Tribute to Harrogate's first woman doctor who made history

Pioneering - Harrogate's Dr Laura Veale pictured in 1960 when she was 93 years of age.
Pioneering - Harrogate's Dr Laura Veale pictured in 1960 when she was 93 years of age.

A new plaque has been unveiled to a little known but pioneering doctor in Harrogate.

When Dr Laura Veale set up her practice at number 3 Victoria Avenue in 1904 she made history.
She was not only the first woman doctor in Harrogate but the first in the whole of Yorkshire.
Paid for by Harrogate Medical Society and Harrogate Civic Society, historian Malcolm Neesam said the Harrogate Civic Society plaque was long ovderdue recognition for Dr Veale's achievements.
He said: "Dr Veale grew up in a medical household but women were not allowed to be doctors at that time.
"By all reports was a formidable character. She fought against strong opposition to women in the medical profession and succeeded."
Dr Veale is only the third recipient of a plaque in Harrogate but she is in good company.
The other two are Florence Nightingale, who visited Harrogate in 1852, and Princess Alix of Hesse, who became empress of Russia after marrying the ill-fated final Tsar but spent several years in Harrogate.
Among those present atthe unveiling were senior figures from Harrogate Civic Society, Harrogate Medical Society, historian Malcolm Neesam, who researched and wrote the text for the plaque, in conjunction with Harrogate Medical Society and Harrogate Civic Society, both of who contributed towards its cost, along with the Richard Eves Architects LLP.
Malcolm Neesam said Dr Veale was someone who tackled everything with vast amounts of enthusiasm.
He said: "During the Second World War, Dr Veale led the campaign in Harrogate to collect scrap metal to use in the war effort.
"She would ride through town in a car pulled by local scout shouting out at the top of her voice."
After successfully obtaining a degree at the Royal Free Hospital Medical School De Veale worked for six months in Leeds before moving to Harrogate.
As well as establishing her medical practice on Victoria Avenue, this incredible woman kept on fighting for the welfare of children and women.
Before retiring in 1936, Laura Veale made a huge impact in Harrogate, opening a small dispensary in New Park which became the nucleus of Harrogate Infirmary's Women's and Children's Department.
She also fought for 25 years to create a maternity department at Harrogate Hospital which was eventually opened in 1937.