Former London School of Medicine for Women

This school of medicine for women was founded in 1874 by a group of women, led by Sophia Jex-Blake, who had been expelled from Edinburgh University after beginning their medical training. Beginning in a small house in Henrietta Street, (renamed Handel Street in 1888), the school moved to purpose-built premises on the same site at the turn of the century. This handsome neo-Baroque red brick building with a stone classical doorcase survives today.

1897-1900 by JM Brydon
Listed Grade II in 1999

At first, the new students relied on sympathetic male doctors to teach them, and it was three years before the School persuaded the (then nearby) Royal Free Hospital to open its wards to the female students - the first teaching hospital in Britain to do so.

In 1898 the School officially became the London (Royal Free Hospital) School of Medicine  for Women, and it is this name that features above the door of the Hunter Street building.

The School was further enlarged in 1914, when the number of women wishing to study medicine made it necessary to double the number of laboratories and lecture rooms. At this time the school had over 300 students, making it the largest of the women's university colleges in Britain.

The School was noted for its strong links with other countries, beginning in 1890 when the first Indian female student enrolled. Its students also went abroad to help train female doctors in cultures where women could not be seen by male doctors. This part of its mission was encouraged by Queen Victoria, who felt very strongly that all her subjects in the Empire should have access to proper medical treatment.

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