On Halloween night, 1906, young working class Lotta Rae is attacked by a wealthy gentleman. She seeks justice at an Old Bailey trial alongside her barrister, William Linden, who she believes to be her ally.
The verdict is devastating and Lotta Rae soon realises the guardians of justice do not support her. But what none could foresee were the shocking consequences.
Twelve years later, as the suffragettes rise and the ghost of WW1 looms large over London, William is joined again by Lotta Rae. Now they will travel to a fateful destination, where truths must be faced and wrongs will be righted.
The day in court is done. But tonight he will hear her testimony.
Connection to London areas.
The London I write about in The Trial of Lotta Rae is one dear to me. Lotta’s birthplace in Spitalfields close to Petticoat Lane, house the markets I visited as a child on Sunday mornings with my father. The nearby Liverpool Street was the grand old station where he’d buy me sweets. We’d walk home the way Lotta walked to work with her own father, past Moorgate, to where we lived in the under construction Barbican. Walking to school in Whitecross Street, where Lotta lunches with her beau, I’d stop at the Whitbread Brewery on Chiswell Street to let the dray horses pass, the scent of hops high. It is here that Lotta works and meets her nemesis. A teenager I lived in the West End, and Charing Cross Road and Soho feature large in Lotta’s life. As does King’s Cross, where my brother lived and formed his destined to become successful band, and where, with youthful jubilance, we would stride and sing. And, again, a child: in the shadow of the Old Bailey I would stand to gaze up at the Golden Lady ‘…standing high. So high, she kept watch over all the children of London; she bid them come. For, she would deliver them justice. And I believed her promise.’ Just as Lotta did.
About the author
Siobhan MacGowan is a journalist and musician who lived and worked in London for much of her life before returning to Ireland several years ago. She is from a family of great storytellers, the most prominent of which is her brother, Shane MacGowan, of The Pogues.