Mrs Dora Montefiore

Gender: Female

Marital Status: Widowed

Born: 1851

Died: 1934

Place of birth: Kenley, Surrey, England

Main Suffrage Society: WSPU

Other Societies: CCWS; UPS

Arrest Record: Yes

Recorded Entries: 1


Other sources:
Elizabeth Crawford, The Women's Suffrage Movement: A Reference Guide 1866?1928 (1999); Karen Hunt, Unequivocal Feminists: The Social Democratic Federation and the Woman Question 1884?1911 (1996)

Further Information:

Family information: Father was a land surveyor. Emigrated to Australia and married George Montefiore in 1879. He died in 1889, leaving her with two young children.

Additional Information: Dora returned to England in 1893 from Australia, where she had been active in the Australian suffrage movement. She joined the Women's Liberal Association and the Central Committee for Women's Suffrage (CCWS), as well as the Union of Practical Suffragists (UPS). Dora was deeply involved with the socialist movement and the Independent Labour Party (ILP) and probably came into contact with early representatives of the WSPU in London through this work. Dora was present at and helped to organise the WSPU's 'heckling' of Asquith's meeting at Manchester's Free Trade Hall in 1905, an important moment in WSPU history. However, Dora had a strained relationship with Emmeline Pankhurst throughout the campaign, and so is often sidelined in reports of groundbreaking WSPU activity, despite her frequent involvement. She resisted paying her taxes in 1904 and 1905, barricading herself into her home to stop bailiffs entering and seizing her goods. The publicity she gained, and her promotion of tax resistance as a form of protest for suffragettes, encouraged this tactic to be more widely adopted. Dora was imprisoned in 1906 with others for causing a disturbance in the lobby of the House of Commons, but by 1907 had broken with the WSPU. She could not get along with the Pankhursts, or they with her, and she considered Emmeline Pankhurst an 'autocrat'. Dora kept in touch with women's suffrage politics but focused her attention on her socialist roots, joining the Adult Suffrage Society, which sought to achieve the vote for all men and women on the same terms.

Other Suffrage Activities: Dora was a member of the Women's Local Government Society in 1898 and promoted the importance of the election of women as parish councillors. In 1898, she travelled and campaigned for the Independent Labour Party (ILP), becoming a party secretary. Scandal over her possible relationship with a married ILP member forced her to resign. By 1900, she seemed to have joined the socialist SDF Party and started a women's branch. However, she was not satisfied with the party's attitude towards women, who were generally sidelined. It was at this time that she looked towards the WSPU. In 1919, she stood, without success, in local county council elections as a Labour Party candidate in Hammersmith, London. She was secretary of the first International Conference of Communist Women in the 1920s. Dora wrote some articles about the socialist women's movement, such as 'Some Words to Socialist Women' (1908).

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