“Born to be an agitator”

The Scotsman. October 14, 1924

Agnes Moir was born in Springburn, one of 11 children. She went to school until she was 11, and worked in a factory, and as a Post Office telephone operator. She joined the Women’s Labour League, helped to set up a women’s post office trade union, and joined the mighty Women’s Social and Political Union.

WSPU postcard album, c.1911. (22909298522)

She met Partick Dollan through the Clarion Scouts, and they married in 1912. He later became Lord Provost after a long career as a Glasgow Town Councillor. Agnes was a key activist in the rent strikes in Glasgow, alongside Helen Crawfurd, Mary Barbour, Mary Jeff, and Mary Burns Laird. She was treasurer of the Glasgow Women’s Housing Association, and was jailed in 1917 for protesting against high rents. She was a founder member of the Women’s Peace Crusade and the Glasgow branch of the Women’s International League. She travelled and spoke alongside Helen Crawfurd to raise awareness of the cause of peace during the First World War.

She became the first female Labour candidate to stand for to Glasgow Town Council in 1919, when she was selected to stand for Springburn Ward. She held a position on the council until 1928, while also serving on the Labour Party’s National Executive. After the Independent Labour Party separated from the Labout Party, she was appointed the first president of the Scottish Socialist Party’s women’s council in 1933.

She was a columnist in the Sunday Post newspaper, writing on socialism, feminism, and reminiscing about her radical deeds.

In 1942, she received a testimonial from Glasgow Town Council. She honoured the work of thousands of women in her speech thus:

“Being Lady Provost has given me an insight into the magnificent work being carried out by thousands of women unknown, unhonoured and unsung, but who keep numerous societies and institutions going for the sake of service and without any hope of fee or reward. Glasgow in this respect is more favoured than any other city, and so long as it has so many valiant and hard working women it is bound to prosper.”

Forward, 3rd April 1942

She was awarded an MBE in 1946, and died in Glasgow in 1966.