- Edinburgh Seven
The Edinburgh Seven were the first group of women medical students at a university in the United Kingdom. [
Elizabeth Garrett Andersonhad studied alone a few years earlier.] They fought to study medicine at Edinburgh University, in Scotland, and to be allowed to graduate. In 1869 they were allowed to attend specially-arranged classes, but in 1873 they lost a legal challenge against the University after it had decided they could not be awarded degrees. The group may also be called Septem contra Edinam (Seven against Edinburgh).
Although university education for British women was barely possible in 1869, [ There were a few limited opportunities for British women to study at university level but they were not granted degrees. In 1878 the University of London was the first UK university to offer women the chance of a degree. [http://www.london.ac.uk/history.html History of the University of London.] ]
Sophia Jex-Blakewas granted permission to attend lectures at the Edinburgh medical school. At first, the university's governing body upheld this decision by the Dean of the Medical Faculty, but there was strong opposition, and it was later decided that there could be neither mixed classes nor individual tuition "in the interest of one lady". [Scottish Law Reporter 27 June 1873] Jex-Blake advertised for women to join her, realising they would have to fund their own segregated tuition. The first four to respond were:
* Matilda Chaplin
* Helen Evans
Thorne and Chaplin had already studied
midwiferyin London, while Pechey had tried to qualify with the Society of Apothecaries, but been thwarted. The five were allowed to matriculateat Edinburgh in October 1869 and begin their studies.
They soon became seven with the arrival of:
* Mary Anderson
* Emily Bovell
Doctors, professors and the public had strong feelings about the women's medical education, about whether they should be allowed practical experience in
Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, and whether they should be eligible for degrees. The debate spilled over from the pages of " The Times" and " The Scotsman" onto the streets one November afternoon in 1870. A crowd of hundreds gathered near Surgeons' Hallwhere the women were to take an anatomyexamination. They were heckled and had rubbish thrown at them, but Jex-Blake refused to slip away afterwards by a side door. This incident has become known as the "Surgeons' Hall Riot". Later, the Sheriff fined three "disorderly" students £1 each for "breach of the peace". [The Scotsman 23 Nov 1870] Jex-Blake said the young men had been encouraged by a teaching assistant, but lost when he suedher for defamation.
Other women had joined their classes, some doctors had taught them gladly, and supporters had formed a General Committee for Securing a Complete Medical Education for Women. Yet in the end they lost the battle to graduate. In 1873 the
Court of Sessionsupported the University's right to refuse the women degrees. They also ruled, by a majority, that the women should not have been admitted in the first place. This defeat and their other struggles motivated most of them to continue, not only for personal reasons, but as part of a wider cause.
Sophia Jex-Blakesoon moved to London to campaign there. She was active in establishing the London School of Medicine for Women, which opened in autumn 1874 with twelve of its fourteen students having previously studied in Edinburgh. Six of the original "Seven" attended the School. Isabel Thorne was an asset to its smooth running since she was more diplomatic than Jex-Blake. She became the honorary secretary of the School, but gave up her own plan to practise as a doctor.
Five of the original seven - Bovell, Chaplin, Jex-Blake, Marshall, Pechey - were granted MDs abroad in the later 1870s, either in
Bernor Paris. In 1876 new legislation enabled, but did not compel, examining bodies to treat candidates of both sexes equally. The Irish College of Physicians was the first to start granting medical practice licences to women: an opportunity for four of the newly-qualified women.
In 1878 Jex-Blake returned to Edinburgh and set up in the New Town as the city's first woman doctor. She also established a clinic for poor patients which was the forerunner of
Bruntsfield Hospital. Once Scotland started licensing women doctors, Jex-Blake helped found the Edinburgh School of Medicine for Women, with clinical practice taking place at Leith Hospital. Edith Pechey practised in Leedsbefore becoming senior medical officer at the new Cama women and children's hospital in Bombay(now Mumbai). Bovell and Marshall worked at the New Hospital for Womenin London. Chaplin founded a midwifery school in Tokyo, but later returned to private practice in London.
Edinburgh University and the other Scottish universities eventually admitted women undergraduates in 1892 after the Universities (Scotland) Act of 1889 established a legal framework for this. All classes were
co-educational except for medical classes.
