Flora Murray

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Flora Murray
photograph of Flora Murray in 1914
Flora Murray in 1914
Born (1869-05-08)8 May 1869
Dumfries, Scotland
Died 28 July 1923(1923-07-28) (aged 54)
Hampstead, London, England
Cause of death complications from surgery for bowel cancer
Nationality Scottish
Education London School of Medicine for Women
Durham University
Occupation physician
Known for suffragette

Flora Murray CBE (8 May 1869 – 28 July 1923)[1] was a Scottish medical pioneer, and a member of the Women's Social and Political Union suffragettes.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Murray was born on 8 May 1869 at Murraythwaite, Dumfries, Scotland, the daughter of Grace Harriet (née Graham) and John Murray, a landowner and Royal Navy captain.[3] She attended school in Germany and London before going on to study to be a doctor at the London School of Medicine for Women. She completed her medical education at Durham University, receiving her MB BSc in 1903, and MD in 1905. She received a Diploma in Public Health from the University of Cambridge in 1906.[4] She worked initially in Scotland before returning to London.

Medical career[edit]

In 1905 Murray was a medical officer at the Belgrave Hospital for Children and then an anaesthetist at the Chelsea Hospital for Women. In 1905 The Lancet published an article that she authored on the use of anaesthetic in children, titled Ethyl chloride as an anaesthetic for children.[5]


She joined the Women's Social and Political Union in 1908, and acted as physician to the militants. She spoke at meetings and rallies, marched in processions, provided first aid at suffragette demonstrations, and looked after Emmeline Pankhurst and other hunger-strikers after their release from prison. She campaigned with other doctors against the forcible feeding of prisoners.[6]

Women's Hospital for Children[edit]

Dr Flora Murray discharges patients, Endell Street c. 1915

In 1912 she founded the Women's Hospital for Children at 688 Harrow Road with Louisa Garrett Anderson. It provided both health care for working-class children of the area, and gave women doctors their only opportunity to gain clinical experience in paediatrics in London; the hospital's motto was Deeds not Words.[6]


In the First World War she served in France with the Women's Hospital Corps (WHC). Along with her friend and colleague Dr Louisa Garrett Anderson, she established military hospitals for the French Army in Paris and Wimereux. Their proposals were at first rejected by the British authorities, but eventually the WHC became established at the military hospital, Endell Street Military Hospital, Holborn, London staffed entirely by women, from chief surgeon to orderlies. Their motto Deeds not Words was used for the second time.


She is buried at the Holy Trinity Church beside her friend and colleague, Dr Louisa Garrett Anderson near to their home in Penn, Buckinghamshire. Garrett's tombstone reads "We have been gloriously happy".

See also[edit]


External links[edit]