1915 court: Dutch dressmaker accused of being illegal alien

144919'1915 paper copy 'Picture by Neil Silk'05/12/14
144919'1915 paper copy 'Picture by Neil Silk'05/12/14

At the Scarborough Police Court before Mr J Dippie and Alderman Pirie, Joanna Francisca Pieterse, an elderly person described as a dressmaker, 4, Cambridge Terrace, was charged with being an alien, she did unlawfully enter the prohibited area of the Borough of Scarborough without having in her possession a passport issued to her not more than two years previously by and on behalf of the government of the country of which she is a subject or citizen, or some other document satisfactorily establishing her nationality with a photograph of herself attached thereto, on November 23rd.

Defendant admitted not having a passport and said she was a Dutch subject.

The chief constable said this lady came to Scarborough the first time to his knowledge on September 30th, 1914, coming from Ireland. She came to stay with a lady as a sort of companion, and for a time the lady allowed her to stay with her, but just recently she told her she would have to look for some other situation. Consequently on October 8th defendant went to a situation in Norfolk, but before going she was told she must not enter the prohibited area of the place she was going to without the permission of the Norfolk police. He (the chief) got her the necessary permission, and she went there on October 8th. She was also told that she must not leave that area without permission of the chief officer of police, and that that permission in regard to Scarborough would only be given by her producing a document showing her nationality and a photograph of herself attached thereto in accordance with the regulations. Continuing, the chief said some time later he understood the defendant intended leaving her situation in Norfolk and returning to Scarborough, and so he wrote to the lady telling her the defendant must not come here unless she was in possession of documents. Notwithstanding that the defendant came to Scarborough on November 22nd. She did not come to the police office until the 25th to notify her arrival, so that she had committed an offence. He (the chief) therefore instructed his officers to charge her straightaway for coming into this area without his (the chief’s) permission. He might say she advertised herself as French, saying she had done so because it would give her a better chance of procuring a position as a dressmaker, the French being looked upon as better dressmakers than the Dutch.

Detective-Sergeant Yeoman gave evidence as to interviewing the defendant at Cambridge Terrace prior to her departure to Norfolk. She showed him a birth certificate written in Dutch, which was made out in 1911. There was, however, no photograph or anything to show it related in any way to her.

Replying to the chief, witness said the defendant appeared to understand the regulations in regard to an alien entering a prohibited area.

Defendant in the course of a statement to the bench, said she came back to Scarborough because she hadn’t a home to go to. She had been in England four years, and had worked for some of the best families in the country.

The chief said if the defendant would produce the necessary document everything would be all right.

Defendant, at this stage, produced a passport, but it was out of date, being issued in the year 1911. She had written to the Dutch Consul for a new passport, but he said it would cost her 8s 6d.

The case was remanded for a week, to enable the defendant to comply with the regulations.