Mary Molony

  (Redirected from Mary Maloney)

Horatia Dorothy Malony (1884 - 1 December 1921[1]) (also known in the press as Miss Maloney and Miss Molony) was an Irish Suffragette campaigner and member of the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) and the Women's Freedom League following its split from the WSPU. She famously disrupted the 1908 Dundee by-election by ringing a bell every time Winston Churchill attempted to address a crowd.

Dorothy Maloney
Horatia Dorothy Moloney Dundee Courier - Thursday 29 October 1908.jpg
DiedDecember 1, 1921(1921-12-01) (aged 36–37)
Known forSuffragette activism

1908 Dundee by-electionEdit

Dundee experienced a comparatively high amount of suffrage activity in 1908 due to the then prime minister, H.H. Asquith holding the seat for the neighbouring constituency of East Fife and Winston Churchill standing as Liberal MP in Dundee in the 1908 by-election.[2]

The Women's Social and Political Union were active in the campaign with Mary Gawthorpe, Emmeline Pankhurst and Christabel Pankhurst holding meetings in the Dundee. However, they were upstaged by the non-violent Women's Freedom League member Dorothy Molony who came up from London for the campaign. Whenever Churchill spoke, Molony produced and rang a hand bell which drowned out what he was saying. The ding-dong exchanges were taken in fun initially, but some meetings had to be cancelled because of the uproar.[3] The Irish Times newspaper published an account of the by-election on 5 May 1908 that supported claims that Molony had followed Churchill around for a week.[4] [5]

"[Maloney] complained of a passage in a speech which the latter delivered on Saturday last, and in which, alluding to the women’s suffrage movement, he said – “I have seen with some regret some most earnest advocates of the cause allying themselves with the forces of drink and reaction. They were carried shoulder-high, I am informed, by the rowdy elements, which are always to be found at a publichouse-made manifestation.”… Amid great laughter Miss Maloney retorted that if any man attempted to lift her in his arms she would have boxed his ears…

"At the time appointed for him to address the meeting (and when there were about 500 or 600 present), Mr. Churchill drove up in his motor car only to find that the gathering was in full possession of the ladies… who had the sympathy of a goodly majority of the crowd… Mr. Churchill re-entered the vehicle and was about to speak from it when the Suffragette carriage came up, a lady inside loudly ringing a bell. The carriage drew close up to the motor, the bell clanging all the time, and creating so much din…

"The lady said to be Miss Maloney shook her fist at the right hon. gentleman, and exclaimed in a loud voice, “Who is the strongest — an Irish woman or Mr. Winston Churchill?”

The moniker "La Belle Maloney", a reference to her bell ringing exploits, was reported by Sylvia Pankhurst.[6]


  1. ^ "In Memoriam". The Vote. 9 December 1921.
  2. ^ Wright, Valerie. "Suffrage in Dundee: WHS Suffrage Learning Resource launch event, 10 March 2018 – Women's History Scotland". Retrieved 25 September 2020.
  3. ^ Watson, Norman. (2006). Dundee : a short history. Edinburgh: Black & White Pub. ISBN 978-1-84502-115-3. OCLC 70845068.
  4. ^ "The Irish Times Newspaper Archive". The Irish Times. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
  5. ^ LaCapria, Kim (14 November 2019). "Did an Irish Suffragist Follow Winston Churchill for a Week..." Truth or Fiction?. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
  6. ^ Pankhurst, Sylvia E (1911). The suffragette; the history of the women's militant suffrage movement, 1905-1910.