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British Industrial History

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Margaret Haig Thomas

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Margaret Haig Thomas, (1883–1958), feminist, business woman and magazine proprietor, Viscountess Rhondda

1883 Born in London, daughter of David Alfred Thomas and his wife Sybil

1908 Married Henry Mackworth

C.1908 Her father wanted someone he could trust absolutely to assist him in the running of his business empire, a cross between "a highly confidential secretary and a right hand man". At her mother's suggestion, he recruited Margaret for the role.

Worked in her father's office in the Cambrian Buildings on Cardiff docks. She attended conferences and board meetings, conducted research into special projects, drafted letters and memoranda, and accompanied him on overseas business trips. She acquired a knowledge of finance, of the workings of the coal and newspaper industries, and learned the arts of negotiation and bluffing.

1908-14 Took an increasingly active part in the women's suffrage movement

By 1914 she had been passed the management of her father's newspaper interests

WWI As politics took more of his attention, she gained increased responsibility for the running of all of his businesses. By the end of the war she was a director of more than 20 companies.

1916 Survived the sinking of RMS Lusitania

1918 On her father's death, she inherited his property, his commercial interests, and his title. Viscountess Rhondda, as she now was, was the director of 33 companies (28 of them inherited from her father) and chairman or vice-chairman of 16 of these.

1920 She set up the feminist weekly journal Time and Tide, eventually using much of her fortune to support the magazine which she editted.

1921 She launched the Six Point Group, which focused on what she regarded as the 6 key issues for women

1923 Divorced

1926 Along with other feminists, she set up the Open Door Council to campaign against "protective" legislation for women.

She continued to push for the entitlement of Ladies to be seated in the House of Lords.

1958 Died in London

See Also


Sources of Information

  • Biography Margaret Haig Thomas, ODNB