Did you know that Waterford’s first female councillor was elected in 1912?

Dr. Mary Strangman was an exceptional woman who became Waterford's first female doctor and councillor.
Mary Somerville Parker Strangman
Credit: Mick O'Dea

On January 15th, 1912, Dr Mary Strangman was elected councillor of Waterford Corporation. This was pretty historical back in the day. Not only was she the first female ever elected, but also Waterford’s first lady doctor. Quite the suffragette!

Who was Mary?

Mary Strangman was born March 16th, 1872 into an old Waterford Quaker family who lived in Carriganore House, near Woodstown, Co. Waterford. Her father was John Strangsman, founder of Strangman’s brewery. One of seven children, Mary was homeschooled alongside her four brothers and two sisters.

Credit: buildingsofireland.ie
Carraiganore House

In 1891 she entered the RCSI, the first medical school in the UK to admit women on equal terms with men and got her license in 1896. After training and lecturing in the UK, she returned to Waterford in 1902 and set up her own practice in Parnell street.

Women on Walls at RCSI
Credit: accenture.com

Public Health advocate

She was a huge advocate for women’s health and became part of the WNHA (Womens National Health Association) in 1908. Afterwards in 1911, a change in Irish law came into play allowing women the right to be elected. So Mary got elected and stayed in her seat until 1920.

Her last years were spent working as a physician at the Waterford City and County Infirmary. She died in 1943 and is buried in Newtown Quaker grounds.

The Old Infirmary

Check out the Podcast

Mary was pretty impressive for her time, considering it was an era when women stayed at home and the men went out to work. If you want to know more, tune in to the Women on Walls podcast all about Dr. Mary Strangam!

The rest is history.

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