Lady Florence Barrett (1867-1945)

Lady Barrett was an obstetric surgeon at the Mothers’ Hospital. One of the foremost gynaecologists and obstetricians of her time, she seems to have been a particularly interesting and complex character, whose interests ranged from the supernatural to eugenics and women’s employment rights.

The opinions she forcefully expressed on many social and medical issues can be difficult to reconcile, and where eugenics is concerned can be offensive to the modern sensibility, but a study of her leaves an impression of an intellectually powerful woman and a tirelessly committed doctor. An adherent to many of the prejudices of her time and class, she could also be imaginative, innovative and empathetic when dealing with the problems of the urban working class mother. She was intensely committed to the causes in which she believed, and to the idea of improving society.

Follow the links below to find out more about her impressive life and career.

Page link: Biography and career
Biography and career
A most decorated lady
Page link: Family life
Family life
Marriage, divorce and remarriage
Page link: 'The central factor is the Mother'
'The central factor is the Mother'
Lady Barrett's concept of maternity care
Page link: 'The Decadence of the Race'
'The Decadence of the Race'
Contraception and eugenics
Page link: 'The Lovely Brightness'
'The Lovely Brightness'
Psychical research
Page link: Women's Rights
Women's Rights
Work, medicine and suffrage