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Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Research Notes

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Note: Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, the daughter of Newson Garrett and Louise Dunnell, was born in Whitechapel, London in 1836. Elizabeth was one of twelve children and when she was a child her father ran a pawnbroker's shop in London.
In 1841 Newson Garrett purchased a corn and coal warehouse in Aldeburgh in Suffolk. The business was a great success and by 1850 Garrett was a rich man. Newson and Louise Garrett were now in a position to send their children to boarding-schools.
After two years at a school in Blackheath, Elizabeth was expected to stay in the family home until she found a man to marry. However, Elizabeth was more interested in obtaining employment. While visiting a friend in London in 1854, Elizabeth met Emily Davies, a young women with strong opinions about women's rights. Emily Davies introduced Elizabeth to other young feminists living in London.
In 1859 Elizabeth Garrett met Elizabeth Blackwell, America's first woman doctor. Elizabeth decided she also wanted a career in medicine. Her parents were initially hostile to the idea but eventually her father agreed to support her attempts to become Britain's first woman doctor.
Elizabeth tried to study in several medical schools but they all refused to accept a woman student. Elizabeth therefore became a nurse at Middlesex Hospital and attended lectures that were provided for the male doctors. After complaints from male students Elizabeth was forbidden entry to the lecture hall.
Elizabeth discovered that the Society of Apothecaries did not specify that females were banned for taking their examinations. In 1865 Elizabeth Garrett sat and passed the Society of Apothecaries examination. As soon as Elizabeth was granted the certificate that enabled her to become a doctor, the Society of Apothecaries changed their regulations to stop other women from entering the profession in this way. With the financial support of her father, Elizabeth Garrett was able to establish a medical practice in London.
Elizabeth Garrett was now a committed feminist and in 1865 she joined with her friends Emily Davies, Dorothea Beale and Francis Mary Buss to form a woman's discussion group called the Kensington Society. The following year the group organised a petition asking Parliament to grant women the vote.
Although Parliament rejected the petition, the women did receive support from Liberals such as John Stuart Mill and Henry Fawcett. Elizabeth became friendly with Fawcett, the blind MP for Brighton, but she rejected his marriage proposal, as she believed it would damage her career. Henry Fawcett later married her younger sister Millicent Garrett.
In 1866 Elizabeth she established a dispensary for women in London (later renamed the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital) and four years later was appointed a visiting physician to the East London Hospital.
Elizabeth was determined to obtain a medical degree and after learning French, went to the University of Paris where she sat and passed the required examinations. However, the British Medical Register refused to recognise her MD degree.
In 1866 Elizabeth became involved in a dispute with Josephine Butler over the Contagious Diseases Acts. Josephine believed these acts discriminated against women and felt that all feminists should support their abolition. Elizabeth Garrett took the view that the measures provided the only means of protecting innocent women and children
The Education Act of 1870 allowed women to vote and serve on School Boards. Elizabeth Garrett stood in London and won more votes than any other candidate. The following year she married James Anderson, a successful businessman and the financial adviser to the East London Hospital.
Like other feminists at the time, Elizabeth Garrett retained her own surname. Although James Anderson supported Elizabeth's desire to continue as a doctor the couple became involved in a dispute when he tried to insist that he should take control of her earnings.
Elizabeth had three children, Louisa, Margaret who died of meningitis, and Alan. This did not stop her continuing her medical career and in 1872 she opened the New Hospital for Women in London, a hospital that was staffed entirely by women.
Elizabeth Garrett Anderson also joined with Sophia Jex-Blake to establish a London Medical School for Women. Sophia Jex-Blake expected to put in charge but Elizabeth believed that her temperament made her unsuitable for the task and arranged for Isabel Thorne to be appointed instead. In 1883 Elizabeth Garrett Dean was elected Dean of the London School of Medicine. Sophia Jex-Blake was the only member of the council who voted against this decision.
In 1902 Elizabeth retired to Aldeburgh. Elizabeth continued her interest in politics and in 1908 she was elected mayor of Aldeburgh - the first woman mayor in England. When Elizabeth was seventy-two, she became a member of the militant Women's Social and Political Union. In 1908 was lucky not to be arrested after she joined with other members of the WSPU to storm the House of Commons. However, Elizabeth left the WSPU's in 1911 as she objected to their arson campaign. Her daughter Louisa remained in the WSPU and in 1912 was sent to prison for her militant activities. Elizabeth Garrett Anderson died in 1917.
Two of Elizabeth's sisters also achieved national fame. Millicent Garrett Fawcett was the leader of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies and Agnes Fawcett was a famous furniture designer.[1]
Quality or Certainty of Data: 3


