Partner Helen Boyle

Queer Places:
3 Palmeira Terrace, 37 Church Rd, Hove BN3 2BW, UK

Mabel Jones (1865-1923)[1] was a British physician and a sympathizer to the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU).[2] When Helen Boyle arrived in Brighton in 1897, she and her partner, Mabel Jones were the first women doctors to set up in general practice in the district. Mabel Jones, just before she met Helen, had been working in Hull under Dr Mary Murdoch (who was definitely a lesbian, identified herself as such and was a lifelong friend of Louisa Martindale.) When she left Brighton Mabel is known to have adopted a child with a woman friend. One of Louisa "Lulu" Martindale and Ismay FitzGerald’s closest friends on the south coast was Dublin-born Dr Helen Boyle, who ran a general practice in Hove with her partner Dr Mabel Jones.

Mabel Jones had been appointed junior assistant in anaesthetics to Louisa Aldrich-Blake in 1894, and Aldrich-Blake was appointed the next year as surgical registrar. These events were seen as encouraging, since, as Neil Macintyre exclaimed, 'It was galling to those qualifying at LSMW that they could not get jobs at their own hospital'. It would seem for the Board of the RFH that being associated with an all-woman medical school with the associated financial advantages was one thing, but actually appointing women to your medical staff was a little different. In order to progress to appointments in other hospitals, it was necessary to obtain experience as a resident at the RFH. Many prestigious children's hospitals, such as the Hospital for Sick Children in Great Ormond Street, where LSMW graduates wanted to work, would not even consider an application unless a previous residential appointment had been held. In 1898 a petition was made to the RFH by 51 LSMW students and 32 graduates that its residential posts be opened to women.  

In 1897 Florence Stoney left London and travelled to Hull where she was appointed house surgeon at the Victoria Hospital for Sick Children (VHSC), replacing Mabel Jones, who had resigned to move to Brighton. The appointment was noted in the Eastern Morning News of Saturday 29 May 1897. Mabel Jones was a LSMW graduate and was later become well known for her support and medical care of suffragettes who became ill or were injured whilst in prison.

Trained in London, from 1898 Jones worked in a practice with her fellow student at the London School of Medicine, Dr Helen Boyle in Brighton[3] and then moved on to Glasgow in 1908. Although Dr Jones initially handled the routine cases in Hove, Brighton, the clinic was focused in treating women and it was mostly female led.[4] Jones was also noted for helping others who were sympathetic to the cause. "Dr. Mabel Jones did very well in helping the boys to get over their little colds and fevers. ... illustrate how genuine a feminist Paschal had become between two ardent suffragists, his wife and mother, he too called on Dr. Mabel Jones' services"[5]

It is reported that Jones either worked in Belgium or attended Belgian wounded in Scotland during World War I [6] and was awarded the Queen Elisabeth Medal and this was sent on her sudden death to her medical colleague Dr Helen Boyle of Brighton[7]

Jones evaluated the health state of suffragette Frances Gordon after she was released from Perth prison. A part of the report she produced was quoted in a letter to the Glasgow Evening Times:[8] "I saw her (Miss Gordon) at Midnight in July 3. Her appearance was appalling, like a famine victim: the skin brown, her face bones standing out, her eyes half shut, her voice a whisper, her hands quite cold, her pulse a thread."[9] This quote and the Press exposure of pictures of women on stretchers after release from prisons led to questions in the House of Commons, giving voice to the female suffrage cause.[10] In the book Martyrs in our Mydst, Leah Leneman openly questions the level of accuracy of Dr Jones report on Frances Gordon and also challenges the official version: "Comparing the [prison] medical officer's daily reports with Frances Gordon's story as related by Mabel Jones, it is clear that the later did indeed contained a good deal of distortion, but a far greater distortion was the version of the events provided by the medical officer and Chairman of the Prison Commission to the Scottish Office"[11]

It is uncertain if Jones went to London to meet the Pankhursts to protest that Janie Allan was removed from the West of Scotland branch of the WSPU.[12] The Women's Library Archive has a printed leaflet of a visit by Dr Jones to Mrs Pankhurst in a cell at the Central Police Station.[13] She did also co-examine the gynaecological damage done by the violent use of rectal feeding on Fanny Parker [2] and reported in the WSPU newsletters about other cases.[14]

Jones died in 1923 after falling from a train in Northampton.[7]

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