivering an obscene letter.

Keywords:   John Bull, Horatio Bottomley, surveillance, women police, neighbours

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