09/01/2019
Share this story Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Photo of the first female solicitor in the UK unveiled

7a1c9337-dfd1-4e1b-8978-25c988853c91

The University of Glasgow has revealed a rare photo of a law pioneer - the UK's first female solicitor - Madge Easton Anderson.

The image was discovered by University of Glasgow law academics and students, who were carrying out research for this year’s centenary of women in law project - First 100 Years: Celebrating women in law.

They now hope the photo to raise the profile of Anderson’s place in UK legal history and are hoping that the image may help them to trace Madge's relatives to learn more about her life.

A celebration of tenacity

Maria Fletcher, Senior Law Lecturer at the University of Glasgow and a Champion of the First100Years project, said: “Madge Easton Anderson is an important person for us to remember, both here in the School of Law and more widely in the legal profession.

“2019 is the centenary of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 which paved the way for women to become lawyers for the first time. We should celebrate Madge and her tenacity. She studied law and underwent her professional training in a law firm even prior to the passage of the 1919 Act.”

“Madge had a number of firsts to her name -  she was the first woman law graduate at Glasgow, the first to be admitted to practice as a solicitor in Scotland and indeed the first UK female lawyer, as well as being a partner in the first UK law firm to be run only by women based in London.”

Madge's later life

Ms Fletcher says that the details of Anderson’s later life remain obscure although after a time working in London, she retired to Scotland after the Second World War and ran a private hotel for a number of years. She said: “Through the University’s Settlement organisation, Madge volunteered her time to offer free legal advice to those in the Anderston community of Glasgow. Records show that she acted as a ‘Poor Man’s Lawyer’ from 1920-1930. Her work undoubtedly inspired the later opening of a Free Legal Dispensary run from the University of Glasgow; itself a precursor for the first Citizen’s Advice Bureau in Glasgow.

“She has much to be admired not only as a real pioneer but as a wonderful inspiration for our students today. It seems only right and fitting that her legacy is remembered at her alma mater. I am delighted to be able to unveil a photo of her found in the Mitchell Library archives.”

The University of Glasgow is planning a major conference in 2019 looking at the role of women in law and Madge Easton Anderson and the newly discovered photo of her will be a key element of the day.

The first 100 years

The First 100 Years is a ground-breaking history project, supported by the Law Society and the Bar Council, charting the journey of women in law since 1919. Find out more on the project website.

QUICK LINK: Glasgow University in World War One

(images copyright Mitchell Library Archives/University of Glasgow)

Back to "News" Category

09/01/2019 Share this story   Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Recent Updates

The QE2 passenger liner was launched - On this day in history

The QE2 passenger liner was launched on 20 September 1967. ...


Clan Carruthers has a chief confirmed by the Lord Lyon after 210 years

Clan Carruthers Society-International (CCSI) has announced that after a gap of 201 years, Clan Carruthers has ...


Painter William Dyce was born - On this day in history

Scottish painter William Dyce was born on 19 September 1806.


Historian Gilbert Burnet was born - On this day in history

Scottish historian Gilbert Burnet was born on 18 September 1643.


Other Articles

Precious David Linvingstone tableaux painstakingly restored as part of a £6.1M heritage project

A group of precious polychromatic plaster tableaux depicting David Livingstone's historic journey to Africa ...


David Dunbar Buick was born - On this day in history

Scottish inventor David Dunbar Buick was born on 17 September 1854.


On this day in Scottish history - King James VII of Scotland died

King James VII of Scotland died on 16 September 1701. ...


The Hector emigrant ship left Loch Broom bound for Canada

The Hector emigrant ship left Loch Broom bound for Canada on 15 September 1773.