Royal Free medical pioneer to appear on Scottish banknote

Dodd, Francis; Dr Flora Murray (1869-1923); Royal Free Hospital; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/dr-fl

Dr Flora Murray (1869-1923) who trained at the Royal Free Hospital, where her portrait now hangs - Credit: Francis Dodd

A medical pioneer and suffragette who trained as a doctor at the Royal Free Hospital has been chosen to feature on a new banknote.

Dr Flora Murray CBE will appear on the Bank of Scotland's £100 polymer note when it enters circulation on May 9.

Caroline Clarke, chief executive of the Royal Free London (RFL) NHS Foundation Trust, said RFL was the first institution in Britain to train women in medicine.

"We’re immensely proud that the Bank of Scotland and the Royal Free Charity have worked together to give Flora her rightful place in the pantheon of British medical history," she said.

Born in Dumfries, Dr Murray trained at the RFH  School of Medicine for Women.

She qualified as a doctor in 1905 and worked as a medical officer and anaesthetist.

In 1912, with her lifelong partner Dr Louisa Garrett Anderson, she founded the Women’s Hospital for Children, in Harrow Road, to provide healthcare for working class children.

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A member of the Women’s Social and Political Union, she supported suffragettes recovering from hunger strikes and injuries acquired during protests.

With the onset of World War I in 1914, the two doctors founded the Women’s Hospital Corps and opened two military hospitals in France, staffed entirely by suffragettes.

After an invitation from the British war office, the two women set up the Endell Street Military Hospital, in Covent Garden, the first female-staffed hospital in the UK for returning soldiers.

The hospital treated more than 26,000 seriously injured soldiers.

In 1917, they were made CBEs for their work and medical efforts during the war.

A portrait of Dr Murray, painted by Francis Dodd in 1921, is on the reverse of the banknote which includes an image of female stretcher bearers outside Endell Street Hospital.

Ms Clark added: "Almost a century since her death, Flora’s story is a reminder of the huge debt of gratitude we owe to those early agitators who refused to accept the limitations imposed by a society that didn’t believe women could or should be doctors, physicians and surgeons.

“Then and now, we embrace the pioneers, the innovators, and the game-changers.”

Philip Grant, chairman of the Scottish executive committee, Bank of Scotland, said the bank is "proud" to commemorate "the remarkable work of Dr Flora Murray who, alongside being a medical pioneer, spent her adult life fighting for women’s rights as a suffragette”.