London School of Medicine for Women

Photograph of the London (Royal Free Hospital) School of Medicine for Women, Hunter Street, London.

The London School of Medicine for Women established in 1874 was the first medical school in Britain to train women as doctors.[1]


The school was formed by an association of pioneering women physicians Sophia Jex-Blake, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, Emily Blackwell and Elizabeth Blackwell with Thomas Henry Huxley. The founding was motivated at least in part by Jex-Blake's frustrated attempts at getting a medical degree at a time when women were not admitted to British medical schools. Other women who had studied with Jex-Blake in Edinburgh joined her at the London school, including Isabel Thorne who succeeded her as honorary secretary in 1877. She departed to start a medical practice in Edinburgh where she would found the Edinburgh School of Medicine for Women in 1886.

The UK Medical Act of 1876 (39 and 40 Vict, Ch. 41) was an act which repealed the previous Medical Act in the United Kingdom that allowed the medical authorities to license all qualified applicants irrespective of gender.[2][3] [4] In 1877 an agreement was reached with the Royal Free Hospital that allowed students at the London School of Medicine for Women to complete their clinical studies there. The Royal Free Hospital was the first teaching hospital in London to admit women for training.

Elizabeth Garrett Anderson was Dean (1883-1903) while the school was rebuilt, became part of the University of London and consolidated association with the Royal Free Hospital. In 1896, the School was renamed the London Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine for Women.

In 1894, a well known Indian feminist Dr. Rukhmabai qualified in medicine after attending the London School of Medicine for Women. The number of Indian women students steadily increased so that by 1920 the school, in co-operation with the India Office opened a hostel for female Indian medical students.

In 1998, it merged with the University College Hospital's medical school to form the UCL Medical School.[1]

Notable graduates

See also


  1. 1 2 "UCL Bloomsbury Project - London School of Medicine for Women".
  2. British Medical Journal. British Medical Association. 1908. pp. 1079–.
  3. John A. Wagner Ph.D. (25 February 2014). Voices of Victorian England: Contemporary Accounts of Daily Life. ABC-CLIO. pp. 211–. ISBN 978-0-313-38689-3.
  4. Great Britain. Parliament. House of Commons (1892). Parliamentary Papers, House of Commons and Command. H.M. Stationery Office. pp. 40–.
  5. "Margery Grace Blackie 1898 – 1981". Sue Young Histories. Retrieved 28 March 2015.

External links

Coordinates: 51°31′32″N 0°07′24″W / 51.5256°N 0.1233°W / 51.5256; -0.1233

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