Senior Clerk opposition to women for lack of lavatories

Published 5th March 2016

My mother was one of the early years women barristers at Gray’s Inn with Rose Heilbron, Sheila Mars-Jones, Hazel Phillips and others and practised at Chambers in Garden Court and Essex Street. The obstacle, a common one I hear, to her being taken on was the opposition of the senior clerk “as there was no ladies’ lavatory”, therefore it was unarguably an impossibility. Segregation was evident in the Robing Rooms of the Courts and they got used to it, I was told. My mother and the others in her ‘gang’ were a tough lot, having been through the War in the recent past. Gray’s Inn library existed in temporary huts as did most of it at the time (the late 1940s) as it had been bombed, of course. They had to support each other in obtaining recognition for more than their more obviously apparent attributes due to the unrecognised prejudice against women barristers.

Newsletter Sign Up
Get the latest updates on the First 100 Years Project and join our journey.