Josephine Barnes

Dame Alice Josephine Mary Taylor Barnes, DBE (18 August 1912 – 28 December 1999),[1] known professionally as Dr Josephine Barnes, was a leading English obstetrician and gynaecologist.[2] She was the first female president of the British Medical Association, 1979. Barnes was also active in the Women's National Cancer Control Campaign with cancer screening.[3]

Josephine Barnes

Alice Josephine Mary Taylor Barnes

18 August 1912
Died28 December 1999
EducationOxford University University College London
OccupationObstetrician and Gynaecologist
Known forFirst female president of BMA


She was born on 18 August 1912 and she was the eldest of five. She was born at Cliff Road, Sheringham, Norfolk and educated at Oxford High School in North Oxford and the University of Oxford, reading Natural Sciences at Lady Margaret Hall. She then studied medicine at University College London.[4]

When the Second World War started she was appointed to a post at the Samaritan Hospital. From 1947 she ran a mobile obstetric team from University College Hospital.[5] Barnes was the first woman consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at Charing Cross Hospital (1954) and the first woman President of the British Medical Association (1979–80).

She was also Chairman of the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital Appeal Trust, President of the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Obstetrics and Gynaecology (known since 1994 as the Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Women's Health) from 1977 to 1995, and President of the Royal British Nurses' Association. She took a prominent role in the public debate over the 1967 Abortion Act.[6]

In 1988, she became president of the Osler Club of London.[7]

In 1994 she delivered the Hunterian Oration at the Hunterian Society. Between 1995 and 1996, Barnes was president of the History of Medicine Society at the Royal Society of Medicine.[6]


She married Brian Warren, a lieutenant in the Army, in 1942.[3]


She was also a Friend of the English Pocket Opera Company and a Guardian of Westminster Abbey. She was a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, the Royal College of Surgeons of England, and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (of which was at one time Vice-President).[8]


  1. Laura Lynn Windsor, Women in Medicine: An Encyclopedia (ABC-CLIO, 2002) p20
  2. Josephine Barnes,; accessed 22 March 2016.
  3. Neustatter, Angela (1999-12-28). "Dame Josephine Barnes". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-08-06.
  4. Max Blythe, ‘Barnes, Dame (Alice) Josephine Mary Taylor (1912–1999)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008 accessed 4 March 2017
  5. Haines, Catherine. International Women in Science: A Biographical Dictionary to 1950.
  6. Thomas, Adrian (Spring 1996). "Radiology History & Heritage Charitable Trust" (PDF). British Society for History of Radiology Occasional Newsletter. 7.
  7. "Presidents – The Osler Club of London". Retrieved 3 October 2019.
  8. "Munks Roll Details for Alice Josephine Mary Taylor (Dame) Barnes". Retrieved 2019-01-15.
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