4 Fairfax Rd, Chiswick, London W4 1EW, UK
12 Southwick Pl, Tyburnia, London W2 2TN, UK
57A Wimpole St, Marylebone, London W1G 8YH, UK
Dr Anna B. Broman (March, 1891 - February 22, 1962), M.R.C.S., L.R.C.P., was a medical officer to the physiotherapeutic department of the South London Hospital for Women. She followed her Swedish family into a career in physical education / medical gymnastics – in this case Swedish Gymnastics. Dr Anna wrote on the subject of recreative physical training and in the 1930s was rather critical of the way exercise for women tended to move in the direction of “playing for ‘sex appeal, for beauty or slimness.”
Dr Anna Brita (or Bridget) Broman was born in March 1891 (aged under one month in the 5th April 1891 census and 10 by 31.3.1901) at 4 Fairfax Road, South Hampstead, the daughter of the Swedish born Ida C.H Broman (1855–1927) and Allan V. Broman (1862–1947). In 1901 Anna (aged 10) and her parents, with one French and two Swedish servants, were living at 12 Southwick Place, to the north of Hyde Park, London. In 1911 at the age of 20, Anna Brita Broman was one of 65 students of Swedish Gymnastics at the Kingsfield based Physical Training College, Dartford, Kent, run by her aunt, the strict Swedish Martina Bergman-Österberg. In a 1935 article cited in the comprehensive Ida M. Webb 1967 thesis on Women’s PE, Anna would refer to her aunt’s work with respect to “the ‘economic, social and spiritual freedom of women’ from the traditions and prejudices existent in her day”. In the 1920s and 30s Dr Janet Campbell played a leading role in keeping the College on an even keel.
Anna Broman studied medicine at the London School of Medicine for Women at St. Mary's Hospital, qualifying in 1919. Sbe specialized in physical medicine and in Swedish remedial gymnastic treatment, holding at one time or another several hospital appointments and having a private practice in the Harley Street area.
Her father taught her the form of Swedish massage which was at the time introduced into England. The building in Marylebone where Anna’s father Allan founded the Central Institute for Swedish Gymnastics for men in October 1911 is now the Hellenic Institute. During World War One it became the Swedish War Hospital for British Wounded. Soon after the war it was sold by Allan Broman to the London County Council to become the LCC College of Physical Education. Dr. Anna Broman assisted her father for seven years: then in the first world war she worked in Belgium and France. In 1919 she took the Conjoint qualification. She practised her special vibratory massage when she was a clinical assistant in the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital, the South London Hospital for Women, and the Red Cross Hospital for Rheumatism. A few years before her death a melanoma began to extend; her surgeon suggested that further growth might be arrested if the leg was amputated at the hip-joint. Dr. Broman agreed, saying that she would then know how soldiers walked with artificial limbs. She went to Rochampton for instruction and later to Stoke Mandeville Hospital. Brave, never complaining, she returned to practise her special form of massage. But the melanoma continued to grow in spite of treatment with radium. Anna died aged 70 on 22nd February 1962 at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital, having been living until then at 57a Wimpole Street. She was unmarried.
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