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Louisa Aldrich-Blake

( 1865 - 1925 )

Surgeon

Dame Louisa Aldrich-Blake was a pioneering physician and surgeon, and was the first woman in Britain to be awarded the degree of Master of Surgery.

Read more in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
Louisa Aldrich-Blake

Louisa Brandreth Aldrich-Blake, by Bassano Ltd, whole-plate glass negative, 12 February 1925, © National Portrait Gallery, London, CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0

Aldrich-Blake trained at the newly established London School of Medicine for Women from 1887, graduating in 1892 with a first-class degree in medicine and obstetrics. Two years later she obtained her Doctor of Medicine (MD) from London, and it was in 1895 that she became the first woman in Britain to be awarded the degree of Master of Surgery.

Aldrich-Blake held a number of notable positions in medical practice. These included her appointment as the first female anaesthetist at the Royal Free Hospital in 1895, which served as the teaching hospital for the London School of Medicine for Women. 

From 1914 she was appointed Dean of the London School, which had by then become part of the University of London (and later of University College London). Her Deanship saw a doubling of students during the First World War, as increasing numbers of women sought medical training.

Affiliated with

University College London

Subjects studied

  • Medicine