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Mallet [née Udny], Louisa Tempe (1837–1904), women's activist, was born on 15 April 1837 in Calcutta, the daughter of Bengal civil servant George Udny, of Udny in Aberdeenshire, and Frances Hannay. Little else is known of her private life, other than that on 3 March 1859 she married Charles Mallet (b. 1824/5), a civil servant, and in December 1862 she gave birth to a son, Sir Charles Edward Mallet, a Liberal MP and historian.

In the early 1870s Mrs Mallet supported the activities of the sisters Maria Grey and Emily Shirreff to establish a greater number of schools for academically oriented girls, and for a five-year period from 1876 she served on the central committee of the Women's Education Union. The union had two main objectives: firstly, to raise academic standards and to increase provision in the field of secondary education, and secondly, to promote the training and status of women teachers. Mrs Mallet also took a practical interest in the education of the working classes, serving as a manager of the Lisson Grove elementary schools in Marylebone from November 1880. Here the chair of managers was Alice Westlake, an early supporter of Bedford College who was elected on to the London school board in 1876 and, like Louisa Mallet, had connections with the Langham Place circle of feminists and the trade union organizer Emilia Dilke. In 1891 Mrs Mallet stood as a Progressive Party candidate for West Lambeth in the triennial election for the school board, but was narrowly defeated in an election campaign dominated by charges of excessive expenditure from the tory majority. Indeed, her close friend Emma Maitland lost her seat in Marylebone. They shared a concern with the education of girls and women and were active in questions of local government and women's suffrage.

In November 1888 Mrs Mallet helped found the Society for Promoting the Return of Women as County Councillors, with the countess of Aberdeen (president of the executive of the Women's Liberal Federation) as president and Eva McLaren as first honorary treasurer. As joint secretary with Annie Leigh Browne, Louisa supported Jane Cobden in the 1889 election campaign for the London county council and joined the executive of the renamed Women's Local Government Society in 1892. This upper-middle-class, liberal, London-based women's organization was established on a non-party basis for promoting the eligibility of women to elect to and serve on all local governing bodies. Its inner circle included Lady Aberdeen, Annie Leigh Browne, Emma Cons, Emma Maitland, and Eva McLaren. Mrs Mallet defended female involvement in local politics at a number of important meetings in the 1890s, as well as writing articles in the feminist press and producing a campaign leaflet (Shall Women be Eligible to Serve on County Councils?) on behalf of the Women's Local Government Society.

By 1893 Mrs Mallet was a well-known figure in London politics, a Liberal Party worker who served on the executive committee of the Women's Liberal Federation, and president of the Guildford, North Kensington, and Mile End women's Liberal associations. Like Annie Leigh Browne, she was also a member of the Albemarle Club. Louisa Mallet remained on the executive committee of the Women's Local Government Society until 1901. She died at the Hotel Burlington, Boscombe, Bournemouth, on 2 July 1904.

Jane Martin

Sources  

‘Women as county councillors: portraits of the vanguard’, Women's Herald (4 Feb 1893) · Journal of the Women's Education Union (1876–81) · Women's Penny Paper (29 Dec 1888) · Women's Penny Paper (June 1890) · School Board Chronicle: an Educational Record and Review (17 Oct 1891) · School Board Chronicle: an Educational Record and Review (31 Oct 1891) · School Board Chronicle: an Educational Record and Review (21 Nov 1891) · School Board Chronicle: an Educational Record and Review (5 Dec 1891) · Women's Local Government Society, minute book one, Nov 1888–15 April 1889, LMA · Women's Local Government Society, reports, 1892–1901, LMA · School Board for London, minutes, 18 Nov 1880, 804 · m. cert. · d. cert. · BL OIOC, N/1/47, fol. 84 · The Post Office directory (1880); (1895) · Walford, County families (1919) · Burke, Peerage

Archives  

LMA, Women's Local Government Society MSS · Royal Holloway College, Egham, Surrey, Bedford College MSS


Likenesses  

photograph, 1893, repro. in ‘Women as county councillors’

Wealth at death  

£722 8s. 10d.: probate, 12 Aug 1904, CGPLA Eng. & Wales