Tech’s first female entrepreneur – from making her millions to Alan Turing

Tech’s first female entrepreneur – from making her millions to Alan Turing



A Virtual Talk by Mary Monro

The British Tabulating Machine Company is a British legend – famously furnishing Bletchley Park with more than 200 Bombes to crack complex German military message codes during WW2. Irish information-services pioneer Dora Metcalf was one of those behind that legend: she created BTM’s successful Service Bureaux Division and is believed to have managed the contract for Bletchley, known as Bureau B, ensuring Bombes were made and staffed.

But little is known about Dora – until now.

Join biographer and great niece Mary Monro on June 17 at 6.30pm to discover how tech’s first female entrepreneur found herself on the business-end of British government IT – and the Turing-Welchman Bombe.

Mary will take you from Ireland to Bletchley Park, from the first commercialisation of information technology to the industrialisation of wartime decryption.

She will discuss:

Dora’s journey from mechanical calculator salesperson to setting up Ireland’s first computer services firm

How successful delivery of large and prestigious IT services contracts turned Dora into a millionaire

Dora’s role running computing services for major sections of the pre-War British government

The evidence that suggests Dora ran the Bletchley’s Bombe contract and the challenges she faced, such as battles with officials for critical raw materials.

The toll work took on her health – and the corporate politics that ensured Dora didn’t receive the recognition she deserved.

Mary will draw on her research based on sources that include Dora’s diaries and records from The National Archives.

The event is finished.


Jun 17 2021


1:30 pm - 2:30 pm

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