Occupation: Mayor of Aldburgh. The first woman in Britain to be so elected.
Date: 1908
Occupation: Britain's first woman Doctor.
Date: 1865


Date: 03 JUL 1836
Place: St George in the East, Stepney, London, Middlesex, England[2]
Quality or Certainty of Data: 2


Husband: James Gordon Skelton Anderson
Wife: Elizabeth Garrett
Child: Louisa G Anderson
Child: Alan G Anderson
Date: 09 FEB 1871
Place: London, Middlesex, England[3]
Quality or Certainty of Data: 2
Date: 03 APR 1881
Place: 4 Upper Berkley Street, St Marylebone, London, Middlesex, England
Note: James G. S. ANDERSON; Head; married; aged 43; Ship Owner And Insurance Broker; born Scotland
Elizabeth G. ANDERSON; Wife; married; aged 44; Physician M D Paris L S A London; born London, Middlesex
Louisa G. ANDERSON; Daur; aged 7; born London, Middlesex
Alan G. ANDERSON; Son; aged 4; born London, Middlesex
Honora GIRLING; Servant; Widow; aged 68; Cook Domestic ; born London, Middlesex
Helen LORIMER; Servant; single; aged 32; Nurse Domestic; born Scotland
Louisa FRANCES; Servant; single; aged 31; Maid Domestic; born Thondon, Suffolk
Jane IRONSIDE; Servant; single; aged 34; Housemaid Domestic; born Scotland
Catherine IRONSIDE Servant; single; aged 28; Housemaid Domestic; born Scotland
Isabella WARD; Servant; single; aged 19; Un Nurse Domestic; born Aldeburgh, Suffolk[4]
Quality or Certainty of Data: 3
Date: 05 APR 1891
Place: 4 Upper Berkley Street, St Marylebone, London, Middlesex, England
Note: James G S Anderson; head; married; aged 53; Ship & Insurance Broker; born Scotland
Elizabeth G Anderson; wife; married; aged 54; physician (red'd surgeon); born London
Alan G Anderson; son; aged 14; scholar; born London
Louisa Francis; servant; single; aged 41; Kitchenmaid (Domestic); born Thorndon, Suffolk
Mary A Dunbar; servant; single; aged 28; Housemaid (Domestic); born Scotland
Catherine Downey; servant; single; aged 25; cook (Domestic); born London[5]
Quality or Certainty of Data: 3
Husband: Newson Garrett
Wife: Louisa Dunnell
Child: Louisa Maria Garrett
Child: Elizabeth Garrett
Child: Dunnell Newson Garrett
Child: Newson Dunnell Garrett
Child: Edmund Garrett
Child: Alice Garrett
Child: Agnes Garrett
Child: Millicent Garrett
Child: Sam Garrett
Child: Josephine Helen Garrett
Child: George Herbert Garrett
Date: 05 APR 1834
Place: St Mary Bryanston Square, London, Middlesex, England
Note: Newson Garrett of St Mary Islington & Louisa Dunnell a minor with consent of John Dunnell the father.
Wit: John Dunnell, Thomas Dunnell, Jno Williams & Mary Ann Gayford[6]
Quality or Certainty of Data: 3
Date: 03 APR 1881
Place: Alde House, Aldeburgh, Suffolk, England
Note: Newson Garret; Head; Married; aged 68; Bailiff Magistrate And Corn Merchant; born Leiston, Suffolk
Louisa Garrett; Wife; Married; aged 67; born London, Middlesex
Annie Palmer; Serv; Single; aged 25; Cook Domestic Servant; born Croydon, Surrey
Harriet Smith; Serv; single; aged 23; Parlourmaid Domestic Servant; born Knodishall, Suffolk
