Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Cicely Delphine Williams (1893–1992)

Cicely Delphine Williams

In the First World War, the University of Oxford started to take on some female students and in 1923, Cicely became one of the first female medical students to graduate from the University.

Cicely first attracted the attention of the medical world when she identified the protein deficiency disease kwashiorkor whilst working with the British Colonial Service in the Gold Coast between 1928-1935. Kwashiorkor is a form of malnutrition that most often affects children in developing regions of the world where there is famine or a limited food supply. 

Cicely Williams

She continued to be active in the debate over protein nutrition throughout her life.

She was equally important as a pioneer of maternal and child care in developing countries, promoting a system based on local traditions and resources rather than on the use of expensive drugs and western systems of child care.

She was one the founders of tropical paediatrics.


Victoria Smallpeice (1901–1991)

Dr Victoria Smallpeice FRCP (1901–1991) qualified at the Royal Free Hospital in 1928 and became a general practitioner in Oxford. While in Oxford, she still went to London on Saturdays to do unpaid clinical assistant work in paediatrics. Victoria became the first Physician in Charge and Clinical Director to the Children’s Department, United Oxford Hospitals in Oxford, and also the first Consultant Paediatrician to the Oxford Regional Hospital Board, between 1947 to 1966. She was a member of council of the British Paediatric Association between 1959 to 1962, and was elected an honorary member in 1970. She was President of the Paediatric Section of the Royal Society of Medicine from 1965 to 1966. 

Information provided by:

Wellcome Collection Library.

D Stevens,©2006. Pride, prejudice, and paediatrics (women paediatricians in England before 1950), Arch Dis Child. Oct 2006; 91(10): 866–870: BMJ Publishing Group & Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.