Elizabeth Garrett Anderson is regarded as England’s first female doctor; a pioneer in educating women in medicine; a strong supporter of women’s suffrage and opportunities in higher education, as well as being the first woman in England elected as mayor. It is fitting that the Conway Stewart company pays homage to this great respected British female.
Elizabeth was born into a large family living in Whitechapel, London in 1836. Her mother was Louise Dunnell and her father Newson Garrett. During her childhood her father became a successful businessman, enabling him to finance a strong education for his children.
It was automatically thought that she would marry into an affluent family after she finished school, but she was a very strong independent woman, with ideas of her own. Elizabeth strove to pursue a career for herself and this passion grew stronger after she met with the English feminist Emily Davies (at the time campaigning bitterly for women’s rights to university access), and a few years later Elizabeth Brack well (the first first American woman physician). These associates convinced Elizabeth to consider becoming a female doctor, something unheard of in Britain during the 19th century.
Elizabeth was denied entry to medical schools in Britain because she was a female. Her perseverance stood her in good stead, and she looked for other methods to achieve her goal. She enrolled as a nursing student at Middle sex Hospital and attended classes intended for male doctors, but she was barred after complaints from other male students.
Elizabeth discovered that the Society of Apothecaries did not specifically forbid women from taking their examinations, and in 1865 she passed their exams and gained a certificate which enabled her to become a doctor. This entitled her to have her name entered on the medical register, the first British woman to do so. Soon after, the Society changed the system to prevent other women from entering the profession in this manner.
Elizabeth’s goal was to establish a hospital for women staffed by women and in 1866 she was appointed general medical attendant to St Mary’s Dispensary, a London institution to enable poor women obtain medical help from female qualified practitioners. In 1870, she was appointed a visiting physician to the East London Hospital and the following year she married James Anderson, a financial adviser to the East London Hospital. Elizabeth chose not to take on Anderson’s name, and referred herself as Elizabeth Garret Anderson.
However, still headstrong and determined to obtain a medical degree, Elizabeth taught herself French so she could study at the University of Paris. Even after passing all of the required exams to graduate with a degree, the British Medical Register refused at that time to recognise her Doctor of Medicine degree.
In 1873 Elizabeth gained membership of the British Medical Association and remained the only woman member for 19 years, due to the Association’s vote against the admission of further women. Her determination paved the way for other women, and in 1876 an Act of Parliament was passed permitting women to enter the medical professions.
In 1883 Elizabeth was appointed dean of the London School of Medicine for Women, which she had helped to found in 1874, and oversaw its expansion.
In 1902, Elizabeth retired to Aldeburgh on the Suffolk coast but chose to continue her interest in politics. In 1908 she became the first female mayor in England.
The Elizabeth Garrett Anderson pen is from Conway Stewart’s Elegance range. Each pen from this range has a distinct design and is produced to the highest standards of English craftsmanship.
Sleek and subtly curvaceous, this series looks fondly back to Conway Stewart’s Golden Age of fountain pen production for inspiration. It is an extremely versatile pen, ideal for every occasion. Large enough to possess a commanding presence, yet not so outsized as to be unwieldy in either the hand or the pocket. Truly the “Best of both worlds”.
Lovingly constructed of hallmarked solid sterling silver, the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson pen has been designed in the style of Fabergé, with a highly detailed guilloche fox-head pattern engraved on the cap and body. It is skilfully covered with vibrant bonded enamel in a delicate shade of lavender. This exquisite pen shows all the characteristics necessary for becoming a modern design classic.
Our use of a solid sterling silver section leaves the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson perfectly balanced. With the weight of the pen centred low in the hand, writing with this pen becomes a pleasure.
The Elizabeth Garrett Anderson edition is mounted with our large rhodium plated, iridium tipped 18 carat solid gold nib in a choice of eight different grades and utilises the popular converter cartridge filling mechanism.