Famous Brit of the Week #76 - Dr Mary Murdoch




This week's Famous Brits Assemblies are about Dr. Mary Murdoch. She was born on 26 September 1864 in Elgin, Scotland. She studied to be a doctor at the London School of Medicine for Women. funded by money that her mother had left her. She completed her studies in Scotland and qualified in 1892.

In 1893 she began her association with Hull when she became a house surgeon at the Victoria Hospital for Sick Children, which had opened two years previously, in Park Street. In 1894 she joined the British Medical Association. In 1885 she was Hull's first female general practitioner.

In 1900 she employed as an assistant, the newly qualified doctor Louisa Martindale. They worked closely together not just as partners in their business. In 1902 they went on a cycling holiday together, visiting Vienna, Berline and Switzerland. They were in partnership until 1906.

Murdoch founded the Hull Women's Suffrage Society in 1904.

Murdoch worked hard, taking only four or five hours sleep a night, but she also enjoyed herself. She was the first woman in Hull to own a car, which she drove really fast. One anecdote describes how six men had to put her car back on the road after she had rolled backwards down a hill and her car had caught fire. Murdoch then joked about it with her passenger.

Murdoch died at her home in Hull in 1916 after returning through snow from seeing an emergency patient. Her funeral procession, which attracted thousands of mourners, was led by her car. She was cremated and her urn was placed in the Lady Chapel of All Saints church in Hull. Plaques were placed on her home in Park Street and on the former Victoria Hospital.

In March 2021, a new footbridge was opened connecting Hull city to Princes Quay waterfront, marina and fruit market over Castle Street. The name 'Murdoch's Connection' was nominated by pupils from Hull's Newland School for Girls, whose school uniform is made of the suffragettes' colours.