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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 H72/LAB
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1895-1961
Level of description: Sub fonds
Extent: half box
Name of creator(s): Blake | Louisa Brandreth | Aldrich- | 1865-1925 x Aldrich-Blake


Administrative/Biographical history:

Dame Louisa Brandreth Aldrich-Blake was born in 1865, the daughter of the rector of Chingford. From an early age, she showed a natural gift for healing; when eight years old she organised an animal hospital and friends brought their sick and wounded pets for Louisa's attention. Her family was well-connected and she need not have worked for a living, but she decided to enter the demanding world of medicine. Graduating from the London School of Medicine for Women in 1893, she went on to take the University of London's higher degrees in Medicine and Surgery, becoming the first woman to obtain the degree of Master of Surgery. Throughout her career, Louisa Aldrich-Blake was associated with the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital, becoming surgeon in 1910. At the Royal Free Hospital, she was the first woman to hold the post of surgical registrar and also acted as an anaesthetist. During the years of the First World War, many of the male surgical staff of the Royal Free went on foreign active service and Louisa took increased responsibility for the surgery, becoming consulting surgeon to the hospital. Louisa was a bold, meticulous and very successful surgeon, with great management and diagnostic skill. She was the first in Britain to perform operations for cancer of the cervix and rectum. Louisa Aldrich-Blake became Dean of the London (Royal Free Hospital) School of Medicine for Women in 1914, and exercised an important influence on generations of women medical students. The climax of her career came in 1924 when, in the jubilee year of the medical school, she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. She died in 1925 and is remembered as a brilliant surgeon and wise administrator.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of Louisa Aldrich-Blake including photographs, mostly from her time as Dean, and material relating to her funeral and memorial statue in Tavistock Square Gardens, London.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Funeral and memorial.

Conditions governing access:

These records are available for public inspection, although records containing personal information are subject to access restrictions under the UK Data Protection Act, 1998.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copyright is held by the depositor.

Finding aids:

Please see online catalogues at:

Archival Information

Archival history:

The records were transferred along with the Royal Free Hospital and associated collections from the Royal Free Hospital Archives Centre to London Metropolitan Archives in 2013.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Deposited in December 2013.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Added May 2014.

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