Brian Moseley, Plymouth
Webpage created: March 28, 2018
Webpage updated: January 01, 2020



Miss ROSA ELLEN BALE (1865-1941)

Miss Rosa Ellen Bale was born at Landkey, near Barnstaple, in north Devon, in the second quarter of 1865.  She was the eldest child of Mr Samuel and Mrs Mary Bale, of Westacott, Landkey, where Samuel was a nurseryman and seed merchant.  

At the time of the 1891 census, Rosa was a 26-years-old medical student, still apparently residing at home.

In 1895, as a Licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians, she became the first female doctor in Plymouth and the only one west of Bristol.  Her surgery was at 24 Portland Square.

When the Second World War came she refused to move away from the City, claiming that as the children, many of whom were her patients, had not been evacuated, why should she leave?  However, when her house was destroyed in the Blitz of March 1941, she moved to Barnstaple to live with her brother and sister, Joseph and Sarah Bale.

Like many of the people of her generation she was very religious and took a weekly Bible class.  She was also a supporter of the temperance movement, only once taking alcohol when she was seriously ill.  Having had to fight male prejudice as a Doctor, she was a keen suffragette, but not of the militant type.

Doctor Rosa Bale died at Barnstaple on Monday November 3rd 1941 and was laid to rest in the family grave on Thursday November 6th.  She was 76 years of age.