A surgeon's mask

Dr James Barry (pictured) was many things: a renowned 19th-century military surgeon, Inspector-General of Hospitals, medical reformer, duellist, ladies’ man — and, in fact, a woman.

Dr Barry began life as Margaret Bulkley, born to an Irish grocer around 1789, a time when women were barred from the medical profession. But Margaret had a plan. Donning a heavy overcoat and three-inch heels, Miss Bulkley became Mr Barry and enrolled in medical school at the University of Edinburgh.

Upon graduating, Dr