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Picture found of Scot who became UK's first woman lawyer

Madge Easton Anderson graduated from Glasgow University almost 100 years ago.

Madge Easton Anderson: First female lawyer graduated from Glasgow University.
Madge Easton Anderson: First female lawyer graduated from Glasgow University. SWNS/Mark Sutherland

The forgotten story of the UK's first ever woman lawyer is being researched by academics who have finally unearthed the only known photograph of her.

Madge Easton Anderson graduated from Glasgow University almost 100 years ago but no image of her has been traced until now.

At the end of last year a picture of Anderson, who was the first woman to be allowed to practise as a solicitor in the UK in 1920 aged 24, was found at the Mitchell Library, Glasgow.

Born in 1896, Ms Anderson became the first woman to graduate from the university  with a degree in law.

And now legal eagles championing gender equality hope the snap may help trace her relatives, for part of a project, First 100 Years: Celebrating women in law.

Senior law lecturer at the university, Maria Fletcher, said she hopes to get a fuller picture of the significant woman's life.

She said: "Madge Easton Anderson is an important person for us to remember, both here in the School of Law and more widely in the legal profession.

"This year is the centenary of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 which paved the way for women to become lawyers for the first time.

"We should celebrate Madge and her tenacity.

"She studied law and underwent her professional training in a law firm even prior to the passage of the 1919 Act."

Glasgow: Madge Anderson graduated in the 1920s.
Glasgow: Madge Anderson graduated in the 1920s. SWNS/Mark Sutherland

"Madge had a number of firsts to her name.

"She was the first woman law graduate at Glasgow, the first to be admitted to practise as a solicitor in Scotland and indeed the first UK female lawyer, as well as being a partner in the first UK law firm to be run only by women based in London."

Dedicated to helping those in need through her job, Madge spent a decade working as a 'poor man's lawyer' and later worked at an all-female London law firm.

She married but never had children, and retired for a quiet life as a hotelier in Dunkeld Perthshire after the Second World War, where she lived before her death in 1982 aged 86

Ms Fletcher added: "It would be wonderful to get a fuller picture of Madge's life and we are hoping her relatives might get it touch to help us do that.

"For me as a law lecturer, I most admire Madge for her sincere social conscience and from what I have learned about Madge's character I think this would be what she would like to be remembered for, not the fact she had so many firsts in the legal profession.

"Through the university's Settlement organisation, Madge volunteered her time to offer free legal advice to those in the Anderston community of Glasgow and records show that she acted as a 'Poor Man's Lawyer' from 1920-1930.

"Her work undoubtedly inspired the later opening of a Free Legal Dispensary run from the University of Glasgow, itself a precursor for the first Citizen's Advice Bureau in Glasgow.

"She has much to be admired not only as a real pioneer but as a wonderful inspiration for our students today.

"It seems only right and fitting that her legacy is remembered at her alma mater.

"I am delighted to be able to unveil a photo of her found in the Mitchell Library archives."

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