Matilda Lambert; Serv; single; aged 18; Parlourmaid Domestic Servant; born Snape, Suffolk
Elizabeth Culham; Serv; single; aged 26; Scullerymaid Domestic Servant ; born Iken, Suffolk[7]
Quality or Certainty of Data: 3
Date: 05 APR 1891
Place: Alde House, Aldeburgh, Suffolk, England
Note: Newson Garrett; head; married; aged 78; Retired Malster JP for Suffolk; born Leiston, Suffolk
Louisa Gerrett; wife; married; aged 77; born London City
Ruby Constance Garrett; Grand daughter; single; aged 21; Secretary to head of family; Agra, India (British Subject)
Philip Herbert Cowell; Visitor; single; aged 20; Undergraduate at Cambridge; born Calcutta, India (British Subject)
Ellen Woolcott; servant; single; aged 26; cook domestic servant; born North Curry, Somerset
Mary Ann Leek; servant; single; aged 16; kitchen maid domestic servant; born Snape, Suffolk
Phyllis Havers; servant; single; aged 22; Parlour Maid domestic servant; born Eye, Suffolk
Alice Ferm; servant; single; aged 19; house maid domestic servant; born Kelsale, Suffolk
Arthur N B Garrett; grandson; single; aged 23; cheif clerk Alliance Insurance office; born Caunpore, India (British Subject)[8]
Quality or Certainty of Data: 3
Date: 07 APR 1861
Place: Aldeburgh, Suffolk, England
Note: Newson Garrett; head; married; aged 48; merchant & maltster; born Leiston, Suffolk
Louisa Garrett; wife; married; aged 48; born Middlesex, London
Samuel Garrett; son; aged 10; scholar; born Aldeburgh, Suffolk
Josephine Garrett; daur; aged 8; scholar; born Aldeburgh, Suffolk
George Garrett; son; aged 6; scholar; born Aldeburgh, Suffolk
Adam Smith; Grandson; aged 1; born London, Middlesex
Charlotte Bell; visitor; single; aged 48; visitor; born St John's, Norfolk
Charlotte Driver; servant; single; aged 25; Cook; born Rendlesham, Suffolk
Susan French; servant; single; aged 28; Housemaid; born Otford, Suffolk
Pheba Tosell; servant; single; aged 24; housemaid; born Darsham, Suffolk
James Kinghts; servant; single; aged 16; Foot Boy; born Snape, Suffolk
Amelia Edgeworth; Governess; single; aged 61; Governess; born London, Middlesex[9]
Quality or Certainty of Data: 3

Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Research Notes

  • Baptisms (PR) England. Stepney, London. 3 July 1836 (b. 9 June 1836). GARRETT, Elizabeth. Film no. 578791. familysearch : accessed 25 July 2018.
    • Venue: St George in the East
    • Parents: Newson Garrett and Louisa
  • "British Newspaper Archive, Family Notices," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QPCJ-KS73 : 17 April 2019), Elizabeth Garrett in entry for James George Skelton Anderson, Dundee, Forfarshire, Scotland, United Kingdom; records extracted FamilySearch and images digitized by FindMyPast; citing Dundee, Forfarshire, Scotland, United Kingdom, 13 Feb 1871, The British Newspaper Archive, Ireland; FHL microfilm .
    • Father's name: Newson Garrett Esq.
    • Newspaper: Dundee Courier and Daily Argus

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