The amazing story of Dr James Barry
Posted on 19th August 2022
Speaker: Felicity Herring
Dr James Barry was first female doctor in Britain! Born in Cork in 1789 she was the niece of the artist James Barry RA. In 1809 she disguised herself as a man and went to Edinburgh University to train to be a doctor. Following her graduation in 1812 she joined the army and was posted to South Africa where she maintained her male persona throughout, even fighting a duel. In Cape Town she performed the first successful caesarean section in which both mother and baby survived. Further postings followed to Mauritius, Jamaica, Antigua, Trinidad, Malta, Corfu and Canada. It was not until her body was being bathed for her funeral that her female identity was discovered. How could this happen??