Mary Strangman Blue Plaque.jpg
Location: Parliament Street

Dr. Mary Strangman

Summary

Dr Mary Somerville Parker Strangman was a doctor, suffragist and elected councillor. Strangman was born on 16 March 1872 at Carriganore, Killotteran, Waterford, the sixth of seven children of Thomas Handcock Strangman and Sarah White Hawkes. She was educated at home with her four brothers and two sisters.

Along with her sister Lucia, Mary became interested in medicine at an early age. In 1891, when she was 19 and Lucia was 21, they both enrolled at the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland (RCSI) in 1891, receiving their licences in 1896. After training and lecturing in Britain, Mary Strangman became the second woman to earn the fellowship of RCSI in 1902. Establishing a practice in Waterford, Strangman also volunteered at various local women’s charities and published a number of research articles on alcoholism and morphine addiction.

She was an active suffragist and served on the executive committee of the Irishwomen’s Suffrage Federation (1911–1917). As co-founder of the local branch of the Woman’s National Health Association, Strangman worked to combat tuberculosis, the country’s principal killer disease. Seeing the authorities’ poor investment in sanitation, Strangman stood for election on a public health platform and was elected Waterford’s first female councillor in 1912. Retiring from office in 1920, Strangman continued in general practice and as physician at Waterford County and City Infirmary.

She continued to practice medicine almost until her death. She died on 30 January 1943 in her sister’s home in Dún Laoghaire.