Here, we’ll take a look back to just a small sample of those Liverpool ladies who have made their mark on the city of Liverpool. We don’t have enough web pages available to list them all but we’ll do what we can.
Lucy Cradock was Liverpool’s first practicing doctor. In fact, she formed and ran her very own Huskisson surgery. She was also an employee of the Victoria Settlement dispensary, as well as being the lone female doctor to be associated with one of the world’s oldest medical societies, The Liverpool Medical Institute.
In 1988, the LMI’s council considered making her a member. Lucy wrote to the council, in which she was forthright about any potential stumbling blocks to her attending meetings and promised that she would attend only if the subject matter was of great relevance to her and that would leave should any of the talks be hindered by her presence. Despite not everyone being on board, Lucy was elected. While at the beginning she was restricted to the periphery, it was a start.
In addition to her practice and working for the Victoria Settlement, Lucy was the Liverpool Post Office’s Medical Officer to the Female Staff and became the Women’s Hospital’s House Physician. Lucy also worked for the School for the Blind as a medical attendant, as well as for the University Training officer as a medical officer. She died in Liverpool in 1903, at the age of 53.
Catherine Wilkinson was named superintendent of Liverpool’s first poor people’s wash-house. Born in 1786, Kerry was a mere toddler when her parents relocated to Liverpool by the Irish ferry in pursuit of a better life. Kitty saved numerous lives, which earned her the nickname ‘the Saint of the Slums’. During a 1832 cholera epidemic, she made her home facilities available, including her yard, so that her neighbours could have somewhere to clean their dirty clothes.
Kitty charged her neighbours just a penny a week and demonstrated to them the art of cleaning their clothes using a chloride of lime. She had support from William Rathbone and the District Provident Society. Kitty owned the only hot water bottle in her street during the epidemic, so she also offered her neighbours the chance to wash their bedding in her cellar in a bid to provide protection from the cholera.
After the epidemic was over, there were numerous children without parents who were living rough and neglected. Kitty again came to the rescue taking 20 of these children in each morning, reading stories and even teaching them hymns.
The children were having such a good time with Kitty that she had no choice but to hire an additional room in order to teach them. In 1848, Kitty’s husband Tom passed away. Kitty died 12 years later, at the age of 73. At the time, this was regarded as being a good age as people didn’t live long after turning 40.