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Murrell, Dr Christine
- Murrell, Dr Christine Mary (1874-1933)
- Archives and manuscripts
About this work
Papers mainly family, estate and personal, c.1849-1935, including wills of Dr Murrell's relatives, professional testimonials, papers about her book , Womanhood and Health. The bulk consists of family papers - as an only child and grandchild Dr Murrell had a perhaps unusual amount to do with family wills and estates, but there is a little material which reflects her distinguished medical career. Also the family and legal material includes some correspondence with, and reference to, medical colleagues.
A. Family papers 1849-1931 B. Personal papers and biographical items 1894-1935
These papers were received in January 2001 as a gift from Dr Martin Francis, the great-nephew of Dr Murrell's partner in practice, Dr E. Honor Bone.
Christine Mary Murrell was born in 1874 and was given educational and other encouragement by her family to seek a public and professional career. She went to the London Medical School for Women in 1894, graduating MB BS in 1899, and was the second women to be appointed a house physician at the Royal Free Hospital. She also held an appointment at the Northumberland County Asylum which stimulated an interest in early mental disorder leading to an MD on that subject in 1905. She set up in general practice in Bayswater with Honor Bone, whom she had met at the London School, and developed a large and successful practice in this residential area, something still unusual for women in the early twentieth century. She also found time and energy to preside over one of the Infant Welfare Clinics established under the auspices of the St Marylebone Health Society, and to undertake lectures for the London County Council and other bodies on health and related subjects. Her 1923 book Womanhood and Health contains material which had formed part of her lectures. It embodied not only her medical knowledge but her feminist beliefs, arguing against received assumptions about the physiological disabilities of women. Besides leading an active professional life she took a considerable interest in public matters. She supported the militant suffrage movement as well as other campaigns for the benefit of women. She was active in the Medical Women's Federation, serving as its President 1926-1928, and founded its loan fund for junior medical women. She also took part in the wider field of medical politics as represented by the British Medical Association, and was the first woman appointed to its Central Council, in 1924, as well as serving on numerous other BMA committees. She was the first woman to be appointed to the General Medical Council, in 1933, although her premature death occurred before she was able to take her seat. Additional biographical material may be found in the published biography by Christopher St. John (PP/CCM/B.5) and obituaries in the British Medical Journal, 1933, ii, 801-803, and The Lancet, 1933, ii, 1012.