Lydia Ida Huber Torrance Allen Israel England India Lebanon Sri Lanka

Biography of Lydia Ida Huber Torrance Allen

Dr Lydia Torrance at gate of Tiberias Hospital 1926
Dr Lydia Torrance at gate of Tiberias Hospital 1926

Lydia Ida Huber Torrance Allen (née Torrance) graduated MB ChB from the University in 1918 and gained her MD in 1923, both degrees were awarded with commendation.

She was born on 26 April 1894 in Tiberias, modern day Israel where her father, David Watt Torrance, a physician, had established a missionary hospital. Educated in Scotland and Beirut, Allen began studying Medicine at the University in 1913, where she studied subjects as Zoology, Chemistry, Anatomy, Physiology, Materia Medica, Pathology, Medicine, Surgery, Midwifery, and Sick Children. Her brother, Herbert, and sister, Eleanor, also studied at Glasgow.

During her undergraduate studies, she was awarded five 1st class certificates and ten 2nd class certificates, including the Dermatology Prize in session 1917-18. Graduating MB ChB in 1918, Allen went on to graduate MD in 1923 with her doctoral thesis The normal electrical excitability of the peripheral nerves in infancy and early childhood.

Dr Allen worked in paediatrics and obstetrics in Glasgow; Manchester; Nottingham; and Birmingham, from 1918-1923. She then worked abroad, firstly at her father's hospital in Tiberias until 1926, for a short time in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and then in India as an obstetrician in the Women's Medical Division from 1928-1941. After resigning from Indian government service, she continued to practice in Calcutta until 1950 when she returned to England. She worked as a consultant gyneacologist and obstetrician to the Woolwich group of hospitals for a further 10 years before retiring. Her husband Major Arthur James Leverstone Allen of the Royal Indian Army Service Corps (RIASC), who she had married in 1933 at Kodaikanal, Madras (Chennai), died in 1941.

Dr Allen was awarded the Kaisir I Hind Gold Medal (KIH) by King George VI, was a Fellow of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (FRCOG) and a longstanding member of the Medical Woman's Federation. She spoke German, Italian, French, Yiddish, Arabic and Hindustani.


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Lydia Ida Huber Torrance Allen
Born 26 April 1894.
Died 6 May 1986.
GU Degrees: MBChB, 1918; Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, MD, 1923;
University Link: Alumnus, Graduate
Occupation categories: obstetricians; paediatricians; physicians
English snippet: Medical graduate of the University of Glasgow in 1918 and 1923
Record last updated: 30th Jun 2021

Country Associations

Israel Israel, Tiberias
Place of Birth

England England, No Region
Place of Death

India India, Kolkata

Lebanon Lebanon, Beirut

Sri Lanka Sri Lanka, Colombo

University Connections

University Roles