Blue Plaque erected for Ivy Williams
Oxfordshire Blue Plaques Board has erected a plaque for Ivy Williams in connection with the centenary of the award in 1920 of full membership of Oxford University for women after decades of campaigning.
Ivy Williams (1877-1966), lawyer and university teacher, famous as the first woman called to the English Bar (1922) is commemorated at 12 King Edward Street, Oxford, where she lived 1887–1904.
The daughter of George St Swithin Williams, an Oxford solicitor, she was educated at home and then at the Society of Oxford Home-Students. In October 1920 she received her BA, MA, BCL all at once on 14th October, along with fifty other women, the first to be awarded Oxford degrees proper. She had long demanded that women should be allowed to qualify as barristers.
After the passing of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act in 1919, she was admitted to the Inner Temple. On 10th May 1922 she was the first woman to be called to the Bar, although she never practised as a barrister, preferring an academic career. She was tutor and lecturer at the Society of Oxford Home-Students 1920 – 1945, the first woman to teach law at Oxford and the first to be awarded the DCL.
She was a benefactor to town and gown, giving her former house, Sunnyside in Cowley, to the Radcliffe Infirmary and endowing two university law scholarships, one for women only. In later years when her sight failed, she learned to read braille with some difficulty and to assist others published a braille primer with the National Institute for the Blind.
A plaque has also been erected for Annie Rogers (1856–1937) who was a major figure in the long campaign to win full membership of Oxford University for women.