Wales’ 11th Purple Plaque was unveiled today in Brecon to celebrate the life of Dr Frances Hoggan, a pioneering, Brecon-born woman doctor, campaigner and social reformer.

The plaque, sponsored by the Learned Society of Wales, was unveiled by MS Jane Hutt, at the place of her birth on High Street, Brecon, which is now Nicholls store.

Mayor of Brecon, David Meredith, the Welsh Government Social Justice Minister, Jane Hutt, Chair of Purple Plaques, Sue Essex, and Elizabeth Jeffreys, who founded the Brecon Story community history project and helped organise the plaque unveiling all gave speeches before the plaque was unveiled to a large crowd.

Dr Frances Hoggan was the first British woman to gain a medical degree in Europe. 

She was also the first female member of the British College of Physicians through her membership of the King's and Queen's College of Physicians in Ireland.

Frances travelled to Switzerland to take her degree because women were not allowed to study for medical degrees in Britain.

She graduated in March 1870, three months ahead of the much better-known Elizabeth Garrett Anderson who graduated from the Sorbonne in June that year.

As well as fighting against the odds to qualify as a female doctor, Frances campaigned for other women to be allowed to qualify and work as doctors in the UK and India.

She also fought to establish secondary schools for girls in Wales, later on also calling for social reforms in South Africa, the Middle East and the USA.  

Frances was born in 1843 at 19 High Street in Brecon.

Her father was a curate at what is now Brecon Cathedral before becoming vicar of Aberavon. He died while Frances was still a child in 1851.

She continued to campaign through much of her life, passing away in 1927.