©National Archives

Record of Ruth Ellis's Execution, 13 July 1955 Ruth Ellis was the last woman to be hanged in Britain. The item shown here is the typed report on her execution providing personal details of the prisoner and the execution itself.

Ruth Ellis, a divorced mother of two children, was sentenced to death on 22 June 1955. This was despite evidence to show that the man she murdered by shooting (her ex-lover) had beaten her repeatedly in the abdomen, causing her to miscarry her unborn child.

Despite an outcry of public sympathy for her, the Home Secretary decided on 11 July that she must hang. A crowd of over 1500 gathered outside Holloway prison on the morning of her execution. Both national and international press ran banner headlines and articles on the Ellis decision for a week after her execution.