Brief Biographical History of Elizabeth Garrett Anderson 

  • 1836  Elizabeth was born in Whitechapel where her father, Newson Garrett, was a pawnbroker.
  • 1840  Her parents returned to the family’s home town of Aldeburgh, Suffolk where her father founded a flourishing business.
  • 1863  On a visit to her sister in London she met Elizabeth Blackwell, who was a practising doctor in America and from that day she had only one aim in life to become a doctor.
  • 1865  Between 1863 and 1865 she tried both at the Middlesex Hospital, London and in Scotland to gain her degree without success – a number of doctors however, in both countries, recognised her dedication and ability and would have been willing for her to join the medical schools.

    Finding a loophole in the Charter of the Society of Apothecaries, she set out to gain the LSA and having passed the exams, immediately started to practice quietly from her home in Upper Berkeley Street, London. (In those days Apothecaries were allowed to practice medicine).
  • 1866  She opened the St Mary’s Dispensary for Women in Marylebone, London, giving the opportunity for the first time, for women to be treated by women, especially the very poor women from the nearby slums that existed around Lisson Grove; at the same time women were given the chance to work in a hospital.
  • 1870  She was appointed visiting doctor to the East London Hospital.
    Still unable to gain her MD in this country she went to the University of Paris (which accepted women) and finally achieved her degree in June 1870.
    Elizabeth married James George Skelton Anderson (in 1878 his company Anderson & Co founded the Orient Line, which later become P&O Lines).
  • 1872  The hospital was renamed the New Hospital for Women when it moved to larger premises on the Marylebone Road. It was formerly opened in 1873 by the Princess of Wales, later to become Queen Alexandra.
  • 1873-1877 Elizabeth had three children; Louisa in 1873 (who followed her mother into medicine), Margaret Skelton in 1874 and Alan Garrett in 1877.
    During this period Elizabeth was Senior Physician at her own hospital for twenty four years, Dean of the London School of Medicine for twenty years, as well as a lecturer and a member of the first London School Board.
  • 1892  Her greatest achievement, however, was in 1892 with the admission of women to the British Medical Association.
  • 1908  Elizabeth became the first woman mayor in this country for her home town of Aldeburgh and at the age of seventy four years was elected for a second term of office.
  • 1917  On the 17th December of this year, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson died at Aldeburgh, aged eighty one.


The same year, the hospital in Euston Road, London, was renamed The Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital.