Elizabeth Garrett Anderson

Elizabeth Garrett Anderson was the first English woman to qualify as a doctor.

Who is Elizabeth Garrett Anderson and what is her connection to UCL?

Elizabeth Garrett Anderson was born in East London in 1836. At the age of 18 she met suffragist Emily Davies, who became a lifelong friend and supporter of Garrett Anderson’s career. In 1859, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson joined the Society for Promoting the Employment of Women, through which she met with Elizabeth Blackwell, the first female doctor in the USA, and was inspired to take up the cause of women in medicine. She became the first woman to qualify as a doctor in Britain in 1865 and, in 1874, co-founded the London School of Medicine for Women, which later became part of UCL.

What is inspiring about Elizabeth Garrett Anderson?

Elizabeth Garrett Anderson faced many difficulties in becoming a doctor in the 19th century. She was refused admission to medical schools in Edinburgh, St Andrews and London, but following a brief period at Middlesex Hospital and private tutelage, she obtained the licence of the Society of Apothecaries in 1865 and had her name entered on the medical register. In 1970 she went on to become the first women to obtain a medical degree from the University of Paris and in 1873, was the first women to join the British Medical Association.

What is her legacy?

As a lecturer at and later dean of the London School of Medicine for Women, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson played a pivotal role in supporting and promoting women in the study of medicine, offering valuable opportunities at the New Hospital for Women that she established in 1871. The hospital was later renamed in her honour and since 2008 has been the University College Hospital Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Wing, for maternity and neonatal services.