AGNES Moir’s schooling ended in Springburn when she was 11 years old, notes her obituary, but her education did not.

“She campaigned for the franchise for women, played a leading part in the Glasgow rent strike…advocated the control of food prices and all the time was setting the pace for the active participation of women in politics.”

Glasgow Times:

Agnes – later Lady Agnes Dollan, wife of Glasgow Lord Provost Patrick Dollan – was a pacifist and feminist and Scotland’s “forgotten” suffragette, who went to jail for standing up for what she believed in. She was also the first female to stand for election with the city council.

Today (July 16) marks the anniversary of her death, aged 78, in 1966, which made front page news in the Glasgow Evening Times.

Glasgow Times: Patrick Dollan (holding doll) acting as an auctioneer at a charity event, 1941. Pic: Glasgow City Archives

Agnes was one of eleven children born to Henry Moir, a blacksmith, and his wife, Annie Wilkinson, in Springburn in North Glasgow. After leaving school, she worked briefly in a factory before becoming a telephone operator at the Post Office.

It was here, spurred on by discrimination suffered by her colleagues, that she helped set up a trade union for female workers and campaigned for an organisation that was fighting to secure the vote for women.

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Agnes met Patrick Dollan, a journalist and member of the Independent Labour Party, via the Clarion Scouts and they were married on September 20, 1912. She became politically active during the Red Clydeside period of Glasgow’s history as an organiser, alongside Mary Barbour and Helen Crawfurd, of the 1915 Glasgow Rent Strikes. She was jailed briefly in 1917 for protesting about high rents. She also helped set up the Women’s Peace Crusade.

In 1919, Agnes became the first female Labour candidate to stand for election to Glasgow City Council and on December 13, 1921, she was elected as councillor for Springburn.

She held the position until 1928. Her husband Patrick served as Lord Provost of Glasgow from 1938 to 1941, and Agnes joined him enthusiastically in his duties.

Agnes was awarded an MBE in George VI’s Birthday Honours list of 1946 for her war efforts as the centre organiser in Glasgow for the Women’s Voluntary Services.

Her obiturary, in our sister newspaper The Glasgow Herald said: “In the sphere of political and public life, Lady Dollan was for many years as active as her husband. They were kindred spirits.”

What would Agnes make of Glasgow today?

She was extremely proud of her Springburn heritage – in her polling day address, she said: “I am conscious that Springburn has always been a pioneer in civic reform.

“Springburn is notable for municipal advances and I would deem it a great honour to represent such a ward.”

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She added: “The condition of the unemployed in the city must be our first concern. Over 70,000 men and women are unable to obtain work and their homes are shadowed by sorrow and poverty. If the Government could afford £30,000,000 for warships it can afford to finance work for the unemployed.”

She added: “Houses are more important than battleships.”

Agnes called for reforms which would “improve the conditions of working women” such as municipal laundries and the civic control of the food supply and she highlighted the importance of art and culture.

“The best in music, art and literature is not too good for all citizens,” she said.