Miss Ida Freund

This is the final article celebrating International Women’s Day.

While looking in one of the Minute books of the Hospitals Board of Governors I came across several entries in the summer of 1915 concerning a legacy of £2,000 (about £90,000 today) left to the hospital by the late Miss Ida Freund.

So who was Ida?  I did a search for her on the internet and found lots of information; she was the first women to become a university chemistry lecturer in the UK. Ida was born in Austria 1863 and after her mother’s death she came to England in 1881 to live with her uncle Ludwig Straus, who enrolled her at Girton College a year later.  A year after graduating she joined the staff of Newnham College where she was appointed as a demonstrator in chemistry in 1887.  She remained there until her retirement in 1913.

Ida was an active feminist and supporter of women’s suffrage and fought for science to be taught to girls in school. She appears to have been well liked by her students and in 1907 when the periodic table was the focus of the final examinations; she called a study session, and produced a large periodic table with each element represented by a cupcake with its name and atomic number in icing!!!

She died on 15 May 1914 following surgery at her home in Cambridge; I have not been able to find who carried out the surgery.

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