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Anne Louise McIlroy

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Anne McIlroy

From the collections of the Imperial War Museum, catalogue no. Q 108180.

Dr Anne Louise Mcllroy (1874 – 1968)

Dr Anne Louise Mcllroy applied to become a Fellow of the College in 1910. She studied medicine at the University of Glasgow, and was the first woman to receive the MD with a commendation. In her application for fellowship, she stated that it was “necessary for the holding of teaching posts.” Her application although refused led to the motion being passed in 1911 allowing women to be accepted as Fellows. Despite battling gender inequality, McIlroy was eventually awarded an OBE and then DBE for her services to midwifery.

The design features triangular shapes and exotic palms representing Mcllroy’s work as a surgeon with the Scottish Women’s Hospital during the First World War. Three vertical interpretations of the female form in the upper part of the design represent her interest in pre-eclampsia and pain relief during childbirth. McIlroy was the first woman professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at London University and was a founding Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecologists. Obstetrics instruments and intertwining forms, a visual link to the decorative ceiling of College Hall, represent this specialism. Her work
in the Marie Curie Hospital alongside references to fertility, femininity, kindness, and her desire for freedom are symbolised by daffodils, lotus, dahlias and lilies.