A BID to tell the forgotten story of the UK’s first woman lawyer has taken a major step forward with the discovery of a photograph of her.

Madge Easton Anderson graduated from the University of Glasgow almost 100 years ago but attempts to find an image of her had drawn a blank. Then, 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 city’s Mitchell Library.

Born in 1896, Anderson became the first woman to graduate from the university with a degree in law. Academics working on a project entitled First 100 Years: Celebrating Women in Law hope the photograph will help them to trace relatives of Anderson.

Maria Fletcher, a senior law lecturer at Glasgow University, said she hopes to get a fuller picture of Anderson’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.”

“Madge had a number of firsts to her name. She was the first woman law graduate at Glasgow, the first to be admitted to practice 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, Anderson spent a decade working as a “poor man’s lawyer” in Glasgow in the 1920s, before her move to London. She married but never had children, and retired for a quiet life as a hotelier in Dunkeld, Perthshire, after the Second World War. She lived there until her death in 1982, aged 86.

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. 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 area of Glasgow.

“Records show that she acted as a ‘poor man’s lawyer’ from 1920-30. Her work undoubtedly inspired the later opening of a free legal dispensary run from the University of Glasgow, itself a precursor to the first Citizens Advice Bureau in Glasgow.

“She is 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.”