‘A true pioneer’: Trailblazing chemist honoured in the Harborough district village where she lived and worked

Pioneering Fanny Deacon became the first woman in Britain to qualify as a pharmacist deep into the 19th century.

By Red Williams
Friday, 17th June 2022, 4:51 pm
The unveiling of the green plague in Fleckney to honour Fanny Deacon. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER
The unveiling of the green plague in Fleckney to honour Fanny Deacon. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

A trailblazing woman chemist has been honoured with a special Green Plaque in the Harborough district village where she lived and worked.

Pioneering Fanny Deacon became the first woman in Britain to qualify as a pharmacist deep into the 19th century.

Leicestershire County Council has now put up a green plaque on Wolsey Lane, Fleckney, where she lived and ran her own business.

Fanny Deacon

Speaking as he unveiled the special salute, Cllr Kevin Feltham, the county council’s chairman, said: “Fanny Deacon was a true pioneer and trailblazer.

“By qualifying as a pharmacist at a time when the profession was dominated by men and female chemists were few and far between, she helped to break down the traditional barriers and pave the way for other women in the medical and scientific field.

“She also continued to work and provide a vital service to her community right up until her death at the age of 92,” said Cllr Feltham, of Kibworth Beauchamp.

“I am very proud and honoured to be asked to unveil a Green Plaque in tribute to her.”

The green plague in Fleckney to honour Fanny Deacon. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

Fanny was born in Kibworth in September 1837 and her father William worked as a chemist in the village.

As a young woman she spotted a syllabus of the Pharmaceutical Society’s examinations in his dispensary.

Fanny made her mind up there and then to pass them – a feat unprecedented at a time when all the professions were dominated by men.

After studying hard day in day out the dedicated and resolute young woman passed outright at the Pharmaceutical Society’s London headquarters.

Centre, Chairman of Leicestershire County Council Kevin Feltham unveils the green plague in Fleckney to honour Fanny Deacon. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

Fanny immediately registered as a chemist and druggist with the country’s regulatory and professional body for pharmacists in 1869.

But as a woman she was not allowed to become a member of the Pharmaceutical Society until 1879.

She worked alongside her proud father serving the villagers of Kibworth before going on to open her own popular pharmacy in Fleckney in 1875.

Straddling two centuries, when she died in January 1930 aged 92 extraordinary Fanny was the oldest registered chemist in England.

The unveiling of the green plague in Fleckney to honour Fanny Deacon.PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

You can find more information on the county council’s Green Plaque scheme here: https://www.leicestershire.gov.uk/leisure-and-community/history-and-heritage/the-green-plaque-awards

The green plague in Fleckney to honour Fannie Deacon. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER