I will be speaking about Dora’s life and work via Zoom at the National Museum of Computing on 17 June at 6.30pm. You can find out more and book a ticket here. The emphasis for this talk is on how her career led to her role in the Second World War, managing the contract for supplying bombes to the Bletchley Park codebreakers.
Then on Thursday 15 July I will be speaking about Dora at the British Society for the History of Mathematics conference, more info here. This talk focuses more on how her mathematical skills were deployed to create the information services industry.
Meanwhile, the anthology in which I have a piece about my journey to Swordlands is due out 15 June, available for pre-order now from 8D Press. It is a limited edition print run of only 500 copies, so grab your numbered copy soon!
I am writing this in the Highlands. The priest at Loch Morar very kindly let me into the Lovat church on the loch, whose round tower must have been so resonant for Dora. I have updated the photos on the St Cumin’s Church page with some images that I took of the church and its gorgeous stained glass. This is the view from the church today:
The blog post about Dora at the Women in Tech and Science Ireland tells how she was the founder of the information services industry in the 1920s. Dora quickly learned that most businessmen and government department managers lacked the vision and mathematical skills to understand how to make full use of the new mechanical calculators and tabulators. She was a mathematician and an entrepreneur and saw the potential for providing services rather than hardware.
I have been contacted by the National Museum of Computing who wanted to hear all about Dora’s role in the computing industry. They are particularly interested in her WW2 history as the museum is adjacent to Bletchley Park and the story of BTM’s struggles to supply the bombe machines and their operators is not well known. We also discussed Dora’s role as a female pioneer in a male dominated world. I have been invited to give a talk about her in June 2021 and this will appear on the NaMoC events page in due course.
This week I’m meeting with colleagues from the British Society for the History of Mathematics to discuss what we are going to present at their online People, Places, Practices Conference in July. The general topic is ‘women in computing’ but we need to be a bit more specific! More news on this when I have further details to share.
I have a short piece in an anthology of Scottish writing coming out this summer. There are 23 Scottish women writers featured altogether, each inspired by the sensual writing of Nan Shepherd. My piece is about my journey to reach Dora’s remote home on the shore of Loch Morar. The anthology is called Lucent and it will be published by 8D Press as a high quality limited edition, a collector’s item!
This website tells the story of my great aunt, Dora Metcalf. She was an amazing pioneer in the information services industry and she was the first female tech entrepreneur. I’ve written a novel based on her life, rather than a biography, as there are unknowns and secrets that leave tantalising blanks in her history. Here though, I have created pages that provide the historical background to her life. Please explore!
At the moment I am seeking a publisher for the novel and I hope to blog about the publishing journey, give readers some exclusive extracts, let you know about upcoming events, share blog posts about Dora from other sites and run some promotions and giveaways. Hit the subscribe button at the foot of the page to make sure you don’t miss out.
So, what news? This week is British Science Week and Dora is being featured on the Women Who Meant Business blog. This is a fantastic site that tells the stories of early businesswomen, creating a FT – She 100. There are some fascinating unsung heroines on there.