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Biographical entry Witt, Margaret June (1930 - 2005)

MRCS and FRCS 1961; BSc London 1952; MB BS 1955; LRCP 1961; MRCOG 1966; FRCOG 1979.

London, UK
30 October 2005
Obstetrician and gynaecologist


Margaret Witt was a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at the North Middlesex Hospital, London. She was born on 14 June 1930 in Leyton, London, the oldest daughter of Henry Witt, a chauffeur, and Bertha, a lady’s companion until she married. Margaret won a state scholarship to Walthamstow County High School for Girls and went on to St Bartholomew’s to study medicine, the only woman applicant out of 80 men. There she won the treasurer’s prize in practical anatomy, the Harvey prize in practical physiology, the university scholarship in science (physiology), and the Mathew Duncan gold medal and prize in obstetric medicine.

She then held junior house officer posts in the gynaecological and obstetric department at Bart’s, and was house surgeon to Sir Clifford Naunton Morgan and Ellison Nash, and house physician to A W Spence and Neville Oswald. After taking the primary from a job as demonstrator in anatomy, she was locum registrar in Croydon and the North Middlesex hospitals. She then specialised in obstetrics and gynaecology, completing a series of registrar posts at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, Queen Charlotte’s and Charing Cross hospitals. She was the first female registrar in obstetrics and gynaecology at St Bartholomew’s, specially chosen by John Howkins, who was not known for favouring women applicants.

She was appointed as a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist to the North Middlesex Hospital, becoming head of the department in 1991. She was honorary senior lecturer and honorary consultant endocrinologist at St Bartholomew’s and the Royal Free hospitals. She had a thriving private practice, with many patients from the Middle East, and she was often invited to see them in the Gulf states.

She represented her consultant colleagues on various regional committees. She examined for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Many of her colleagues referred to her their major cancer cases.
Margaret Witt never married. She had a zest for life, enjoying cooking, entertaining, fashion and travel, as well as music and the theatre. A colleague once said teasingly that:“Margaret was the only person who would take two fur coats, enough jewels to rival the Queen, and half a dozen pairs of Salvatore Ferragamo shoes for a weekend conference in Paris.” She was a member of the Harveian and Hunterian societies and the Medical Society of London. She sat on the committee of the Charitable Trust of the Royal Society of St George in the City of London, and was president of the Farringdon Ward Club and a governor of the Connaught School for Girls in Leytonstone, where a silver cup was dedicated to her memory for the girl who has achieved the highest all round points in the year, and a bench placed in the playground. She died on 30 October 2005.

The Royal College of Surgeons of England