Oct 192020

15 Buccleuch Place, Edinburgh EH8 9LN

15 Buccleuch Place

Dr. Agnes Yewande Savage was born at 15 Buccleuch Place in 1906. Her father, Richard Akinwande Savage, had been vice president of the Afro-West Indian Society at Edinburgh and, in 1900, attended the first Pan-African Congress in London. Savage was probably the first West African woman to qualify in medicine. She graduated with a first, winning awards in skin disease and forensic medicine. In 1929, she was awarded the prestigious Dorothy Gilfillan Memorial Prize for the best woman graduate. Savage nevertheless faced huge institutional barriers due to her race and gender. When appointed in 1930 as a junior medical officer in the Gold Coast (now Ghana), Savage was paid discriminatory wages and lived in servants’ quarters. Andrew Fraser, headmaster at Achimota College, recruited her as a teacher and a medical officer in 1931. Savage also supervised the establishment of the Nurses Training School at Korle Bu, Accra, where a ward is now named after her. Finally, in 1945, Savage was given the same terms of employment, salary, and retirement as her white colleagues. Historian E. Keazor asserts that Savage “left one of the greatest legacies for Nigerian women. […] Her life shows that hard work and self-belief can allow one to break barriers.”

Agnes Yewande Savage
Richard Savage Sr. with the Students Representative Council
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