Legacy of Dr Flora Murray short changed no more with new £100 note - Scotsman editorial comment

Carrying a £100 note is not an everyday reality for most of us, but printing it with the the face of Dr Flora Murray, a Scots medical pioneer and suffragette, reminds us of those who have enriched us all.

Dr Flora Murray will be commemorated on the new £100 note. PIC: Creative Commons.
Dr Flora Murray will be commemorated on the new £100 note. PIC: Creative Commons.

The appearance of Dr Murray, who was born and raised near Gretna, further highlights the struggle women faced to get the vote, as well as become doctors on equal footing with their male counterparts, just a few generations ago.

It also reminds us of the tenacity required to make lasting change.

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During World War One, Dr Murray and her fellow female medics opened a hospital in Parisian hotel after being told by the British Government to "go home and sit still” following their offer to help wounded soldiers. The government later invited them to set up the Endell Street Military Hospital, such was the women’s impact across the Channel.

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Up until then, female doctors had only been able to treat women and children and were barred from general medicine and surgery, a position which galvanised her support the suffragettes, and in particular and Emmeline Pankhurst’s Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), which sought to keep women’s suffrage on the political agenda using direct action.

Dr Murray's treatment of women who went on hunger strike in prison brought her to the attention of Scotland Yard, who then put her under surveillance.

Now, her achievements will be in clearer view after the Bank of Scotland’s decision to carry her on the new £100 polymer note, given her wartime service and her commitment to women’s rights. Her legacy will be short changed no more.

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