Early Life

Dorothy Hodgkin, née Crowfoot was born in Cairo on 12th May 1910 and spent the first few years of her life moving back and forth between Egypt and England. Her parents were both archaeologists: Grace Mary Crowfoot, an expert on Ancient Egyptian textiles and John Winter Crowfoot, a classics scholar and ex-lecturer at Birmingham University who at the time of Dorothy’s birth was an inspector in the Egyptian Ministry of Education.

For the first four years of her life, Dorothy’s family were part of the expat community in Egypt but made sure to spent several months of each year back in England. The family was visiting their home country when the First World War broke out in 1914. At this point, her father was due to take up the position of Director of Education and Principal of Gordon College in Khartoum and the decision was made to leave the young Dorothy in England. She spent the next four years with a series of relatives and family friends. This ‘exile’ from her parents never fully ended – Dorothy would go on to receive her schooling in England while her parents continued with their academic lives in Egypt. That said, her mother did return to England for a full year at the conclusion of the war and both parents continued to visit the country every summer.

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