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Dame Louise McIlroy (1878–1968)

Dame Louise McIlroy


  • One of the founders of the Scottish Women's Hospitals during the First World War
  • First woman professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at the Royal Free Hospital school of medicine, University of London


  • DBE in 1929

Remembered for:

  • Foundation Fellow of the RCOG – reputedly in order for there to be a representative of the women!
  • Work on the relief of pain in childbirth and the management of asphyxia of the newborn

Dame Louise McIlroy was a Fellow of the RCOG from its inception in 1929 and a prominent member of the early College council. Dame Louise was an important figure in the pre-war emergency discussions of the late 1930s about the care and management of children and pregnant women. The records reproduced here from the RCOG Archive record in detail the discussions in which she was involved, and include a letter to the Professor William Fletcher Shaw, Honorary Secretary dated 3 November 1938 and a report of a meeting attended by her, October 1938.

A letter to the Professor William Fletcher Shawa letter to the Professor William Fletcher Shaw

Read more of Dame Louise McIlroy’s letter here.

[Archive Reference: S34/84/2]

Elsewhere on the site

History of the RCOG
Information about the history of the College and the development of the specialty of obstetrics and gynaecology
About the College
Information about the RCOG’s current work to improve women’s health care worldwide