Theresa Josephine McHale

Wales Online reported on 21st February this year: “A suffragette from Newport is the focus of a campaign to build the city’s first statue of a named woman.

Lady Rhondda, who grew up in Llanwern House, could have a statue built to commemorate her if the group behind the GoFundMe campaign are successful in raising the £100,000 needed. The Statue for Lady Rhondda group is part of the Monumental Welsh Women campaign, which hopes it will be one of five new public art pieces commissioned across the country.

Julie Nicholas, chair of the campaign, said: “Lady Rhondda was one of the world’s most famous women in her heyday, and she was raised in Newport.

“Newport has a proud history of rebellion thanks to the Chartist uprising in the nineteenth century, and Lady Rhondda was our twentieth century rebel.”



“Theresa Josephine McHale was born in St James, London, on 6th March 1867, the daughter of Theresa Dunne/Denne born c1835 in Ireland or Chelsea (censuses differ) and George McHale, 56, a tailor, born c1835 in Drogheda, Ireland. They were married in Dublin on 28th June 1857.

In 1891 Theresa was a schoolmistress, living with her family at 34 Brewer St, St James, whilst her three siblings – Mary, born in Ireland 1859, a waistcoat maker, George, born in London, c1870 a tailor, and Agnes, born in London c 1873, also a waistcoat maker – all followed in their father’s trade. This is in the Soho area.

In 1893 Theresa married Joseph Thomas Dillon, (born St James, London 8th September 1866, died in 1950), who in 1901 was the secretary of a Public Land Company, in 1911 secretary of a Foreign Railway Company and in 1939 a “director and secretary of public companies”. In 1891 he was a banker’s clerk living at 21 Maitland Park Road, St. Pancras, with his Irish born mother Maria. Theresa and Joseph perhaps were married in Spain where their eldest daughter was born?

Theresa was the mother of six well educated children: the eldest son, died in the War, the second son left for India, the eldest daughter became a Carmelite nun, and the final trio of daughters all became high achievers in the “outside” world. In 1901 the family was living at 20 Avenue Villas, Hendon, with Joseph’s mother and four of their children.

In January 1921 Theresa and her husband, and daughter Tess (then a physics demonstrator), sailed first class on the Cunard liner Kaiserine Auguste Victoria from New York to Liverpool. On that trip Joseph had also gone on to Venezuela. They were then living at 149 Walm Lane, Kilburn, London NW. The Liner had been turned over to the allies in 1919 after the Treaty of Versailles and this would have been one of its last voyages under its original grand Imperial German name before being sold to Canadian Pacific, who renamed her the Empress of Scotland. The Liner was scrapped in 1930.

Theresa died on 19th January 1949, pre-deceasing her husband by a year or so, at the time living at 16 Wynnstay Gardens, Kensington.”

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