Edinburgh Seven and the Surgeons' Hall Riot
Edinburgh Seven & the Surgeons' Hall Riot of 18th Nov 1870 © David Hutchison

Edinburgh Seven

150 years ago on 2nd Nov, 1869 a group of six women: Sofia Jex-Blake, Edith Pechey, Matilda Chaplin, Helen Evans, Mary Anderson and Isabel Thorne became the first women to matriculate at a UK university. Emily Bovell joined the group later and they became known as the Edinburgh Seven.

Many of the male students and lecturers were against the women studying and this culminated in the Surgeons’ Hall Riot of 1870. The group were thwarted from graduating but five of them completed their studies abroad whilst the other two continued to help the cause of women in medicine. Women were eventually allowed to graduate in 1876. Edinburgh University awarded their degrees posthumously in 2019.

Sofia Jex-Blake

New painting of Sofia Jex-Blake © David Hutchison

Edith Pechey
New painting of Edith Pechey © David Hutchison