Charles Reade's novel, "A Woman-Hater" (1877), Rhoda Gould tells the story of the Edinburgh Seven in some detail, as if she had been one of them: "We were seven ladies, who wished to be doctresses, especially devoted to our own sex . . .". While the 'woman-hating' character of Vizard has to be persuaded of Rhoda's potential to do good, Reade's own attitude is sympathetic: " . . . it matters greatly to mankind whether the whole race of women are to be allowed to study medicine and practice it".
* Elston, M.A. "The Edinburgh Seven" in "The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography "(2006)
* Roberts, S. "Sophia Jex-Blake: a woman pioneer in nineteenth century medical reform" (1993)
* [http://www.rcpe.ac.uk/library/history/reprints/RMS-medical-women.pdf Ross, Margaret "The Royal Medical Society and Medical Women"]
* [http://archive.scotsman.com/timeline.cfm "The Scotsman" archives]
* "The Female Students at Surgeons' Hall" in "The Scotsman" (23 Nov 1870)
* "Scottish Law Reporter" (1873)
* [http://www.digitalpixels.org/jr/cr/woman/womandx.html Charles Reade, "A Woman-Hater" (1877), Chapter XIII]
Edinburgh Association for the University Education of Women
* [http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/jfec/cal/women/rendell/text/79iia.htm "The Edinburgh Medical Students" in the "Englishwoman's Review" (1871)]
* [http://www.ukchnm.org/seminars01.html Comparison of Jex-Blake and Florence Nightingale, from Centre for the History of Nursing and Midwifery]
* [http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/Wcareer.htm "Let me conclude that all women who wish to study medicine join the class already formed in Edinburgh . . ."]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Edinburgh Association for the University Education of Women — The Edinburgh Association for the University Education of Women (EAUEW), originally known as the Edinburgh Ladies Educational Association (ELEA), campaigned for higher education for women from 1867 until 1892 when Scottish universities started to … Wikipedia
Edinburgh of the Seven Seas — Edinburgh of the Seven Seas … Deutsch Wikipedia
Edinburgh — EDINBURGH, a city, the seat of a university, and the metropolis of the kingdom of Scotland, situated in longitude 3° 10 30 (W.), and latitude 55° 57 29 (N.), about a mile (S. by W.) from Leith, 40 miles (S.S.W.) from Dundee, 42 (E. by N.) from … A Topographical dictionary of Scotland
Edinburgh — • Derives its name from the time (about A.D. 620) when the fortress of Edwin s burgh was raised on a lofty spur of the Pentland Hills, overlooking the Firth of Forth, and established the Anglian dominion in the northern part of the Northumbrian… … Catholic encyclopedia
Edinburgh Of The Seven Seas — (Édimbourg des sept mers) est l unique ville de l île Tristan Da Cunha, qui compte environ 295 habitants. Localement, elle est appelée de son nom originel, The Settlement (la colonie). The Settlement est fondé en 1815. Elle est le site d une… … Wikipédia en Français
Edinburgh of the seven seas — (Édimbourg des sept mers) est l unique ville de l île Tristan Da Cunha, qui compte environ 295 habitants. Localement, elle est appelée de son nom originel, The Settlement (la colonie). The Settlement est fondé en 1815. Elle est le site d une… … Wikipédia en Français
Edinburgh town walls — Edinburgh, Scotland The Flodden Tower, with the Telfer Wall on the right, and Ed … Wikipedia
Edinburgh Monarchs — Club information Track address Armadale Stadium Bathgate Road Armadale West Lothian Country … Wikipedia
Edinburgh (Begriffsklärung) — Edinburgh bezeichnet mehrere Orte: Edinburgh in Schottland Edinburgh (Indiana), USA Edinburg (Missouri) Edinburg (Texas) Edinburgh of the Seven Seas auf Tristan da Cunha Akani, bis 2005 Edinburgh den Berg Edinburgh Peak (910 m) auf der Gough … Deutsch Wikipedia
Edinburgh 50,000 - The Final Push — was part of the series of Live 8 concerts held around the world designed to encourage the leaders congregating at the G8 meeting to consider the plight of those in absolute poverty (see Make Poverty History). Held on 6 July 2005, four days after… … Wikipedia