Flora Murray

1869 - 1923

Flora was born at Murraythwaite in Dumfries on 8 May 1869. Her parents were landed propietor John Murray, a Captain in the Royal Navy, and Grace Harriet Graham.

Flora was a medical pioneer and a suffragette, becoming a member of the Women's Social and Political Union in 1908. She trained at the London School of Medicine for Women (LSMW), finishing her course at Durham.

In 1912 with Louisa Garrett Anderson, she founded the Women's Hospital for Children at 688 Harrow Road which provided 'health care for working-class children of the area, It gave women doctors their only opportunity to gain clinical experience in paediatrics in London'. Louisa's mother was Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, the first Englishwoman to qualify as a physician and surgeon.

In 1914 they approached the French Embassy with an offer of medical help in support of victims of WWI. They founded the Women's Hospital Corps (WHC), initially setting up a hospital in Paris at the Hotel Claridge, staffed by women. In the October the WHC was officially recognised as being affiliated to the Royal Army Medical Corps and another hospital was opened at Wimereux.

Despite continuing opposition from most of the establishment, Sir Alfred Keogh, Director General of Army Medical Services asked them to set up an RAMC hospital at Endell Street in London - which they did with reistance from the RAMC detachment assigned to them. They recognised the importance of psychological as well a physical wellbeing in the recovery of their patients. Three auxilliary hospitals were opened in Byculla, Dollis Hill House and Holly Park.

His recognition of their initiatives and their drive for the rights of women led him to recommend the expansion of the LSMW. In 1917 Flora and Louisa were awarded the C.B.E for their work during the war.

After the war they returned to the Women's Hospital for Children, remaining politically active. They campaigned against force feeding of women in prisons and cared for suffragettes who had been ill treated in this way.

Flora died aged only 54 and is buried at Holy Trinity Church at Penn in Buckinghamshire where she lived with Louisa.

Flora Murray 1914
1869 Murray, Flora (Statutory Births 817/00 0012)
birth record of Flora Murray
Flora Murray
encyclopaedia biography page
Deeds not Words: The Women of Endell Street
article by John Bull