Olive Christian Malvery
Creating a biography of Edwardian Britain's pioneering undercover journalist.
Please note, this is a work in progress. If you have any further information, please don't hesitate to get in touch.
1 October 1871*
Olive Christian Malvery born in Lahore to Thomas Barber Malvery and Jessie Malvery, née Anderson.
9 August 1874
Birth of her brother Henry Sinclair Malvery.
19 September 1874
Both Olive and Henry are baptised.
31 December 1895
Father, Thomas Malvery, dies aged 61 from 'excessive drinking.' He was buried in Sewee, Bombay in 3 January 1896.
c. 28 February 1898.
Moved to Britain to study music.
2 March 1898
Passed her entrance exam and enrolled at the Royal College of Music, London.
Introduced by Lady Henry Somerset, among other representative of the different National Women's Christian Temperance Unions, as part of celebrations of the National British Women's Temperance Association’s twenty-third anniversary in London.
4 November 1899
Leaves the Royal College of Music.
Tours at a number of venues with William Y. Hurstone, performing her ‘Indian Pictures’ – story poems introducing songs, alongside music composed by Hurlstone.
Continues to tour around the country, in particular offering her services to the National Temperance League for events raising awareness and funds.
9 February 1903
Mother, Jessie Malvery, remarries at Simla to Benjamin George Faulkner Simmonds.
24 February 1903
Malvery gives a fundraising concert for “The Girl’s Guild of Good Life” based at Hoxton Hall, East London.
4 May 1903
Malvery arranges a further concert-recital to raise funds for “The Girl’s Guild of Good Life”, this time at Grosvenor House and under the patronage of Queen Alexandra.
Impresses audiences at the world's Women's Christian Temperance Union convention in Geneva, resulting in an invitation to the United States.
8 November 1903
Arrives at New York aboard the S.S. Celtic, to speak at the Cincinnati Convention for the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. She spends five months travelling the country.
First public record of her undercover work amongst London's poor. In an interview with London Daily News she argues that poverty in London is worse than that in India. One journalist responds “It is a humiliating thing to hear from a cultured and experienced young Indian woman that London wants missionaries more than India.”
November 1904 - March 1905
The series of articles "The Heart of All Things" detailing her undercover work amongst poor working women of London is published in Pearson's Weekly.
Article "The Alien Question.” is published in Pearson's Magazine.
13 May 1905
Hundreds attend the wedding of Olive Malvery to Archibald Mackirdy, the United States Consul at Muscat, Persia, at St Margaret’s church, Westminster.
26 March 1906
Birth of daughter Flora Mackirdy in Peterborough.
'The Soul Market' published.
First public records of Olive raising funds for night shelter for homeless women and girls in London, supported by Lady Brassey and a committee of influential and well-known figures.
'Baby Toilers' published.
13 November 1907
Birth of second daughter Mary Sinclair Mackirdy in Kesington.
Publishes her first novel The Spectator, the story of a business woman.
8 March 1909
Birth of son John Montgomerie Mackirdy in Sussex.
8 November 1909
Husband Archibald Mackirdy dies from a severe haemorrhage. He is buried at Kensal Green.
Using The Christian Globe as a platform, launches an Industrial Campaign generating public interest and business for firms that were positive examples of working conditions for men and women.
3 November 1911
Her first hostel, The Mackirdy Hostel at 79 Great Titchfield Street, is opened by the Duchess of Albany.
4 March 1913
Her second hostel, The Mackirdy Hostel and Haven for Women and Girls, at 112-124 Harrow Road, Paddington, is opened by Princess Alexander of Teck.
Founds and becomes Editor of the newspaper Mackirdy's Weekly. The paper promotes Women's Suffrage, but is strongly opposed to the militancy of suffragettes and is critical of Christabel Pankhurst.
18 January 1914
Her house and most of her possessions, including an unfinished book, is destroyed in a fire. The international press report this as an act of deliberate arson by a suffragette.
29 October 1914
After suffering from an illness, Olive Malvery dies at her home in Purley, Surrey as a result of overdosing on sedatives.
* Establishing a date of birth has been complicated by Malvery reporting herself as younger on a number of official documents. This has led to her incorrect date of 1877 being given in a number of places, and the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography stating 'No record of her birth has been located.' Her date of birth is given in her Baptism record from India, Select Births and Baptisms, 1786-1947, available through Ancestry.com.
With thanks to the Royal College of Music Library for their assistance confirming the dates of attendance.