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Academics unearth only photo of UK’s first-ever female lawyer

Who do you think you are?  A portrait of Madge Easton Anderson from 1920 PICTURES: SWNS

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 the University of Glasgow almost 100 years ago but no image of her could be traced until now.

But the end of last year a picture of Anderson, who was the first woman to be allowed to practice 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 of Glasgow 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 called ‘First 100 Years: Celebrating women in law’.

Senior law lecturer at the University of Glasgow, Maria Fletcher, hopes to get a fuller picture of the significant woman’s life.

Legal first: Easton Anderson graduated from the University of Glasgow almost 100 years ago

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.’

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 World War II where she lived before her death in 1982 aged 86.

Ms Fletcher added: ‘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.

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