Ethel Frater

Ethel Frater (16th July 1904 – 9th February 2007) née Barrow was born to a father who owned and ran a transport and removals business and her father sadly died not long after her birth.

Her mother was a suffragette and continued to run the business on her own bringing up Ethel and her 3 siblings.

Ethel attended Sir John Deane’s Grammar School and was very clever.

She went to Liverpool University in the 1920’s and studied medicine. She graduated in second in her class 1925 and registered on the GMC in 1926.

She could not secure a good job here in the UK, so she moved to San Francisco and secured an intern ship at a women and children’s hospital.

She then went on to become the first female English doctor to be a fellow at the famous Mayo clinic where she specialised in pathology and bacteriology.

She married a South African doctor and moved there with him in 1928. She had 3 sons and campaigned for birth control for the poor in Africa in the 1930’s.

She also campaigned for women doctors to be paid the same as men and for non-white nurses to be trained and paid the same as white nurses in Africa which was in the grip of apartheid at the time.

She returned to England in 1969 and joined the selection board for the VSO and wrote a history of the tea trade for the Linnean Society for which she became an honorary member of.

She lived in London and after surviving a broken hip aged 89 continued to travel by bus well into her 90’s and she chose to fly supersonic on Concorde in 1995 until she died in 2007 at the grand old age of 102 and a half.

A truly remarkable woman.