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Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0074 H72/SJB
Held at: London Metropolitan Archives
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Date(s): 1886-2001
Level of description: Sub fonds
Extent: half box
Name of creator(s): Blake | Sophia | Jex- | 1840-1912 x Jex-Blake


Administrative/Biographical history:

Sophia Jex-Blake was born in Hastings in 1840, and educated at Queen's College in London. After meeting Dr Lucy Sewell at the New England Hospital for Women, Sophia decided to become a doctor, and enrolled at Edinburgh University in 1868. She was soon joined by Isabel Thorne, Edith Pechey and four others. The women matriculated successfully, but were prevented from sharing formal university teaching with male medical students. They arranged a course of private tuition, identical to that run by the university, but were refused entry to the final examinations as a result of pressure from those who wanted to prevent women from entering the medical profession. As a result of the difficulties at Edinburgh, Sophia Jex-Blake founded the London School of Medicine for Women, which opened in 1874. Originally, she was one of four Trustees who were appointed to administer funds for the School. When it became necessary to appoint a secretary to the medical school, Sophia considered herself to be the automatic choice, as she had founded the school. However, she was not elected, as her 'stormy, passionate nature' had already caused several rifts between herself and the School's Council. Instead, she went to Edinburgh where she founded a hospital for women and children, and the Edinburgh School of Medicine for Women. The Edinburgh Hospital and Dispensary for Women and Children acquired the home of Sophia Jex-Blake after her retirement, which became known as the Bruntsfield Hospital. The hospital closed in 1989, and the building is currently a hotel. Sophia retired to Tunbridge Wells in 1899, and continued to campaign for women's suffrage until her death in 1912.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of Sophia Jex-Blake including papers relating to her time as a Trustee at the London School of Medicine for Women (1874-1897). They include some of her letters to the Council of the School, copies of pamphlets she wrote, a portrait, and material relating to various memorials to her.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Papers and ephemera

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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