Equality, Diversity & Inclusion

Isabel Thorne

Another to respond to Sophia Jex-Blake's advert calling for women to join her campaign. (unable to source photo).

Isabel (Jane) Thorne
Matriculation Record, Isabel Thorne. University of Edinburgh Centre for Research Collections. Matriculation Roll, 1861-1874

Isabel Thorne responded to Sophia Jex-Blake's advert calling for women to join her in an attempt to qualify as doctors at Edinburgh, and so became one of the Edinburgh Seven.

During this time, she won first prize in an anatomy examination. Isabel was one of the women who re-grouped at the London School of Medicine for Women. Her diplomatic temperament meant she was a more acceptable honorary secretary on the executive (although she never actually qualified in medicine) than Sophia Jex-Blake whose nomination had threatened to stir up controversy. Thorne gave up her own ambition to be a doctor in order to commit herself to helping the school run smoothly; to become more solidly established.

An exemplary Victorian Thorne's dedication to duty and service was a precursor for the more violent campaigns of the suffragettes to achieve full enfranchisement for women.

Isabel travelled through China during the Talping Rebellion.  She became convinced of the need for women to have female doctors for themselves and their children, especially women ln China and India.   When the family returned to England in 1868 she started midwifery training at the Ladies Medical College, London, later describing the teaching there as inadequate.


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