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Dame Anne Louise McIlroy

Born 11 November 1874, County Antrim, Ireland.
Died 8 February 1968.

A pioneering obstetrician, gynaecologist and surgeon, who became the first woman medical professor in the UK.

Connection to the University of Glasgow: Alumnus, Honorary Graduate
GU Degrees: MB ChB, 1898; MD, 1900; LLD, 1935;

Discover more Surgeons on the University of Glasgow Story website


The following achievement is associated with Dame Anne Louise McIlroy:

Leading obstetrician and gynaecologist
Louise McIlroy was a pioneering female medical professional who specialised in obstetrics and gynaecology and received many distinctions and awards in recognition of her work.


The following honours are associated with this person:


(Anne) Louise McIlroy (1874-1968) was the first woman to be awarded an MD by the University and the first woman to be officially registered as a research student there. She was awarded an honorary LLD by the University in 1935.

McIlroy was born in County Antrim, the daughter of a general practitioner. She matriculated at the University in 1894 to study for a medical degree and won class prizes in both Medicine and Pathology before obtaining her MB ChB in 1898. She was awarded an MD with commendation in 1900.

After further postgraduate work in Europe specialising in Gynaecology and Obstetrics, McIlroy was appointed Gynaecological Surgeon at the Victoria Infirmary in Glasgow, a post she held from 1906 to 1910, and was registered as a research student at the University. She served with distinction in the First World War and then returned for a short time to Glasgow. In 1921 she was appointed Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the London School of Medicine for Women and worked as a surgeon at the Marie Curie Hospital for Women. Her services to Midwifery were recognised in 1929 when she was appointed Dame of the British Empire. She retired in 1934 to have, in her own words "a few years of freedom".

McIlroy felt strongly about doing her duty and when war was declared in 1939 she immediately offered her services. She organised emergency maternity services in Buckinghamshire and provided her own equipment and comforts at the hospital in the face of inevitable shortages. After the Second World War she returned to retirement, staying with her sister in Turnberry in Ayrshire.