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Louisa Garrett Anderson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Louisa Garrett Anderson
Louisa Anderson.jpg
Born(1873-07-28)28 July 1873
Aldeburgh, Suffolk, England
Died15 November 1943(1943-11-15) (aged 70)
EducationSt Leonards School
London School of Medicine for Women
Known forMilitary hospitals
Campaigning for women's rights and social reform
RelativesFlora Murray (partner)
Elizabeth Garrett Anderson (mother)
Alan Garrett Anderson (brother)
Millicent Fawcett (maternal aunt)
Medical career

Dr. Louisa Garrett Anderson, CBE (28 July 1873 – 15 November 1943) was a medical pioneer, a member of the Women's Social and Political Union, a suffragette, and social reformer. She was the daughter of the founding medical pioneer Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, whom she wrote a biography of in 1939. Louisa was the Chief Surgeon of the Women's Hospital Corps (WHC) and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine. Her aunt, Dame Millicent Fawcett, was a British suffragist. Louisa never married.

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  • ✪ Endell Street Military Hospital: A Suffragette story
  • ✪ Marvellous Medicine - Elizabeth Garrett Anderson
  • ✪ It's a Man's World - Cannonball 20th Anniversary Concert - Gerald Albright


On the 13th of August 1914, nine days after war was declared, Emmeline Pankhurst announced the suspension of the Women's Social and Political Union's campaign for the vote. The WSPU was the most militant of the groups, seeking to extend the franchise in the years before the war. It's also the most well known. Many members were arrested and from 1909 began the hunger strikes that would mark many of the woman's faces and bodies for years to come. What happened to the commitment and determination of these women when the campaign was suspended? How did they meet the announcement of war in Europe? We're here in Endell Street in Central London to find out through a focus on two amazing women, Louisa Garret Anderson and Flora Marie. They were doctors, they had been WSPU members, they had first-hand experience of prison and its impact, and they changed the face of hospital care for men during the First World War, without sacrificing their ideals. I'm Sarah Haslam at the Open University and I've been working on their story for some time when I came across the digital dramas film about Endell Street. Who were Louisa Garret Anderson and Flora Murray and how did they shape the story of the suffrage campaign? Doctor Louisa Garrett Anderson was the pioneering medic Elizabeth Garrett Anderson's daughter, and was also deeply committed to the campaign for women's suffrage. Doctor Flora Murray was honorary physician to the WSPU. Murray and Garret Anderson were close friends and they had founded a Women's Hospital for Children in London in 1912. On the declaration of war, they knew exactly what they wanted to do, they wanted to open their own hospital to treat men injured at the front. They went to the French Embassy to offer their services, as they knew the British war office would brush them off. The French Red Cross wrote to the women on the 22nd of August 1914 in profound gratitude for their offer, which was accepted. Having raised significant funds they left for Paris as the Women's Hospital Corps. On the 22nd of September, Louisa wrote to her mother from their new hospital's base, Claridge's Hotel on the Champs-Élysées. In a week they had transformed the gorgeous shell of marble and gilts into a hospital of a hundred beds, she said. And the women had already performed a number of operations on wounded soldiers, testing and expanding their surgery skills under great pressure. Staff at the British war office may have been prejudiced but they were not stupid. The success in France spoke volumes, the women were asked by the Royal Army Medical Corps' Director General, Sir Alfred Keogh, to move back to London and open a hospital there. The War Office would pay for the renovations for the old St Giles Union Workhouse in Covent Garden. Near the major railway stations, it would be one of the first new hospitals in London to receive the war wounded, and the 15 doctors would be women, the stretch of areas and orderlies would be women, the library would be run by women. Garret Anderson would be Chief Surgeon with Flora Murray the doctor in charge. The hospital opened in May 1915 and had more than 500 beds by 1916. The newspapers were as full of the story as the men, who were taken out of ambulances by the first women stretcher bearers. In 1918, when The Representation of the People Act was passed, there were celebrations at Endell Street and the bunting went up. A year later, the hospital was closed and these exceptional, skilled women lost their jobs. Their legacy is one to value, we hope we've Illustrated why and how today. Get more from the Open University. Check out the links on screen now.


Early life and education

She was one of the three children of James George Skelton Anderson of the Orient Steamship Company co-owned by his uncle Arthur Anderson, and Elizabeth Garrett Anderson who was the first woman to qualify as a doctor, co-founder of the London School of Medicine for Women and Britain's first elected woman Mayor (of Aldeburgh).

She was educated at St Leonards School in St. Andrews, Fife and at the London School of Medicine for Women located at the Royal Free Hospital, where she worked as a doctor in private practice and hospitals.

Suffragette activity

Elizabeth Garrett Anderson and Louisa Garrett Anderson, Alfred Caldecott and another in 1910 on the day they went to see the Prime Minister
Elizabeth Garrett Anderson and Louisa Garrett Anderson, Alfred Caldecott and another in 1910 on the day they went to see the Prime Minister

In 1910 she made up a deputation with her mother Elizabeth Garrett Anderson and Alfred Caldecott who were allowed to put forward the case, for women to have the vote, to the Prime Minister. In 1912, she was imprisoned in Holloway, briefly, for her suffragette activities which included breaking a window by throwing a brick.

Medicine – WW1

In the First World War she served in France with the Women's Hospital Corps. Along with her friend and colleague Dr. Flora Murray, she established military hospitals for the French Army in Paris and Wimereux. Their proposals were at first rejected by the British authorities, but eventually the WHC became established at the military hospital, Endell Street Military Hospital, Holborn, London staffed entirely by women, from chief surgeon to orderlies.[citation needed] She wrote many medical articles.


She is buried at the Holy Trinity Church with her partner and colleague, Dr. Flora Murray near to their home in Penn, Buckinghamshire. The inscription on her grave stone reads "Louisa Garrett Anderson, C.B.E., M.D., Chief Surgeon Women's Hospital Corps 1914–1919. Daughter of James George Skelton Anderson and Elizabeth Garrett Anderson of Aldeburgh, Suffolk. Born 28th. July 1873, died November 15. 1943. We have been gloriously happy."[1]


The archives of Louisa Garrett Anderson are held at The Women's Library at the Library of the London School of Economics, ref 7LGA.

Posthumous recognition

Her name and picture (and those of 58 other women's suffrage supporters) are on the plinth of the statue of Millicent Fawcett in Parliament Square, London, unveiled in 2018.[2][3][4]

See also


  1. ^ Iain MacFarlaine (21 June 2002). "Louisa Garret Anderson". Medical Pioneer, Social Reformer. Find a Grave. Retrieved 17 August 2011.
  2. ^ "Historic statue of suffragist leader Millicent Fawcett unveiled in Parliament Square". 24 April 2018. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  3. ^ Topping, Alexandra (24 April 2018). "First statue of a woman in Parliament Square unveiled". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 April 2018.
  4. ^ "Millicent Fawcett statue unveiling: the women and men whose names will be on the plinth". iNews. Retrieved 2018-04-25.

Other sources

External links

This page was last edited on 6 January 2019, at 20:06
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